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Changing brake fluid every 3 years?

I have a maintenance check coming up soon. I read my manual and I don’t recall seeing doing brake flush. What is the difference between changing brake fluid every 3 yrs and a brake flush? would brake flush include changing brake fluid but more? if it’s not in manual, should I just do changing of fluid?

Changing the brake fluid and a brake fluid flush are the same thing. With a brake fluid change, the brake pedal is pumped to purge the old fluid out. With a brake flush, a pressurized container containing brake fluid is connected to the master cylinder. This fluid under pressure purges to old fluid out without having to pump the brake pedal.


so tester, would you recommend a brake flush then? is it better for the car? would you recommend the same philosophy for changing transmission fluids…flush vs changing? thanks!

Actually, servicing all the fluids on a regular basis is a good idea.

Brake fluid absorbs moisture from the air. So over time the brake fuid becomes contaminated with water. This then causes corrosion in the brake components. This corrosion can reach a point where brake components leak or fail to function correctly. So now the brake components require replacing along with changing the brake fluid. So replacing the brake fluid every three years is good vehicle maintenance, and prevents premature component failure.


For my '03 Civic with ABS brakes Honda maintenance (as per manual) calls for new brake fluid every 3 years regardless of miles. I believe this is the normal Honda recommendation for any Honda with ABS brakes.

I’m on fixed budget right now so I am trying to take care of everything one at time in order of priority. So if I get the brake flush (since this is considered "changing of brake fluid every three years) then 2 months later dealer won’t say you need to change brake fluid? I’m afraid that they are trying to sell 2 different services and I want to get the right one and not have to worry about until the next 3 years…I’m new to cars so sorry if i’m taking things too literally…


I agree with this. My manual says change every 3 years…but honda mentions brake flush and I want to make sure that brake flush is the same as changing brake fluid every 3 yrs or are they trying to sell me that service on top of changing brake fluid…different prices for both…what is your mileage?

Just pay for the service that replaces the brake fluid, if the “flush” is more it isn’t worth the extra money.

My '03 has 97K on it now and I’ve had the brake fluid changed 2 times so far.

The brake fluid “flush” is just the process of pushing the old fluid out by using the new fluid under pressure, as perfectly described by Tester. The only difference between doing it with the pressurized comtainer and by pumping the pedal is convenience. Both ways push the fluid out the bleeders and with both methods the fluid fluid goes in via the master cylinder and replaces the old fluid that’s getting pushed out.

Okay, now In understand the difference. Does pumping the pedal cause any damage to the pedal such as shifting or breaking the brake pedal stopper?

It causes a bit more wear on the master cylinder, but exactly the same as if you are driving.

The big issue is that using the pressure system, you eliminate the chance of pushing air into the brake system. Just solid fluid, so it has better results.

Chances are, you can pay for the lower service, and they will still use the same tool to do the job.

The only thing extra I can see is they might activate the ABS test feature while they are doing to the work, to flush out the fluid in that part of the circuit, for the extra cash. Just pumping the brakes doesn’t get the fluid out of the ABS modulator on a lot of vehicles.


Well, the dealership might try to get you in for a second brake fluid replacement if they’re the type of dealership that likes to rip you off, but you don’t have to go. The flush will exchange new fluid for the old. So you don’t need to change it again only 2 months later.

If your money is tight, you can do it yourself. If you can find a friend with a hydraulic jack and jack stands, you are in business. The job is quickest with 2 people and will cost you less than $10 for brake fluid and an afternoon. Just make sure you get the right fluid.