"Flush" services

I took my car in for it’s 60K service and was told I needed flush services for power steering ($129), injection system ($129), brakes ($129), and transmission fluid ($199).

Are these services BS or for real? Transmission makes some sense to me, but power steering and brakes?

Most are wallet flushes:
power steering ($129) Not needed, ever, unless there’s a problem. Most power steering problems are leaks in hoses, nothing to do with flushes.
injection system ($129) Not needed unless you’re having a problem
brakes ($129) Changing the brake fluid and bleeding the brakes is appropriate, certainly by 60k, but I don’t call that a flush
transmission fluid ($199) I have mine drained and filled every 40k or so, no flush, half the price

In my opinion, of course…

Transmission and brakes are legitimate.

The others are wallet flushes, profit generators, whatever you want to call them.

The brakes and transmission ones are definitely legit. The injection system is unnecessary, and I do my own power steering flushes every 60k because i’ve found that keeping the fluid fresh does tend to keep the hoses and seals from leaking as soon as in cars where i’ve left it alone. However, this can be done in your driveway with a couple of bottles of power steering fluid and a turkey baster, not necessary to pay $129 for that one.

Don’t let them flush your power steering fluid. You can do a simple drain and refill at home with a cheap siphon pump, all for less than $15.

Don’t let them flush your fuel injectors unless you are experiencing a problem. Modern fuels contain detergents so this kind of thing usually isn’t necessary.

Brake fluid should be changed every 2-3 years, and $129 sounds about right for the price.

Do you have a manual transmission or an automatic transmission? With a manual transmission, just drain and refill. This is a pretty easy job if you have the right tools. With an automatic transmission, it all depends on the vehicle. If yours has a transmission drain plug, I would do a simple drain and refill, even though this won’t get all of the old fluid out. If it doesn’t have a drain plug, you should have the pan dropped and the filter cleaned. Again, you won’t get all of the old fluid out, but if you look in your manual, I am willing to bet the service schedule recommends a drain and refill, not a flush.

By the way, what kind of car are we talking about?

I’d forget the injection system service, but have the others services done.

The transmission and power steering fluid breaks down from heat and oxidizes. These fluids then lose their additive packages that help to keep the seals from becoming hard. So it’s cheaper to have fluids changed than to replace a transmission, the power steering pump, or the rack & pinion assembly.

The brake fluid absorbs moisture from the air. Too much moisture and brake components start to corrode. Cheaper to replace the brake fluid than calipers, wheel cylinders, or an ABS unit.


What kind of car are we talking about?? Year, make, model, and engine size.


As noted by others, Automatic transmission fluid changes are important IMO, but I would tend to prefer a fluid change (along with cleaning the filter) than a flush. Brakes are also very important. The rest No.

2006 Toyota Sienna minivan 2 wd XLE.

I think I would have been a little less irritated if he hadn’t recommended over $1000 worth of extras when I was already in for my 60k service.

Made me feel like I had another Mercedes!

1 Like

What kinds of extras was he recommending?

What kinds of extras was he recommending?

They are all listed in the original post.

The original post does not add up to more than $1000 worth of extras, i’m just wondering if there were other things as well.

I didn’t list the brakes, the fronts needed replaced and rotors turned. I wasn’t in doubt about that, it was all the various system flushes that annoyed me.

I live in the desert, does that make the brake line moisture and therefore the flush less important?

nfs480, perhaps I should let the OP speak for himself.

Power Steering Flush: $129 ___________ Doing it yourself: _ $15
FI cleaning: _________ 129 ___________ Not doing it: ______ 0
Brake Fluid Flush: ____ 129 ___________ Brake Fluid Flush: 129
Transmission Flush: __ 199 ___________ Drain and refill: ___ 39
Totals: ____________ $586 ________________________ $183

mattchanin, you should still have them change the brake fluid.

I think focusing on the 1000 estimate is not the point. If you add the brake service, you get another 250. I rounded up. Now that you have your numbers, does that make a difference in which services you think are important?

I think you will find the numbers I posted are in line with my recommendations above. My advice stays the same.

Very interesting responses!

I did the transmission and replaced the front brakes today, plus did the 60K standard service.

It seems

  • the brake flush response is mixed
  • the power steering leans towards no
  • the fuel line flush leans towards no

One thing to factor in is what to do with the fluids when DIY.

I think I will do brakes next time. Fuel and power steering … meh.

Thanks everyone for your help!

When I change fluids, I put the old fluids in the original containers and take them back to where I purchased them for disposal. Buying them at a place like Pep Boys or a Wal Mart with a service center means they do these jobs themselves in addition to selling them to end users, so they should have the means to dispose of the used fluids.

If you have the 5 speed automatic, I don’t think you can flush it without some specialized equipment that right now only the dealers have, and not all of them have it. Was this a dealer making those recommendations?

BTW, I would recommend against ALL of those flushes. When the brake pads are replaced, have the brake system flushed them, but never do the other flushes.

Normally, I do recommend that the transmission fluid be drained and refilled on a regular basis, never flush, but if you have the above mentioned transmission, you can’t do that. Consult with your dealer on that or check your owners manual, but don’t let someone at a quicky oil change place touch it under any circumstances.

I would also drain and refill the cooling system.
Use Toyota coolant.