Brake Service / Spark plugs / other fluids?

When people talk about brake service, what is usually they talk about?

Brake has several components few I could think of are PADS, Calipers, ROTORS and Brake Fluids (not sure if there is any more parts). If needs to serviced do you have to change all 4 components?

Do you have to change at specific time or just take off wheels and inspect then do required brake service?

How long brake fluid lasts?

My Camry has currently 30000 miles and 6.5 years old. No brake issues that I can tell.

When one should replace spark plugs and battery?

Are other fluids such as differentials and steering wheel fluids needs to be changed?

Brake service usually means pad replacement. The rotors should be inspected and either machined true or replaced as part of the service. Extra cost may be involved, especially for rotor replacement. Brake fluid should be changed out every few years or every 30K miles or so, so your car is overdue for a brake fluid flush.

Battery can be replaced when it fails or preventively. I do my commuting cars at five years or so. Your choice.

For the other services, look at the owner’s manual maintenance schedule (not necessarily the dealer service advisor’s recommendation). It will outline when other fluids should be replaced. One exception might be transmission fluid replacement. I recommend 30K miles for auto transmissions.

Power steering fluids don’t necessarily need to be replaced, but some folks do it as a preventive service. I replace it if I have to replace hoses or some power steering part and only then.

Given the age of your Camry, need to consider a timing belt replacement also, based on age, not miles accumulated. Timing belts don’t last forever.

Great advice given above. Only add that plugs should be good for 100,000 mile or so! Check owner’s manual for exact mileage or time.


My car has Timing Chain not belt. I assume with chains you don’t need to do any thing or at least for 10 years of 100-120 K miles. That’s what I read online.

If your Camry has ABS brakes then brake fluid should be flushed out every 3 years. Brake fluid is hydroscopic (it absorbs water) and overtime degrades. Water in the brake fluid can cause corrosion in the calipers and brake lines.

Coolant degrades over time also and at 6.5 years you are close to the end of the road on the original coolant. Time to replace that soon. The trans fluid is best changed at 30K miles (even if owner’s manual says otherwise) and I’d strongly recommend the new fluid be Toyota brand trans fluid. If you get the trans serviced at a quick lube joint the fluids they use are generic and can cause problems. Even though it costs more I would either buy Toyota fluids and have my mechanic install them, DIY, or take the car to a Toyota dealer for new fluids.

Some Toyota’s (circa 2000 - 2001) recommended new plugs every 30K miles. I have an '01 Sequoia with a V8 and a 2000 Camry with a V6 and both call for 30K plug replacement. You need to check your owner’s manual regarding plug replacement interval. I use the exact same plugs that came from the factory when I replace the plugs. You likely won’t notice any change in performance with new plugs. You can run your plugs pasts the recommended interval but you might get a bit less mpg and increase the junk going into your catalytic converter and out the tailpipe.

The Toyota owner’s manual can be confusing. Your low miles driven per year looks like “severe” service to me. I’d have the oil changed every year or 5,000 miles at the minimum, and every 6 months would be even better.

Your battery could be fine. At 6 years many batteries have already failed. I have a jumper box so I wait until a battery dies to replace it. If you never want to experience a dead battery no start, you are due for a new battery.

Also, the timing chain will make noise when it is ready to be changed. It will most likely surpass 120k miles easily. I had a Toyota pick-up with a down-graded single-row chain on the SOHC engine. The previous engine models had a factory double-row chain. The head gasket blew out at 250,000 miles. I checked the chain with everything apart, and it was still good according to the manual. Only 60% stretched after all those miles. I still hadn’t had any timing chain issues when I ‘lost’ the truck to an accident with 325,000 miles on it.

After repairing and rebuilding dozens of 22R engines the timing chain failures were very rare and all seemed to begin with failure of the guide/tensioner system. If the first rattlings of the timing chain are investigated the plastic guides usually were worn and replacing them put things back in order for another 100,000 miles or so. If the early style metal guides were installed they seemed to last the life of the engine.

When repair shops advertise brake service they always mean brake pads (or linings) and servicing the rotors. Nothing more. They assume that the calipers are in normal working condition and they won’t flush the brake fluid unless the owner requests it (or gives consent to the upsell). So if you think you need brake service, think only of pads and rotors.

It wasn’t too long ago that brake fluid lasted forever. A car normally lived its entire lifespan, factory to crusher, with its original brake fluid. In a sealed system, water absorption is minimal and degradation is hardly measurable. Now it is fashionable to advise frequent brake fluid flushes. Refer to your owner’s manual, or consider it an option.

Sparkplugs seem to have two answers. First will be like 80 - 100K. That means the plugs will function for about 100K before misfires when you need to replace them. However, After all those miles you may find it more than a little hard to remove them after all those miles. I recommend doing them at about 50K.

I’d bet most drivers never bother until there is a problem. Most of those will end up trading it in before or about that time and leave it up to the next owner who will not know how long they have been there.

Good Luck