BMW X5 Owners & Service Manuals

BMW X5: Brakes - Operating Fluids


Brake fluid, (glycol-based) as used in BMW brake systems, must conform with the following requirements:

These requirements are fulfilled by reputable brand name DOT 4 brake fluids.

Silicone-based brake fluid has better compressibility, but because it cannot absorb moisture, is subject to vapor lock at temperatures above 212ºF/ 100ºC. At lower temperatures, it may even ice-up. Silicone-based brake fluid is not approved by BMW.

Glycol-based brake fluid absorbs moisture from the atmosphere (hygroscopicity) through the brake fluid reservoir, brake hoses, etc. This absorption of water lowers the original boiling point of brake fluid and active safety of the entire system. If there is extended use of the brakes while driving downhill at high speeds, the thermal loads could cause vapor bubbles in the brake fluid. This situation could lead to reduced braking effectiveness.

The original boiling point of factory-approved brake fluids is approximately 500ºF/260ºC. Due to the hygroscopic behavior of brake fluid, 2% of water within one year is permissible. The boiling point of brake fluid will drop by 100ºC with 3% water absorption. It is essential to conform with brake fluid changing intervals in order to guarantee the safety and maximum effectiveness of a brake system.

It would not be sufficient simply to replace the brake fluid in the reservoir. Experience has shown that vapor bubbles will occur first on areas of the brake caliper. This area is subjected to high thermal loads and also exposed to heat transmission.

When replacing the brake fluid, the brake fluid used as the working fluid in the hydraulic clutch should also be replaced. This is done by draining the clutch operation system or bleeding with the help of the clutch slave cylinder.

The brake fluid should be replaced by filling the brake fluid reservoir. Make sure that each bleeder valve of all wheel cylinders or brake calipers is kept open until the escaping brake fluid is clear and without air bubbles.

Never use brake fluid that has been drained from the system.

Storage of brake fluids also deserves your special attention. The aging process begins with the initial contact between the brake fluid and the atmosphere. This means immediately after a new container is opened.

To keep the boiling point of stored brake fluids as high as possible, we recommend conforming with the following points:


Brake fluids could be mixed up accidentally with mineral oil products so it is important to leave them in their original containers and not pour them into a different container.

CAUTION: If brake fluid accidentally comes into contact with your skin, wash it off with soap and water immediately. Eyes should be thoroughly flushed with cold water if contacted by brake fluid. Vomiting should be induced if brake fluid is internally consumed and a physician should be consulted.

If brake fluid is spilled or drips on a painted surface, wash it off with water immediately to prevent damage to the paint finish. Never rub it off. Brake fluids should not have contact with grease or oil. Wash hands to remove grease and oil before working with brake fluids. Also make sure that grease cannot enter the brake system.

Drained brake fluid must never be discarded in the garbage, oil disposal tanks or water drains.

Read instructions on container label prior to use.


BMW Tested and Approved DOT 4 ESL Brake Fluid is available as follows:


12 fl. oz. bottle         BMW Part No. 81 22 0 142 156
1 gallon container     BMW Part No. 81 22 0 142 155


All Models Brake fluid change interval every 2 years.



Bostik NEVER-SEEZ to prevent disc brake squeaking. It is applied on cleaned recesses, pressure surfaces of piston crowns, brake pad backplates and possibly transfer plates-but not on friction liners.

To prevent corrosion between the ABS impulse sensor and the hole in the wheel suspension component, apply a thin coat of Bostik NEVER-SEEZ to cleaned sensor and hole before assembly.


Bostik NEVER-SEEZ    Part No. NSBT-16


Non-CFC spray (former BMW Part No. 81 22 9 407 704) for cleaning brakes, brake pads, brake shoes, drums, disks and other brake components. Also suitable for clutch pressure plates.


3M         Part No. 8895
Loctite   Part No. 82220
CRC      Part No. 08088


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