My dealer told me to change brake fluid at 20,000 without any brake work. Seems unusual to me.
You’re right to be skeptical. What’s the owner’s manual say? I had never done it until we purchased a Honda. It specifies a 3-yr interval. I had read (I think from a reliable source) that brake fluid is hydrophilic and will pick up water contamination over time. I’d go with your manual over the dealer. I’ve been given a couple of recommendations from dealers that differed from the manual and, in my opinion, got a BS kind of justification from the dealer service department.
Brake fluid is hydrophilic and in time will absorb water.
The car is 4 years old and I’m sure it is past the recommended time frame.
The manual might not call for brake fluid changes (thank the bean counters), but it’s a good thing to do in the long run.
Same goes for other fluids too.
Brake fluid/hydraulic fluid change is not listed as scheduled maintenance in my 2010 Kia Forte owner manual or recommended by the dealership. They stated that brake/hydraulic fluid replacement was only done during a normal brake job or master cylinder/clutch cylinder replacement. Check your owner manual scheduled maintenance.
I change brake fluid each time I wax the axles.
Your dealer may have one of these devices (see below) to measure the amount of water absorbed by the brake fluid. If the brake fluid has water in it, it will corrode your brake parts from the inside out and cause you to replace them. It could also boil the fluid if you are trying to slow the car down a long mountain pass and THAT would cause you to lose all your brakes… so change you fluid at least every 4 years. every 3 if you live in a humid place.
Brake fluid is the most neglected fluid in any car or truck!
I am one of those people who follows the owner’s manual maintenance schedules religiously. I always change the fluids according to the shorter schedule or a bit more often. I have owned multiple Toyotas. Every single one of them had at least one frozen brake caliper before 100K. I presently have a 2007 Highlander. Now on its third set of brake calipers in back and second up front. If changing the fluid did anything to prevent the brake calipers from freezing in my Supra, Lexus IS, or Highlander I cannot imagine what it was.
My wife has an 07 Lexus ES-350 with over 200k miles and original brake calipers at all 4 corners.
Only vehicle I had caliper problems with was my 05 4-Runner. And everyone I knew who had that generation 4-runner had caliper problems.