Changing out brake fluid

While having my local dealership do my oil change/26 pt inspection, they suggested that at some point since I don’t know the age of the brake fluid that it might be wise to have it all drained and replaced with new brake fluid. My van has 145,000 miles on it, and I have no idea if it has ever been changed. Is this a good idea and is the price of $68 to do it a fair price. I have a 2002 Kia Sedona mini van.

Do it. I’d call $68 reasonable, but you also don’t need to use a dealer. Its a very important, but often neglected maintenance item.

Yes do it, and every 3 years from now on.

Yes and yes. $68 is quite reasonable. As far as you know, you’re 115,000 miles overdue.

Be aware that you might end up needing a new master cylinder if there’s enough gunk in there. That’ll add to the price, but should be done as well if necessary.

Yes, this is a good idea. And yours is way overdue. I’ll bet that if you look at the recommended maintenance schedule that came with your owner’s manual (and you should do this) it’ll tell you when it was due.

Brake fluid is hygroscopic (absorbs water) and this can cause problems. Water can form ice crystals. The process being recommended is called a “flush”, and consists of pushing the old fluid out the bleeders by opening them and pushing new fluid in the Master Cylinder. Brake cylinders can also get crud in them, particularly if during the installation of new pads proper protocol isn’t observed to prevent “backdraw” from pulling it in. Crud can create problems especially in ABS systems. ABS systems use a solenoid operated valve for each wheel’s brake line to interfere with the hydraulics (pulsate the brakes) and “pulsate” th ebrakes. Crud if it gets into the modulator assembly (where the valving system is) can interfere with the valve operation.

I’ve attached a document that might help show that the brake system(if yours has ABS) does include components that are best kept clean and with fresh fluid. Hope it helps.

I am about to have that done to my car, so I think doing it is worthwhile.

My Honda calls for this once every 3 years, my Mercedes once every 2 years.

Many cars call for replacement every three years. What does yours require?

I am not sure and since I just bought it last year not sure if one has ever been done since it had 134,000 on it when I bought it so they may have done it, but no way of knowing…

It’s inexpensive preventative maintenance. I’d suggest doing it.

I have never had an operators manual that reccomended changing the braje fluid, AND I have never changed any. I had an '83 Dodge pickup 10 years and a '96 Dodge van 15 years.

Your old Dodge vehicles were not equipped with ABS brakes, a system that will NOT tolerate dirty or contaminated brake fluid. Replacing an ABS unit can EASILY go Four Figures…$68 is CHEAP insurance…It’s not 1983 any more…

I imagine you have had brake work in the past, my brake guys do a complete fluid flush as part of the brake job, do yours?

Lots of luck getting the brake bleeders open on a car 5 years old or older. In our climate and you will just snap the bleeder off.
Yes I have tried heat but it would take so much heat that you would cook the seals in a caliper or the rubber parts in a wheel cylinder. I have been able to save wheel cylinders when rep;acing rotted out brake lines by taking them out of the car to my workbench and taking the rubber parts out before heating the wheel cylinder ( heating just the bleeder screw does no good ).
They use tons of road salt here and now they are adding magnesium chloride which makes it even worse.
I know 2 people with Hyundai Sonatas that were less than 2 years old and under 24,000 miles that had to have their rear brakes replaced because the calipers won’t retract when you let off the brake.
Hyundai told them both that the only way to prevent it is to have the rear brakes cleaned and re-greased every year.

So, I don’t flosh my brake fluid, I do take a turkey baster and remove and replace the fluid from the master cyl. three Saturdays in a row- Works pretty well.

Caddyman, my '96 van had ABS (still does).

EllyEllis - I wouldn’t confuse lucky and flirting with disaster with being wise. Changing out brake fluid is easy, cheap, and smart. Of course, they’re only brakes - so who really cares if they continue to work correctly.

(snicker) As much as I would like to stay out of this one, I can’t.

For most people, brake fluid maintenance is a no-brainer. (snicker)

I can understand people not wanting to do some maintenance if the cost is a few hundred dollars…or is a real pain to do.

But exchanging brake fluid is easy and cheap. I can do it in my garage in less then an hour…Cheap insurance if you ask me.

Even if it cost more, I would still do it, just not as often.

Whitey, that page had one inaccuracy. You don’t have to stick with the DOT number in the manual, as long as you go up, not down, are aware of the 5 / 5.1 difference. i.e. don’t go from 4 to 3, but from 3 to 4 is fine (and desirable depending on what you do with the car), and don’t go from 3,4, or 5.1 to 5 because the fluid is made of different stuff and will cause problems. (conversely, don’t go from 5 to anything else).

I’ve got 5.1 in my MR2 which, I think, came with 3. Works much better on the somewhat rare occasion I put it on a track, where temperatures would easily boil the stock fluid.