Brake Fluid and Needed Tune-Up

I have a 2000 Honda civic w/ 160,000 miles. I have not had a major service or tune up in over 2 years. while getting my oil changed, I was told that I need more brake fluid as well. I was told that it was old in a prior oil change, months ago.

I have misplaced my manual…what are the basic parts I will need to buy for a tune-up----so far I know I will need new spark plugs, but I need help about the rest.

Also, if I cannot get a tune up within a week or 2, can I add brake fluid myself, or does it need to be flushed first before I add new fluid? My brakes are new and fine.

for your tune up, start with spark plugs, PCV, air filter, gas filter. If spark plug wires are original I would change them.

On the brake fluid, if it is more than three years old, I would change flush it. When the oil change shop said “getting old”, exactly what do they mean? Do you have old maintenance records that back up their claim? If it is low, I would go ahead and fill up to the proper level, and then plan on doing a real flush later. Are you also sure that when the brakes were done that the system did not get flushed? check your receipts; I assume because the master cylinder is low, that your answer is no.

Just have someone top up the brake fluid. Unlike oil, it does not need to be changed often. When was the last time the timing belt was changed? That’s the most critical item. Honda requires changes very 90,000 miles or so or every 7 years, depending on the model. If you are now NOT on your second timing belt, you are driving on borrowed time.

There is no such thing as a “tuneup” anymore. You should drain the automatic transmission fluid every 30,000 miles and replace with HONDA fluid. The radiator should be drained and flushed every 40,000 miles or so and the coolant replaced. Platimum plugs last a very long time, like 60,000+ miles or so.

The timing belt is the only critical thing in getting home safely; you don’t want it to break, since it will total the engine in the process!!!

Check all your fluids and the tires and enjoy the trip home!

timing belt was replaced 60,000 miles ago. my brake lines were not flushed when i got my recent new brakes (mid last year). The mechanic checked the fluid, and i think there may have been sediment in it, or it was not smooth, if that makes sense.

is it unsafe to drive until i can get the tune up? what happens without brake fluid? will my brakes not work? sorry for the simple questions, I honestly just don’t know and would like to know more.

Don’t worry! If your braking system does not leak, and the brakes work fine you’re OK to go! In the past brake fluid was seldom changed and stayed in the car till it died. You should still have it changed some time in the future, as should your timing belt.

Today’s car have a dual braking system; if one line leaks there will be still braking on 3 wheels. You would need 2 simultaneous leaks to disable the car’s stopping power. Then you would still have the emergency brake.

Brake failure (loss of fluids)did happen to me years ago in an older car (without the dual braking) going downhill. This was a manual shift car and I shoved the gearshift in 2nd and turned the ignition off to get maximum engine braking. While steering the car on to the sidewalk, I gradually pulled the emergency handbrake and brought the car to a stop. Not really very difficult.

Don’t be panicked by all those dimbulbs who “could not” stop their Toyotas and called 911 instead.

How can you tell that your brakes need fluid, other than checking under the hood? Can you tell anything while driving?

Also, sometimes I notice my car shudder a little bit when I start it…like it is “coughing”. Could that be due to needing a tune up or something cleaned?

A complete tune-up (tune-up being a bit of a misnomer) should include inspection and adjustment of the valve lash; something that is seldom done or even thought of.

Service the fuel/air filter, the PCV valve, should also be part of it.

Should I even ask if this car has has timing belt/water pump/tensioner change? If not, you’ve been on borrowed time for quite a while.

timing belt and water pump, etc. we changed 60,000 miles ago.

The only place to check the brake fluid is to watch the reservoir under the hood. Very few cars have a brake fluid monitor to tell you its is getting low.

The “coughing” can be caused by various things, poor fuel delivery due to a worn pump or partially blocked fuel filter, bad plugs, defective ignition conponents, a partailly plugged air filter and many more.

You really need to set aside some money and time and have the car properly gone over by a good mechanic. It’s impossible for us her to tell you what exactly is wrong. You will likley need plugs and probably some new wires as well.

In the mean time get home and take a break before getting a serious go-over of you car.

Thank you. :slight_smile: I am going to try and get my car fixed in the next week or so, because it is long overdue. :slight_smile: