In this article, I’m going to focus on the brake fluid test, but I figured I’d include the ENTIRE Tesla Recommended Maintenance below, since it is so small.
The Importance of Testing Your Brake Fluid
Most of us know that because electric vehicles use regenerative braking, they rarely use their friction brakes. Some people think that means you don’t have to do any maintenance on your brakes. That isn’t true because brake fluid can absorb moisture, and this can cause corrosion. If you check for this, you can then change your brake fluid before major damage is done. If you leave it many years, it might damage your master brake cylinder or other parts. You also might spend $100 and the time needed to replace your brake fluid unnecessarily.
How I Tested My Brake Fluid On My 2018 Tesla Model 3
First, open the frunk.
Carefully pop off the cover at the top of the frunk.
Clean the brake filler cover with a lint free cloth.
Open the cover and open your test strip and dip the strip in the brake fluid.
Set a timer for 90 seconds.
Now compare the test strip to the card that comes with the strips. At 10 parts per million, my 4-year-old Model 3 doesn’t need new brake fluid yet. I also had some 4-year-old test strips and I tried this test and the strip came out white or zero parts per million. I read the strips expire after 3 years, so it appears the strip might not have given accurate results.
Just to be extra safe, I wanted to try another type of testing. The strips test for corrosion. I tested this by dipping them in tap water. They stay white. If they tested for water, they would turn purple. I also used an electronic tester to check the amount of water in my brake fluid. 1% is good and 4% is bad, so 1.5% is pretty good.
It gives slightly different results if you hit the DOT3, DOT4 and DOT 5.1 buttons. At the time, I didn’t know what kind of fluid I had in my car, but it doesn’t change much anyway. Since then, I have read that Tesla uses DOT3.
The Products I Used
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any products locally to test the brake fluid, so I had to buy them online at Amazon. Here is the link to the Phoenix Systems test strips (remember they expire after 3 years). Here is a link to the Beley electronic tester I bought. The tester needs a 9V battery (not included). I have those around my house for use in the smoke detectors, so I didn’t need to buy one.
If you prefer watching a YouTube video to reading written instructions, here is a good video:
Tesla recommends this every 2 years, but it is so easy that you may want to do it every 12 months. Since the test strips go bad after 3 years and you have to buy 15 of them, please share them with your friends so they don’t go to waste. They work on all cars, not just electric cars.
Also see this other CleanTechnica article about maintenance on a Tesla Model 3 with 50,000 miles, Zach wrote about his maintenance costs here, and my last article on Tesla maintenance is here.
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