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What's the difference between DOT 3 and DOT 4 brake fluids?

Table of content

  1. DOT 3 vs DOT 4 brake fluid: what's the difference
  2. Looking to buy new brake fluid?

Brake fluid is the hydraulic fluid used to create pressure in hydraulic braking systems. When you press down on the brake pedal, the force applied is amplified and transferred into pressure by the master cylinder. The pressurised fluid is then sent to the brake wheel cylinders and the calipers where it is used to force the front and rear brake pads against the metal discs. The friction created when the brake discs and pads come into contact is what causes the car wheels to slow down.

It therefore goes without saying that brake fluid is critical for your safety as without it, you wouldn’t be able to stop your car. Unfortunately, the fluid does go bad over time. It’s hygroscopic, meaning that it easily draws in and absorbs water. The problem with this is that water will significantly reduce the liquid’s boiling point, causing it to become ineffective. The fluid needs to have a high boiling point in order to withstand the extreme heat generated by the brakes. Another common problem is corrosion. Although most products contain inhibitors to prevent oxidation, these inhibitors are gradually broken down and metal parts will start to corrode.

DOT 3 vs DOT 4 brake fluid: what's the difference

Brake fluid

“DOT 3” and “DOT 4” are brake fluid classifications. Both DOT 3 and DOT 4 are glycol based. The main difference between the two lies in their respective boiling points. When categorising the fluids both the wet and dry boiling points are taken into account. The wet boiling point is the boiling point when the fluid contains water, and the dry boiling point is when it has not been contaminated with water or other pollutants.

For comparison, DOT 3 fluid typically has a dry boiling point of 205°C, whereas DOT 4 fluid has a slightly higher average wet boiling point of 230°C. This is only a general estimate as the formulas can vary significantly for different products. DOT 4 fluids also have a higher average wet boiling point at 155°C, compared to 140°C, making them safer for hot conditions. For example, they may be more suitable for braking systems that are subjected to higher speeds or heavier loads and, as a result, produce more heat.On the other hand, DOT 4 fluids absorb water at a faster rate and therefore need to be changed more regularly than DOT 3 fluids.

DOT3 is the most common type of brake fluid and is compatible with most cars and pickup trucks. Many of these fluids have a diethylene glycol (DEG) based formula, which makes them cheaper to produce than other types of brake fluids. DOT4 fluids are normally made from a mixture of glycol and borate ester, which helps increase their resistance to boiling.

-56%
ATE DOT 4 03.9901-6202.2 Brake Fluid 1l
Parts Details
  • Quality: TYP 200
  • DOT specification: DOT 4
  • Capacity [litre]: 1
  • Packing Type: Can
  • MAPP code available
  • ATE: Brake Fluid
  • Item number: 03.9901-6202.2
  • Our price: £ 15,44
  • Condition: New
Details
ATE Brake Fluid 1l
Article number: 03.9901-6202.2
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RRP

£ 35,48
£ 15,44
£ 15,44 for 1 litre
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
-12%
A.B.S. DOT 4 7522 Brake Fluid 0,25l
Parts Details
  • DOT specification: DOT 4
  • Capacity [litre]: 0,25
  • Weight [g]: 256
  • Weight [kg]: 1,18
  • A.B.S.: Brake Fluid
  • Item number: 7522
  • Our price: £ 3,93
  • Condition: New
Details
A.B.S. Brake Fluid 0,25l
Article number: 7522
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£ 4,51
£ 3,93
£ 15,72 for 1 litre
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
ATE DOT 4 03.9901-5832.2 Brake Fluid 1l
Parts Details
  • Specification: SL DOT 4
  • DOT specification: DOT 4
  • Capacity [litre]: 1
  • Packing Type: Can
  • MAPP code available
  • Language Version: Bulgarian, Czech, Croatian, Hungarian, Georgian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Slovenian, Arabic
  • ATE: Brake Fluid
  • Item number: 03.9901-5832.2
  • Our price: £ 9,21
  • Condition: New
Details
ATE Brake Fluid 1l
Article number: 03.9901-5832.2
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£ 9,21
£ 9,21 for 1 litre
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
K2 DOT 4 T104 Brake Fluid 0,5l
Parts Details
  • Specification: FMVSS 116 DOT 4, SAE J 1703
  • DOT specification: DOT 4
  • Capacity [litre]: 0,5
  • K2: Brake Fluid
  • Item number: T104
  • Our price: £ 4,07
Details
K2 Brake Fluid 0,5l
Article number: T104
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£ 4,07
£ 8,14 for 1 litre
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
VALEO DOT 4 402403 Brake Fluid 1l
Parts Details
  • Specification: DOT4
  • DOT specification: DOT 4
  • Capacity [litre]: 1
  • Chemical Properties: Synthetic
  • Dry Boiling Point [°C]: 245
  • Packing Type: Bottle
  • Weight [kg]: 1,15
  • VALEO: Brake Fluid
  • Item number: 402403
  • Our price: £ 7,76
  • Condition: New
Details
VALEO Brake Fluid 1l
Article number: 402403
£ 7,76
£ 7,76 for 1 litre
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs

Looking to buy new brake fluid?

Types of brake fluid

If you’re looking for DOT3 or DOT4 brake fluid for your car, you can find a never-ending selection of products online. You should be able to find the right product for your vehicle by checking the manufacturer’s recommendations in the owner’s manual or by searching using relevant keywords, e.g. “brake fluid for BMW”. Although both types are glycol based, it is still not recommended to mix the two together.

Top products related to this topic:

AUTODOC Bestsellers: parts at a good price

CASTROL DOT 4 15CD1A Brake Fluid 1l
Parts Details
  • Specification: ISO 4925 Class 4, FMVSS 116 DOT 4, JASO JIS K2233, SAE J1703, SAE J1704
  • DOT specification: DOT 4
  • Capacity [litre]: 1
  • Chemical Properties: Free of nitrite
  • Weight [kg]: 1
  • Packing Type: Bottle
  • CASTROL: Brake Fluid
  • Item number: 15CD1A
  • Our price: £ 11,83
  • Condition: New
Details
CASTROL Brake Fluid 1l
Article number: 15CD1A
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£ 11,83
£ 11,83 for 1 litre
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
VALEO DOT 4 402402 Brake Fluid 0,5l
Parts Details
  • Specification: DOT4
  • DOT specification: DOT 4
  • Capacity [litre]: 0,5
  • Chemical Properties: Synthetic
  • Dry Boiling Point [°C]: 245
  • Packing Type: Bottle
  • Weight [kg]: 0,59
  • VALEO: Brake Fluid
  • Item number: 402402
  • Our price: £ 4,55
  • Condition: New
Details
VALEO Brake Fluid 0,5l
Article number: 402402
£ 4,55
£ 9,10 for 1 litre
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
TEXTAR DOT 4 95002200 Brake Fluid 1l
Parts Details
  • Specification: DOT4, ISO 4925 (Class 4), SAE J 1704, FMVSS 116 DOT 4
  • DOT specification: DOT 4
  • Capacity [litre]: 1
  • Dry Boiling Point [°C]: 260
  • Wet Boiling Point [°C]: 160
  • Packing Type: Bottle
  • Quantity Unit: Litre
  • Recommendations: Ford M6C9103A, Mazda MN 120 C, Nissan M5055 NR3, Nissan M5055 NR4, Renault 41.02.001(3), Renault 41.02.001(4), Toyota TSK 2602 G(3), Toyota TSK 2602 G(4)
  • Packaging length [cm]: 9,5
  • Packaging width [cm]: 7
  • Packaging height [cm]: 24,5
  • Technical Information Number: 98502 0022 9 L
  • TEXTAR: Brake Fluid
  • Item number: 95002200
  • Our price: £ 7,69
  • Condition: New
Details
TEXTAR Brake Fluid 1l
Article number: 95002200
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£ 7,69
£ 7,69 for 1 litre
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
-27%
FEBI BILSTEIN DOT 4 26746 Brake Fluid 0,25l, Capacity: 250ml
Parts Details
  • Capacity [ml]: 250
  • Specification: DOT 4
  • DOT specification: DOT 4
  • Capacity [litre]: 0,25
  • Weight [kg]: 0,301
  • Observe service information
  • Required quantity: 1
  • FEBI BILSTEIN: Brake Fluid
  • Item number: 26746
  • Our price: £ 2,98
  • Condition: New
Details
FEBI BILSTEIN Brake Fluid 0,25l, Capacity: 250ml
Article number: 26746
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RRP

£ 4,10
£ 2,98
£ 11,92 for 1 litre
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
-48%
A.B.S. DOT 4 7502 Brake Fluid 5l
Parts Details
  • DOT specification: DOT 4
  • Capacity [litre]: 5
  • Weight [g]: 5300
  • Weight [kg]: 5,3
  • A.B.S.: Brake Fluid
  • Item number: 7502
  • Our price: £ 28,63
  • Condition: New
Details
A.B.S. Brake Fluid 5l
Article number: 7502
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£ 55,93
£ 28,63
£ 5,73 for 1 litre
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
MOTUL DOT 4 101666 Brake Fluid 0,5l
Parts Details
  • DOT specification: DOT 4
  • Capacity [litre]: 0,5
  • Oil: Full Synthetic Oil
  • Recommendations: FMVSS 116 DOT 4, SAE J1703
  • Observe service information
  • MOTUL: Brake Fluid
  • Item number: 101666
  • Our price: £ 15,03
  • Condition: New
Details
MOTUL Brake Fluid 0,5l
Article number: 101666
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£ 15,03
£ 30,06 for 1 litre
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
MOTUL DOT 5.1 105836 Brake Fluid 1l
Parts Details
  • Specification: FMVSS 116 DOT 3, FMVSS 116 DOT 4, FMVSS 116 DOT 5.1, 4 &amp, SAE J1703
  • DOT specification: DOT 5.1
  • Capacity [litre]: 1
  • MOTUL: Brake Fluid
  • Item number: 105836
  • Our price: £ 14,85
  • Condition: New
Details
MOTUL Brake Fluid 1l
Article number: 105836
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£ 14,85
£ 14,85 for 1 litre
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
-35%
A.B.S. DOT 4 7516 Brake Fluid 1l
Parts Details
  • DOT specification: DOT 4
  • Capacity [litre]: 1
  • Manufacturer Restriction: ABS
  • Weight [g]: 1121
  • Weight [kg]: 1,12
  • A.B.S.: Brake Fluid
  • Item number: 7516
  • Our price: £ 9,74
  • Condition: New
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A.B.S. Brake Fluid 1l
Article number: 7516
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£ 15,07
£ 9,74
£ 9,74 for 1 litre
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
TOMEX brakes DOT 4 DO-45 Brake Fluid 5l
Parts Details
  • DOT specification: DOT 4
  • Capacity [litre]: 5
  • Chemical Properties: Synthetic
  • Packing Type: Canister
  • Weight [kg]: 5,01
  • TOMEX brakes: Brake Fluid
  • Item number: DO-45
  • Our price: £ 22,10
  • Condition: New
Details
TOMEX brakes Brake Fluid 5l
Article number: DO-45
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£ 22,10
£ 4,42 for 1 litre
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
CASTROL DOT 4 15CD21 Brake Fluid 1l
Parts Details
  • Specification: FMVSS 116 DOT4, ISO 4925 Klasse 4, JIS K2233, SAE J1703, SAE J1704
  • DOT specification: DOT 4
  • Capacity [litre]: 1
  • Packing Type: Tin
  • Customs tariff number: 38190000
  • CASTROL: Brake Fluid
  • Item number: 15CD21
  • Our price: £ 15,54
  • Condition: New
Details
CASTROL Brake Fluid 1l
Article number: 15CD21
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£ 15,54
£ 15,54 for 1 litre
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
MANNOL DOT-5.1 MN3005-05 Brake Fluid Capacity: 500ml
Parts Details
  • Product line: DOT-5.1
  • Capacity [ml]: 500
  • Specification: SAE J1703, SAE J1704, ISO 4925
  • Packing Type: Bottle
  • Recommendations: FMVSS 116 DOT 5.1
  • Chemical Properties: Synthetic
  • MANNOL: Brake Fluid
  • Item number: MN3005-05
  • Our price: £ 6,81
  • Condition: New
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MANNOL Brake Fluid Capacity: 500ml
Article number: MN3005-05
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£ 6,81
£ 13,62 for 1 litre
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
Valvoline HIGH PERFORMANCE DOT 5.1 883462 Brake Fluid 1l
Parts Details
  • Product line: HIGH PERFORMANCE
  • DOT specification: DOT 5.1
  • Capacity [litre]: 1
  • Packing Type: Bottle
  • Valvoline: Brake Fluid
  • Item number: 883462
  • Our price: £ 12,01
Details
Valvoline Brake Fluid 1l
Article number: 883462
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£ 12,01
£ 12,01 for 1 litre
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
VALEO DOT 4 402406 Brake Fluid 1l
Parts Details
  • Specification: DOT4+
  • DOT specification: DOT 4
  • Capacity [litre]: 1
  • Chemical Properties: Synthetic
  • Dry Boiling Point [°C]: 265
  • Packing Type: Bottle
  • Weight [kg]: 1,15
  • VALEO: Brake Fluid
  • Item number: 402406
  • Our price: £ 9,27
  • Condition: New
Details
VALEO Brake Fluid 1l
Article number: 402406
£ 9,27
£ 9,27 for 1 litre
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
K2 DOT4 RACING DOT 4 T126 Brake Fluid Capacity: 250ml
Parts Details
  • Product line: DOT4 RACING
  • Capacity [ml]: 250
  • Specification: FMVSS 116 DOT 3 & 4, SAE J1703, SAE J1704, ISO 4925 (3 & 4)
  • DOT specification: DOT 4
  • Packing Type: Bottle
  • Dry Boiling Point [°C]: 325
  • Observe system fill quantity
  • Recommended change interval [km]: 40000
  • Recommended change interval [years]: 2
  • K2: Brake Fluid
  • Item number: T126
  • Our price: £ 4,89
Details
K2 Brake Fluid Capacity: 250ml
Article number: T126
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£ 4,89
£ 19,56 for 1 litre
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
VALEO DOT 5.1 402408 Brake Fluid 1l
Parts Details
  • Specification: DOT5.1
  • DOT specification: DOT 5.1
  • Capacity [litre]: 1
  • Chemical Properties: Synthetic
  • Dry Boiling Point [°C]: 265
  • Packing Type: Bottle
  • Weight [kg]: 1,15
  • VALEO: Brake Fluid
  • Item number: 402408
  • Our price: £ 9,09
  • Condition: New
Details
VALEO Brake Fluid 1l
Article number: 402408
£ 9,09
£ 9,09 for 1 litre
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs

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