Brake Fluid Substitute

Brake Fluid Substitute

Say you’re out camping and realize you are dangerously low on brake fluid. There is little you can do in a situation like this, especially in remote areas like most campsites. However, there is an easy fix that can temporarily help you out. 

Replacing or substituting brake fluid with household items may be a solution, but it can damage your car’s braking system, so it must not be used extensively. This means, this method is only applicable for emergencies when no other option is available.

Make sure you don’t make it into a habit and get your brake oil topped up whenever it runs low. Although tried and tested, this solution is not safe, so make sure you use it responsibly. 

What Not to Use

Before we get into it, here is something you must never do. 

Since brake fluid has the same viscosity and thickness as Diesel and other petroleum products, people tend to siphon out Diesel from their cars to use as brake fluid. 

This is a disaster waiting to happen. Diesel will absolutely ruin your braking system’s rubber pads. This makes them prone to brake failure and may do more damage than good to your car. 

If you’re thinking of using Diesel as a substitute, stop right there. 

What to Use As a Substitute 

Now that you know what not to use, here are some easy ways to substitute your brake fluid. At least until you find a place to get it replaced and replenished. 

1.Soap and Water

If you are traveling in a camper, you’re bound to have dish soap with you or any sort of liquid soap. If you’re not traveling in a camper and are instead camping out, you can search for soap around you. If there are other campers around, you can ask them to borrow soap or maybe drive out for a while until you find a house or people that can give you soap. 

You can also use detergent and water for the same effect. 


When using soap and water as brake fluid, there are a few things to consider:

  • The soap will boil if you use the brake too often. In this situation, avoid braking too much and often stop to allow the fluid to cool down. Also, try to go slow so that you don’t need to brake too much. 
  • Another way to avoid braking is to use your hand brake instead. Only brake if necessary and get the soap and water flushed out as soon as possible. 
  • Try only to use it if you are desperate. We recommend first looking for actual brake fluid. If you still choose to use soap and water, get it washed out of the system when you find a repair shop.

2.Radiator water

If finding brake fluid and soap is impossible, you can also use radiator water as a substitute for braking fluid. This will buy you some time to see either soap and water or actual brake oil. 

It may seem odd that two household products can be used to substitute brake fluid. It’s simple science:

The soap acts as lubrication for the brake pads to move smoothly without friction, and the water provides hydraulics and fluid motion in the mechanism. 

How To Make Brake Fluid Using Soap and Water?

Now that you know what to use, here is a simple guide to using soap and water to create brake fluid:

Remove the Old Brake Fluid 

This is to make sure your soap and water do not mix with the existing oil. Running out of brake fluid does not mean nothing is left in the system. There is generally some oil leftover, and it is best to clean it out before introducing the new solution. 

Mix Soap and Water 

It is a simple 2:3 ratio. 2 parts soap and three parts water. Mix it thoroughly and shake well to ensure none of the soap or detergent is left undissolved. 

Pour the new solution in just like you would use brake fluid. 

Wrapping Up

Finally, soap and water are the best substitute for braking fluid and can come in clutch if you are far from civilization or in remote areas with no cellphone service. 

Before using the solution, try to call towing services or car repair shops near the highway to see if they can help. Use it only if necessary since it can be damaging to the car. For more camping emergency solutions, check out yapq. It will definitely do you real good.

Warwick Braith

Warwick Braith is a thrill seeker at heart. He loves getting outdoors and testing his limits in the wild. As a blogger for YapQ, Warwick provides readers with insights and tips on how to get the most out of their outdoor experiences. Whether it's hiking, camping, or simply exploring nature, Warwick knows how to make the most of it.

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