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Brake fluid change at 30k

I have a 2008 Impreza that has almost 50k now. I just bought last week a second Impreza, a 2012 model, from an out of town dealership. During the purchase I was offered a maintenance package which brought to my attention the fact that on the old one I didn’t get the recommended service at the local Subaru service. One of the elements of this maintenance visit was changing the brake fluid which sounded pretty important to me, so I called the local service and I was told that they just look at it if it is cloudy and top the fluid if it needs it. The maintenance booklet clearly states change the fluid at 30k. Well, I am just 10k shy of the next major maintenance visit and I am wondering, should I have the fluid changed now, should I go with what they are telling me?
This is what the manual recommends:

  • Tune engine and replace plugs
  • Replace transmission oil
  • Replace differential fluids
  • Flush and refill cooling system (09-10 w/ Super Coolant @ 120k)
  • Replace PCV valve
  • Replace brake fluid

From the invoice it looks like they just inspected everything and replaced the cabin air filter.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind not spending $500 for the above, but I really want to take care of this car properly.

The answer would also help me decide if I will buy the maintenance packet or not.

Input appreciated.

30,000 is a reasonable interval, but 4 years is also OK. The issue is moisture infiltration into the brake fluid. If your brakes aren’t spongy, you could wait. But don’t go past 60,000.

You can wait. There’s no urgency. Even if your brake fluid has picked up its limit of moisture (very unlikely) this will not affect your stopping ability for normal driving nor will it cause the pedal to feel spongy.

Many manufacturers treat brake fluid as permanent, similar to the air in your tires. Top up only when low. Only a few manufacturers advocate regular replacement.

I would change it at the next major interval, but I would look for a good independent mechanic. It could save you quite a bit of money. I would also recommend that you don’t pay for maintenance packages in advance, that is not a good idea.

Pay in advance means that you are probably financing this, what happens if the dealership goes out of business, somebody hits and totals the car, you decide to trade it in early? What if you decide that the dealership isn’t providing satisfactory service? Too many things can go wrong with this deal.

Sure you can wait, My brakes went to 80k, but it would be remiss to say to you do not go by some internet experience but by what your manual recommends. If you have the means to follow the recommendations by the manual, please do it, no ifs ands or buts.

I aim to replace my own brake fluid every 3 years, regardless of mileage. It’s a cheap and easy DIY project.

I guess the safest thing would be to do what the owner’s manual recommends. The risk is that if the mechanics are not careful, they may introduce debris into the lines in the process of changing out the old fluid. Then you’d be in worse shape than you are now.

I can only tell you what I do. Not a recommendation, just an opinion. As long as the fluid is reasonably clear, I leave it alone. I don’t add fluid unless there is an obvious leak, and only then to bide time. The fluid level goes down as the pads wear out. There is supposed to be enough lee-way that even when the pads are fully worn to the max, there is still enough fluid in the master cylinder, still above the “Low” mark. In fact keeping track as the fluid goes from “Hi” to “Low” gives you an idea of how much is left on the pads. Adding fluid makes the job more difficult when it comes time to replace the pads or drums too, as the fluid overflows the top of the master cylinder and makes a mess.

Thanks all. I guess i’ll wait.
The maintenance package is from Subaru and can be used at any Subaru dealership. I think it is transferable too. I am not sure I trust the local independent services, but I’ll ask around

I am glad to hear from the likes of people that don’t change brake fluid often. I know it is good and ideal, but at the same time, I know plenty of people that have original brake fluid on 12-15 year old cars…with no ill effect (normal driving, not auto cross folks)

is this acceptable?

I forget what the warranty is on your vehicle. If it is under warranty I would do everything in the manual, preferably by a mechanic. If you do it yourself you can do all of those things cheaply, but you should keep meticulous records of what you did and what parts you used with receipts for your warranty.

If the vehicle is no longer under warranty, then do them all yourself as a DIY. You will save money and learn a lot about your vehicle. One thing to keep in mind however on this vehicle is that the engine is a boxter and your spark plug wells are pointed directly at the sides of the engine compartment and harder to change than typical plugs.