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Brake Fluid Flushing or Did I Get Flushed?

2002 Merc Mountaineer, 135K miles:

I’ve been taking my car to the local town tire shop for years for my regularly scheduled maintenace. Just the usual oil changes, tire rotations, etc. If they saw some minor adjustments needed, they would just take care of it.

About 2 years ago, when the economy tanked, they started hitting you with “The Form” - a checklist of all the recommendations needed for your car. For the past 3 oil changes, they said your brake fluid is black and needs to be flushed. Never heard of this so I always declined. Last week I dropped the car off for an oil change and planned to pick it up later that afternoon. I got the call about 2 hours later, and you know when you get a call before you expect, they always have found something wrong. This time it was “the brake fluid is really, really black” and needs to be flushed.

I caved in and said OK do it and it was one of those XX.99 prices. Is this a needed maintenance or did I get flushed?

You should change your brake fluid every 30k-50k miles, or when you have a brake job, so if it hasn’t been done, it was good to do.

I flush my brake fluid every 2-3 years regardless of mileage. Yours was overdue. It’s easy to do so don’t pay too much for the service though.

Never before have I seen the country gripped by such “they are out to get me fears”. Just this morning there was the deal with the Presidents birth certificate, and the Apple phone that tracks you, and this type of constant “rip off” fears about auto servicing. I can accept that people do get real nervous when the economy stays bad for so long but this level of fear is unusual to my eyes.Remember to secure your wireless router.It does seem that someone(s) is(are) playing the fear card every day now.

Yes it is OK to change your brake fluid occasionaly

You should replace, flush, and bleed your brake fluid every 2 years.
Its written right in your owners manual.

Doing this will increase the lifespan of your brake components, which as you know, are really, really, REALLY important to making sure that you and everyone else on the road along with you is able to get where you are going safely.


The system should be fludhed with fresh fluid every now and then. I like every 5 years, others suggest shorter timespans. Yours was clearly due.

Your perception of “the form” is correct. And it has been a major contributing factor to the fears/beliefs suggested by Oldschool.

By the way, brake fluid doesn’t usually get black like that unless it’s overheated. Did the shop mention anything about this?

Brake fluid should be changed at least every 3 years.
Every two years is a good idea if you have anti-lock brakes.

They really are out to get you.

Like the dealership service writer who advised me to get my manual trans “power flushed”.
Even though I had drained & refilled 2000 miles earlier.

Any car with ABS brakes and other features such as traction control and stablility control should have brake fluid changed periodically. Honda recommends every 3 years regardless of miles, and other mfg’s are similar.

Brake fluid “flushing” isn’t the rip off that transmission flushing is, and a brake flush doesn’t cause problems unlike a poorly done transmission flush. You probably should have done it earlier, so sometimes it is good to cave in.

Good point. Like the old saying says, “it isn’t paranoia if they’re really out to get you?”

You included something that probably did not belong on the list, old school. The birth certificate issue. This first became an issue when an elderly female member of Obama’s family said she was there when he was born in Kenya. In Kenya, got it? And, then Obama waited years before responding to what was a reasonable response by the public to her comment. I for one do accept the birth certificate as valid. He could have acted like an adult years ago and it would not have been an issue.

I don’t get the flush brake fluid thing. I know you have to change the radiator fluid, the oil and filter, the transmission fluid, add the windshield wiper fluid and, in rear wheel drive cars, occasionally after say, 250,000 miles change the rear differential fluid. Brake fluid? Someone got a business out there?
Replace the lost brake fluid to the full level when you replace the pads and have to bleed the brakes. Use the correct fluid according to the users manual. My car is 24 years old. The brake fluid is original except for what was added during brake repair. No problems.

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I’d like to preface this comment with one statement: I do not like our current president.

This whole thing about his birth certificate is crap, and is merely a distraction by certain people who have little else to do. Mr. Obama is not, nor has he ever been required to show “us” his birth certificate. He DID have to prove his birthright to certain parties before he was allowed to become president, and they accepted it.

However, this is not a political forum, and should be left out of here.

My Toyota Corolla, 2007 year, doesn’t have a brake-fluid change interval actually. I’m pretty sure I will change it before 100K though.

irlandes April 27
You included something that probably did not belong on the list,…Well spoken

Yes you do need to flush the fluid.

Nobody has stated why so here is the reason.

Brake fluid is hygroscopic meaning it absorbs moisture. Water in the fluid will rust the metal brake line which causes brake failure, ie, no brakes!

Brake fluid is like Oil. It gets worn out and the reason it turns black is the metal particles from the brake cylinder and abs system. Your tire shop should have those test strips that they dip in the brake fluid and change color. Those strips really do work.

I would get it flushed, total removal and replace. I had mine done one year cause I seemed to be having rear brake problems, they did not seem to be working. When the tech broke the rear bleeder and tried to suck the line clean it would do nothing, the line was clogged and it took another mech to sit inside and press on the brakes, and he really had to press when it did brake loose his foot hit the floor and a stream of black fluid poured out.

I know of a recently deceased enemy of the United States that also probably would not have anything postive to say about the President, that is if he could. Finally got him and Americans are celebrating all across the nation. Get used to him. This guy (the current President) is a “shoe-in” in 2012. You will find that politics surrounds every aspect of the automobile, it is better to face that fact than try to artifically seperate the two.

And, then Obama waited years before responding to what was a reasonable response by the public to her comment.

He didn’t have to…Nor should have have to…That’s what election boards are for. They verify the validity of the candidate. It was verified MANY times by Democrats AND Republicans. He didn’t have to make ONE comment or prove anything. It was already PROVEN. If there was any doubt - the election committees would have brought it to light. The reason it’s bi-partisan is so that something like this doesn’t just get passed over by the candidates party.

But there actually was ONE presidential candidate in the last election who was NOT born in the US - McCain. He was born on a Military installation in Panama. If he was elected he would be the FIRST President NOT born in the United States. Not saying it’s wrong…just that it never happened before.

Place of birth can work for you or against you. The Austrians have sucessfully convinced the whole world that Adolph Hitler was a GERMAN, not a disgruntled Austrian painter. Prior to 1939, however, he waa hailed as ahero who would solve all their problems.