My son brought in our 1996 Toy Avalon (with ~ 180k miles) for a front end noise. It ended up needing “front strut towers”…which was fine. What he then approved (without calling me) were a bunch of “flushes”:

Transmission flush

Power steering flush

Brake hydrolic system flush

Engine cooling flush

I recall from one of your shows that this was a way for a shop to add to the bottom line (I couldn’t remember what flush(s) you were talking about) and that it wasn’t really necessary, as long as the usual fluids were maintained. The only one I really suspect that would be a necessary part of maintenence would be the cooling system…BTW, they were each ~ $70 (not including the flush kits and fluids)…so which ones are necessary? Was I (my son) taken to the bank? Thanks.


His lack of experience cost you money.

None of those flushes was necessary.

When each unit works correctly all you need for regular preventive maintenance is drain and refill.


[b]Well, all you need to do is look in the owners manual and see if any of these services are recommended from the manufacturer, and when.



I know two people who have horror stories very soon after a transmission flush it is something I would not do on my car. With that said my wife took our sable to the dealer for routine oil change at around 50k mark and they talked her in to tranny flush with no ill effects the car now has 110k and counting. The cooling system flush is a good thing I am going to do it next month on my car as opposed to just a drain and refill.


“Was I (my son) taken to the bank?”

The simple answer – yes. In most cases the mechanics don’t even inspect your systems. All these services could have been performed on your car last week and they’ll still report that your car “needs” the work done immediately. Well, you know your car is now in good shape for another 50,000 miles.


One other thing I was thinking was if your son is under 18 he may not be legally old enough to authorize repairs to your vehicle which may give you some leverage against the dealer to lower the price to a drain and refill instead of flush and refill.


Thanks for the quick replies…btw, my son is 22 yo, but still on the payroll (he just graduated from college). I just learned my lesson, and I will definitely pass it on to him.


In the year or two I have been lurking on this Board a lot of smart people have recommended the brake hydraulic flush every couple of years. Some smart people have said it’s not needed, but nobody has said that it will hurt.

Cooling system flush and transmission flush are considered not necessary – just drain and refill. Some people report problems after transmission flush.

I think the fourth flush in your list was power steering, but I can’t remember and the new software does not let us see the post to which we are replying. As I recall, this is also considered not necessary – and I don’t think anybody has even suggested drain and refill.

As they say, read the manual (and maybe be happy you got the brake flush).


They flushed your son’s wallet. But presented you with a good opportunity to teach your son some things valuable, the lessons being (1) beware, (2) be knowledgable, (3) everything needed is in the owner’s manual maintenance schedule and everything else is unnecessary.

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