Updated 8 months ago

Acura Check Brake System

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If a 'Check Brake System" message comes on randomly on your Acura while driving the brake fluid level could be low. In this guide, you will find instructions on how to check and add brake fluid on 1998-2019 ACURA vehicles. Common symptoms that you may be low on brake fluid include the Brake Light warning staying on when you drive an ACURA.

If that is the case, first you check and make sure the parking brake is fully released. Next, follow the instructions below to check Acura brake fluid level. 


Symptoms of low brake fluid level on an Acura usually start with a message on your instrument cluster. Typical messages include "check Brake System". In older Acura's you won't get a message but the brake light will stay on when driving. Other lights that may come on due to low brake fluid level include the ABS and VSA lights. 

  • Low Brake Fluid Warning
  • Brake Light On
  • The brake pedal is soft.
  • Brake pedal can be pressed all the way
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What you will need

Acura recommends that you use Honda DOT 3 or DOT 4 brake fluid. According to Acura owners manual, using a non-Honda brake fluid can cause corrosion and decrease the life of the brake system (Source: 2004 Acura TL page 211).  

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Only use brake fluid noted on the cap of your brake fluid reservoir or owners manual. These instructions apply to various 1998-2019 ACURA models such as CDX, CL, VSX, EL, ILX, Integra, Legend, MDX, NSX, RDX, RL RLX, RSX, SLX, TL TLX, TSX, VIGOR, ZDX . Below you will find step by step directions and video clips to help you add brake fluid to your ACURA.

Step 1 - Open Hood

how to add break brake fluid on ACURA model 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019

Pull the hood release under the dashboard of your ACURA. Open the hood and secure it in the open position.

Watch the following video on how to open the hood on an ACURA.

Step 2 - Locate Brake Fluid Reservoir

acura brake fluid reservoir

Locate the brake fluid reservoir on your ACURA. The brake fluid reservoir is located in the engine bay, on the driver side. In some Acura models the brake fluid reservoir is covered with a plastic cover, as shown in the following picture. 

can't find acura brake fluid reservoir

The cover can be easily removed. It will either pop up or may have two plastic screws that need to be removed. Before you remove the cap, clean the brake fluid reservoir with a clean cloth.

Step 3 - Determine Low/Max level

How to Add brake fluid to ACURA model 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019

Check the current fluid level. Ensure the current brake fluid level is between the maximum and minimum marks on the side of the reservoir. If the brake fluid level is below the minimum level, continue to the next step.

Step 4 - Add Brake Fluid

Look at the cap of the brake fluid reservoir to ensure you are using the correct brake fluid type. Add brake fluid until the level reaches just below the MAX/Full mark. Do not fill ACURA brake reservoir above the maximum mark.

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Troubleshooting Tips

If the brake fluid isn't low and the "Check Brake System" remains on, the problem can be due to a malfunction of the brake system. Check the brake pads and ABS wheel speed sensors. 

Also, check the fusible link for the ABS module. The fusible link is located in the engine bay of your Acura. When the fusible link is blown, you will get multiple warning lights on your instrument cluster and the push START/STOP may not work.

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  • Do not drive a vehicle that has the brake light on. 
  • If the brake fluid level is below the minimum or MIN mark on the brake fluid reservoir, do no drive the car. Check the system for any major brake fluid leaks. Driving with no brake fluid is extremely dangerous. Your car may not stop when you apply the brakes.
  • Brake fluid is poisonous and must be carefully marked and stored in a safe place, out of the reach of children and animals.

Things to keep in mind when adding brake fluid

  • Clean the brake fluid cap with a clean cloth before you remove the cap.
  • Do not allow the brake fluid to drop on your car's paint. Brake fluid can damage car paint. 
  • Only use the recommended brake fluid type which is printed on top of the brake fluid cap. 
  • Wash your hands as soon as possible if you get brake fluid on them.
  • If the brake fluid level is low, the BRAKE and ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) warning light may turn on.
  • It is recommended that you check the brake fluid level once a month.
  • When the ignition is on, the brake light is initially ON if you have set the parking/emergency brakes. The brake warning should turn off once the parking brake is released and you start to drive. 
  • If the LOW BRAKE FLUID warning or the BRAKE LIGHT stay on as you are driving stop the vehicle immediately and check the brake fluid level.
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