Brake Fluid Substitute For Emergencies

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Are you in an emergency where you need brake fluid but you are so far away from somewhere where you can buy it? If so, then read on for I have a solution for you.

In this post, I will share with you information about how to make brake fluid for emergency use.

Remember, although the solution I am about to share with you has proven effective many times over if you choose to use it you are responsible for any unintended consequences of your action. 

With that said, let’s begin.

The Best Brake Fluid Substitute For Emergencies

If you are in a situation where you urgently need a brake fluid product and you are not in a position to get it, you will need to use something else as an alternative.

Because brake fluid has almost the same consistency/ viscosity as diesel, some people usually siphon their diesel and use it as brake fluid oil.

However, this usually ends up in a disaster because diesel and most petroleum products usually destroy the rubber seals in brake pads.

So if you are thinking diesel or any other petroleum product is a good brake fluid substitute, you should stop right now.

The best brake fluid substitute is a water and soap solution. A water and soap solution is the best emergency substitute for brake fluid is because it is very easy to make.

Many people have water and soap in their cars or homes. If you are in the middle of nowhere, if you start walking, you will most likely be able to find water and soap in the first house you see along the highway. 

It is also the best emergency substitute for brake fluid because provided it is not left for long in your brake system, it will not corrode it or cause rusting.

It is also easy to flush out. So the moment you get a proper brake fluid, you can easily remove it or get it removed and add the fluid. 

Another brake fluid substitute is radiator water alone if you cannot get your hands on water and detergent. 

How A Solution Of Soap And Water Works As Brake Fluid

You can use any type of soap/ detergent and water to make an emergency brake fluid. The solution will work well as a brake fluid substitute because the soap will provide the seal lubrication, while the water will provide the fluid action/ hydraulics.

When using this solution as brake fluid, it will boil if you apply brakes frequently. Therefore, if you choose to use a soap and water solution as a brake fluid substitute you should only use your brakes when absolutely necessary.

Use engine braking instead of actual brakes to avoid boiling the solution. Furthermore, if you are going a long distance, you should stop frequently and let the solution cool to avoid causing damage.

Once you reach somewhere where you can get a proper brake fluid, remove all the soap and water in your system. Or better yet, get your car to a repair shop to get the water flushed out.

A good repair shop will also use either methylated spirit, carb cleaner, or EFI SYSTEM cleaner to make sure no water remains in the system before putting in new brake fluid.

The new fluid is usually then replaced after 24 hours or so and another fluid added. Once this is done, your braking system will be 100% back to normal and you can resume driving and braking as long and as much as you normally do. 

Before you use a soap and water solution as a brake fluid alternative, you should be very sure it is the only option you have left.

Because while the solution will work, sometimes it may require you to replace the rubber parts of your system to ensure your braking system is back to 100% normal.

Therefore, if you can get real brake fluid please do so. Only use a soap and water solution if you are off-grid and very far away from civilization. 

The best thing to do when stuck in the middle of nowhere with a brake fluid problem or any other car problem is to call a towing service. There are many towing service companies in most Western countries.

If you can access this page and read this info in the middle of nowhere, you surely can do a quick Google search to find a cheap towing company and to hire their services. 

So only use the soap and water solution to use as brake fluid. 

How To Make And Use A Soap And Water Brake Fluid Emergency Substitute

Follow the steps below to make an effective brake fluid substitute for use in an emergency. Read all the instructions before using the solution. 

  1. Remove The Old Brake Fluid 
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There is usually some brake fluid in the system. Remove all of it before making and introducing your brake fluid substitute. Flush the fluid out if you can.

The purpose of removing old brake fluid and cleaning up is to avoid interaction between the oil and the water/ soap solution you are about to introduce. The interaction will most likely negatively affect your braking system.

  1. Mix Soap And Water

The mix should be around 40 percent detergent and 60 percent water. After mixing the two, shake them thoroughly to ensure the solution is completely mixed and ready for action. 

  1. Add The Solution Just Like Brake Fluid

After making the solution of soap and water, add it just like you will add normal brake fluid. 

  1. Use Your Brakes Sparingly

While the solution of soap and water will make your brakes work almost like normal, you should only use your brakes sparingly. The objective of doing this is to avoid overheating the solution and the system.

  1. Flush Out The Solution 

Once you get back to civilization, you should get the solution flushed out at a reputable repair shop to make sure it does not damage your braking system.


A solution of soap and water is the best emergency alternative for brake fluid. This is because it works. However, you should use it only when ABSOLUTELY necessary because it also has the potential to damage your braking system.