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What's the Difference Between Major Brands of Racing Brake Fluids?

John Ruther
Published: 2007-07-10 14:59:36
Last Updated: 2015-07-07 08:23:02

Racing brake fluids come in different temerature ratings. What is the best one for your application depends on several factors such as : How heavy the car is; How fast the car is?, What size are the brakes relative to the weight and speed of the car; How much air flow gets to the brakes; and last but not least, How much money you want to spend?

Let's see if we can sort this all out. Let's say you have a 3,000 lb. with 250 hp and relatively small brakes (i.e. stock) and you don't have additional brake ducting. Even if you are using the best racing brake pads made (i.e. Pagid) you still need to be using a racing brake fluid if you drive your car on the track. Most racing brake fluids are rated DOT 4 and they publish a Dry and a Wet Boiling Point for each fluid. The Dry boiling point is actually the boiling point of the brake fluid right when the container is opened. and the Wet boiling point is the boiling point of the brake fluid after it has absorbed 3% moisture by volume. Even though all brake systems are sealed, a certain amount of moisture will be absorbed by the fluid over time. This is why the brake systems on cars with racing brake fluid should be bled on a regular basis. If you routinely bleed your brakes before every track event then you should look at the Dry boiling point numbers, but if you go several events beween bleedings then you might want to look at the Wet boiling point numbers. The following table will give you exactly what is available from the major manufacturers of racing brake fluid, their boiling points and the cost. You will notice that the highest Dry boiling point of the group is Pagid RBF, so if you bleed your brakes on a very regular basis this is probably your best performance per dollar spent.

Ate Typ 200 (1 Ltr.)                  Dry-536F  Wet-388F Cost-$19.95/Ltr.

Motul RBF600 (1/2 Ltr.)           Dry-594F  Wet-421F Cost-$22.00/1/2 Ltr.

Pagid RBF                                Dry-622F  Wet-399F Cost-$25.75/1/2 Ltr.

Motul RBF660 (1/2 Ltr.)           Dry-617F Wet-401F Cost-$35.00 1/2 Ltr.

Castrol SRF (1 Ltr.)                  Dry-590F  Wet-500F Cost-$89.99/Ltr.          

What can we learn from this chart. The best value is clearly ATE Typ 200. If your car is still under factory warranty and you are tracking your car and are trying to fly "under the radar" at your dealership you might want to consider ATE Typ 200 since it is amber (just like your o.e. brake fluid). Please note that ATE Super Blue Racing Brake Fluid is no longer being made since it doesn't meet the DOT standard which requires that the fluid be amber in color. If you were previously using ATE Super Blue Racing fluid you should now run ATE TYP 200 since the temperature ratings are identical, only the color is amber instead of navy blue.   

Motul RBF 600 has a cost/ltr. 2.4 times that of ATE TYP 200 and has a Wet boiling point 33F greater.

Pagid RBF has a cost/ltr. 2.6 times that of ATE TYP 200 and has a Wet boiling point 11F greater. However the Dry boiling point of Pagid RBF is 28F greater than Motul RBF 600 and is 86F greater than ATE TYP 200.

Motul RBF 660 has a cost/ltr. 3.5 times that of ATE TYP 200 and has a Wet boiling point 13F greater.   

And then there is Castrol SRF. Clearly this is the "Gold Standard" of racing brake fluids from a price perspective. Its Wet boiling point is 112F higher than ATE TYP 200, 79F higher than Motul RBF 600, and 101F higher than Pagid RBF but it also costs over 4.5 times per Liter more than ATE TPE 200, 2.1 times per Liter more than Motul RBF 600, and 1.8 times more than Pagid RBF. However the Dry boiling point of SRF is 32F lower than Pagid RBF. 

Unless you absolutely must have the performance of the Castrol 500F Wet boiling point, I would go with ATE TYP 200, Motul RBF 600 or Pagid RBF. The other thing you should do is add some brake ducting to your front brakes to keep them as cool as possible. This will go along way toward keeping your brake fluid from boiling.