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02 Hyundai Elantra - Front Brake Pads, Fluid Flushes

I have a 2002 Hyundai Elantra 4 door Sedan, which I only use to drive back & forth to school and work, averaging about 250 miles per week. It is now at 53426 miles.

Do the fluids really need to be flushed? I got my power steering fluid flushed last year, and recently did it again because the Midas mechanic made it seem like it was really urgent… as well as replacing the brake fluid. So for future reference, how often do I need to perform these flushes? I haven’t had the transmission fluid flushed, but it’s been recommended before…

I took my car into the dealership as per the recall instruction today. The dealer recommended replacing the engine air filter ($60), cleaning and adjusting rear brakes ($72, but I also got this done last year at Midas, does this need to be done again?), and also recommended that the front brake pads be replaced ($335, which I have never done before).

Thank you in advance for your time!

Urgency to flush power steering fluid after a year??? Midas mechanic was late on boat payment…short answer …get a second opinion. AIr filer is a DYI and front brakes…new rotors and pads after 53,000 miles seems reasonable at $350, cleaning rear brakes?

Are you a glutton for punishment?
Taking your car to Midas is essentially asking for “jacked-up” bills for maintenance and repair.
Chain operations like Midas, Meineke, Monro, Sears, AAMCO are notorious for scaring/pressuring customers so that they opt for more than is necessary.

That being said, it is very possible–even likely–that you did need to have your front brake pads replaced. Hopefully that $335 included new rotors and new brake fluid–otherwise you were grossly overcharged.
Brake fluid needs to be replaced every 3 yrs/30k miles, even if the brake pads are not replaced.
However, I question the need for power steering flushes–especially at ~50k miles.

What you need to do is:

Start reading and following the maintenance schedule that Hyundai placed in your glove compartment.
Start keeping track of your service records so that you don’t duplicate services after a short period of time.
I made a chart on which I enter my maintenance information (including odometer mileage and date) so that I don’t have to go through 30 or 40 pages of invoices in order to see what was done and when it was done.
Develop some “sales resistance” when pressured to add more services
Find a good independent mechanic in your area and use him for oil changes and other maintenance.

Incidentally, the one service procedure that you declined is probably one of the most important ones. Transmissions need to have their fluid and filter changed every 3 yrs/30k miles–even if it is not listed in the Hyundai maintenance schedule. Failure to do this will likely result in transmission failure somewhere after 100k miles. I would suggest that you have the trans fluid changed–NOT flushed!–at your next service.

I suggest you find an independent mechanic to help you take care of your car. Going to a chain shop like Midas, where they make their money by “up-selling” things like fluid flushes, is going to cost you more money in the long run.

Some fluids need to be flushed, but not on an annual basis. Your car’s owner’s manual should have a schedule of recommended maintenance, including fluid changes. One of the most important fluid change requirements is the automatic transmission fluid, which many recommend to be replaced at 30K mile intervals.

Brake fluid also needs to be replaced periodically. The owner’s manual will tell you how often this should be done, but it’s not every year.

Power steering fluid might never need to be flushed for the life of the car. Unless the fluid is dirty or contaminated it does not need to be flushed.

Cleaning and adjusting the rear brakes is a profit generator, regardless of who recommends it. The brakes are self-adjusting, and no cleaning is required.

Front brake pads should be replaced when they are sufficiently worn. There’s no time factor, it’s strictly a wear item. If they are worn thin enough they should be replaced, if they are not worn they are fine. At 53K miles I wouldn’t be surprised if they were worn, but I can’t see them from here.

Please read the manual and find a real mechanic, not a chain shop. You’ll save money and your car will last longer.

Update: took the car in to a Shell station mechanic today recommended on this site’s mechanics section, and the guy told me the brake pads were actually >50% and not in need of replacements. Yay.

I have been reading mixed opinions about the transmission fluid flush. So perhaps I’ll just wait until the 60K mark to do it…

I want to attempt the engine air filter replacement myself. Interestingly enough, Midas did not recommend it but the dealership did. As far as I know, it has never been replaced, so it’s probably about time to replace it. The owner’s manual lists 3 different filters (engine filter, air cleaner filter, and air filter (in front of blower unit)… is the one that I’m supposed to replace the “air cleaner filter?”

Thanks for the update.

Yes, the air cleaner filter is what cleans the air going into the engine, and it should not be difficult to replace. On many cars no tools are required for this job. Hopefully the owner’s manual will have diagrams showing you how to do it. You can buy a replacement filter at any auto parts store.

It’s way past due for replacement. 30K miles or less is often the recommended replacement interval, and I don’t even like to wait that long.

Don’t delay with the transmission fluid. Have it changed, not flushed. There’s a difference. The fluid is the life blood of the transmission. You can’t gamble. Automatic transmissions are very expensive to replace. Fluid changes are cheap. Check the owner’s manual to see how often it should be replaced.

The manual has a picture of where the air filter is, but no step-by-step diagrams. So I’ll just have to be smart. :slight_smile:

As far as the automatic transaxle fluid, the manual recommends replacement at 105k (severe conditions is 30k)… I assume that’s the transmission fluid? I don’t really drive in severe conditions (I live in Maryland, the weather usually is pretty good).

What is the difference between changing and flushing? Does it ever need to be flushed? Should changing cost less than flushing?