Can brake fluid damage car paint?

I was checking the brake fluid in my car and the fluid accidentally spilled onto the side of my car. My car’s paint is normally glossy and I’m concerned that I may have damaged the paint job. Can brake fluid ruin my car’s paint job?

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Answer provided by
Kara Vanderbeek
Answered on Apr 01, 2022
Oh no, I’m sorry to hear this happened! While it’s always wise to exercise caution, you’re not the only car owner who has suffered from an accidental spill of brake fluid on car paint.
Unfortunately, the chemical makeup of brake fluid is an effective solvent when it comes to car paint. In particular, non-silicone-based brake fluid can eat away at the coating of your paint and cause it to peel.
If left untreated, the brake fluid will break down the coating layer, which can cause a streaky or striped appearance on the body of the car. In cases of severe damage, the fluid can attack the paint to the point of exposing the metal car body.
If you get brake fluid on your car, your best bet is to grab a towel and soak up the fluid immediately. Avoid wiping the area to prevent the fluid from spreading around. You should then clean the area with a sponge, soap, and a thorough rinse.
If you get to the spill in less than 5 minutes, your paint will probably be fine. However, the longer you wait to clean the area, the more damage will be done.
After 5 minutes, the brake fluid may start to compromise the paint coat, with visible stains appearing after 10 minutes, and evident damage after half an hour.
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