[Healeys] Brake Fluid -- Silicone vs. glycol

Gary Anderson garyandersonmm at gmail.com
Sun Jul 25 16:36:58 MDT 2021

Having co-authored the book on restoration of Austin-Healeys and been
involved in classic cars for over 30 years, I've confronted this question
in many forms and many times. I've talked to vintage racers and great
collections managers on whose decisions thousands of dollars and human
lives can depend.
Out of all this, the simple neutral answer depends on how you will use the

Assuming you've replaced the complete brake system AND all seals and
gaskets, then:

If you use your classic car regularly and maintain it carefully, then by
all means use glycol-based fluid and change it at least every two years
(more frequently if you're racing and/or doing long tours).

If you don't use your classic car regularly -- it's parked for months on
end or used for display and show rather than regular driving and touring --
then use silicone fluid.

Regarding the proviso above, if you're not changing gaskets and seals, then
use whatever fluid was used before, but with glycol replace it every two
years at minimum and with silicone, check the level frequently and top up
as necessary.

Let me know if you can find a classic collection manager or racing driver
who will disagree with that answer.

Gary Anderson
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