The brake and clutch (manual transmission) master cylinder reservoirs are made of a translucent plastic so that the fluid level can be checked without removing the cap. Check the fluid level frequently.
If the fluid is low, fill the reservoir with DOT 3 fluid, pouring so bubbles do not form in the reservoir. Use care not to spill any fluid on the car's paint, damage may result.
The brake master cylinder is located under the hood, on the left side firewall. Before removing the master cylinder reservoir cap, make sure the vehicle is resting on level ground and clean all the dirt away from the top of the master cylinder. Pry the retaining clip off to the side. Remove the master cylinder cover.
If the level of the brake fluid is within 1 / 4 inch (6mm) of the top it is OK. If the level is less than half the volume of the reservoir, check the brake system for leaks. Leaks in the brake system most commonly occur at the rear wheel cylinders, or at the front calipers. Leaks at brake lines or the master cylinder can also be the cause of the loss of brake fluid.
There is a rubber diaphragm at the top of the master cylinder cap. As the fluid level lowers due to normal brake shoe wear or leakage, the diaphragm takes up the space. This is to prevent the loss of brake fluid out the vented cap and to help stop contamination by dirt. After filling the master cylinder to the proper level with brake fluid (Type DOT 3), but before replacing the cap, fold the rubber diaphragm up into the cap, then replace the cap on the reservoir and snap the retaining clip back in place.
On the later models, check the brake fluid and clutch fluid by visually inspecting the fluid level through the translucent master cylinder reservoir. It should be between the MIN and the MAX level marks embossed on the side of the reservoir. If the level is found to be low, remove the reservoir cap and fill to the MAX level with DOT 3 brake fluid.
The level will decrease with accumulated mileage. This is a normal condition associated with a the wear of the disc brake linings. If the fluid is excessively low, it would be advisable to have the brake system checked.
To avoid the possibility of brake failure that could result in property damage or personal injury, do not allow the master cylinder to run dry. Never reuse brake fluid that has been drained from the hydraulic system or fluid that has been allowed to stand in an open container for an extended period of time.