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Forever coolant and forever brake fluid

My VW with the 1.8t engine is the first car that does not require periodic coolant changes. It does require brake fluid changes every 2 years. My mother’s Camry requires coolant changes every 2 years and no brake fluid changes. Can I put the VW type of coolant in the Camry and the Toyota type of brake fluid in the VW and be done with it?

I should have said “the first car I have owned that does not require…”

If these cars are out of warranty, you can do whatever you want to. I am not a fan of “forever” anything, so I won’t be going down that path. My experience with “forever” Dexron III ATF in a Mazda MPV sealed that door tightly for me.

If you completely flush the Camry, it can run the VW coolant. Again, I don’t recommend the “forever” aspect of that decision, but it can be done. Today’s VW coolant is G12 and an enhanced G12+ (not the real name or spec). Use it if you wish.

Brake fluid – same way. Most of the mechanics on this site recommend flush brake fluid contaminants out (I don’t see how forever brake fluid eliminates the potential contaminants), to avoid expensive ABS or brake line problems.

Frankly, the risk of expensive repairs to do a “forever” regimen outweighs the possibility the fluids breaking down and not doing their job.

Agree; most of the new fluids are much longer lived, but I firmly believe in changing them out at a predetermined mileage. It’s cheap insurance against expensive repairs. Regardless of what the manual says, I would change coolant at 60,000 miles, brake fluid when doing a major brake job, and transmission fluid and filter evry 60,000 miles of normal driving.

Forever in the eyes of the manufacturer is somewhere past warranty period since they don’t pay to replace ABS controllers, brake lines etc. Same is true on radiators, water pumps and failed engines due to cooling system issues.

Camry for example decided in their 2000’s to extend oil changes to 7500 miles. Guess what they sludged up.

Camry for example decided in their 2000’s to extend oil changes
to 7500 miles. Guess what they sludged up.

The Toyota engine sludge problem was due to a design change in the cooling passages in their heads - which caused the oil running through the adjacent oil passages to get overheated (and sludge).

Which engines had this problem?

Which engines had this problem?

Roughly it was the Toyota 3.0 V6 engines from 1998->2002. To get the exact years and engines, just do a Google search for “Toyota engine oil sludge”. You’ll get lots and lots of info on it.

I use the newer “long life” coolants and thing they are pretty good. I accidently went 7 years between coolant changes with this type of coolant on one vehicle and the 7 year old coolant didn’t even look bad. It generally clouds up as the anti corrosion part gets used up and this didn’t. But I’m not sure I’d be comfortable with “forever”.

As for brake fluid. Your VW probably has anti-lock brakes and your mothers Camry probably doesn’t. Periodic changes are generally recommended for vehicles with anti-lock brakes. Cars without anti-lock brakes need the fluid changed also, just not a frequently. Its not that the fluid lasts longer without anti-lock brakes, its just that anti-lock brakes are more sensitive to contaminants and moisture build up.

Most shops include a brake system flush as part of a brake job, and that is usually frequent enough for cars w/o anti-lock brakes, so it doesn’t become part of the maintenance schedule.

For your VW you will only want to use G12 or newer G12+, or go waterless (no corrosion) and pressure-less with Evans NPG+. Its not worth the risk to experiment with anything else, the days of universal coolant are over.

Never mix anything else with G12/G12+, it can make coolant balls of gunk in your coolant system. I have seen this first hand when someone added Prestone ethylene glycol coolant to the VW organic coolant. Bad idea.

I believe the lack of fluid change intervals in this situation is an oversight by both companies. I think you should change the coolant in the VW every two years and you should change the brake fluid in the Camry every two years. Doing it the other way around is asking for trouble.

However they found majority of owners who used 5000 mile oil changes or less did not have the issue. And on existing engines reverted to 5k oil changes. “Design flaw” or not they did not perform the proper research and analysis on the engine design before (marketing) printing the spec out.

It appears field testing turned out to be warranty claims which finally got paid out after a class action judgment.

Newer Toyota’s recommend 5k oil changes.

My experience is contrary to yours regarding “inclusive” brake fluid flushes.Every place I ever worked from Dealer to Indy to Chain treated them as a extra (good money generator)I have seen a somewhat inclusive nature when a prepaid maintiance plan is involved.

I meant that almost any shop that does brakes will highly recommend a brake flush at that time, and most people will opt for it. You are right in that it is not included in the price for a basic pad change.

It is not an oversight, but a deliberate omission. The G12 coolant in the VW is an extremely long life coolant, but only good for 7-8 years, and only tested to 125,000 miles. And there have been lots of discussion of the so-called ‘sealed for life’ transmissions. ZF provides the units, and wants an interval change of 40K-60K miles. VW claims they are sealed for life. Of course, they only warranty to 50k. Laughable. Some believe VW marketing gurus wanted to show the cars need very little maintenance over it’s life. If you don’t do the mainenance, the jokes on you.

One of the chains here in AZ gave us these strips of paper,you put a drop of brake fluid on it and it turned color,people bought the flush almost every time,marketing stratagey at work.

If you have ever taken apart the working brake cylinders, of an older car, as part of your maintenance program you would see dirty fluid, rusty surfaces and rust particles, gunk, and maybe free water at the bottom of the cylinder. The problem is usually water vapor absorption from the air over time with temperature changes and high humidity. The working cylinders are plain steel and will rust internally unless the fluid is replaced periodically by bleeding at all the wheels using new dry fluid or use a fluid that is much more resistant to water absorption like a DOT 4 fluid or a DOT 5 fluid.

DOT 4 is mixable with DOT 3 fluids but DOT 5 (silicon oil, about eight times more expensive than DOT 4) requires completely flushing out the brake system of DOT 3 residues (and an investigation of the suitability of DOT 5 with your anti-lock system – diaphrams, O-rings, etc.). Note that motorcycle brake systems typically use DOT 5 because of their small volumes (less cost to maintain with an expensive fluid), more exposure to water sprays, and more critical to be in peak working condition (with or without disc brakes and anti-lock systems) with fewer wheels and lack of dual systems.

Considering the cost of a major brake system overhaul usind a more expensive fluid is “small change” compared to the overall cost of the job. If you use use a more expensive fluid that resists absorbing water, the internal steel surfaces will stay rust-free and working smoothly reliably much longer, which, of course, is only important if you plan to keep a vehicle for a long time (you would be in the minority or lacking the funds to turn-over your vehicles every two to three years).

Although the OEMs don’t admit it, there are many people who believe that Dexcool will turn acidic after a few years and start to eat things like engine gaskets (i.e. the intake manifold gasket issues on many GM vehicles).

Even Dexcool should be changed out periodically, even if that period is longer than with ethylene glycol.

Dot 5 does not mean its silicone. That is one type of Dot 5, there are DOT 5 fluids that are compatible with Dot 3 & 4. They are sometimes listed as DOT 5.1.

DO NOT use a silicone brake fluid in a street car. They are often not compatible with the type of rubber used in production vehicles. Silicone brake fluid is used when the fluid is changed very frequently as it does not absorb water. Water will still get into the brake fluid but will bead up and cause far worse rust than you would get with DOT 3 or 4 fluids.

The big difference in the levels 3, 4 or 5 is their boiling temperature. Most are around 284? but some go as high as 600?. A good synthetic DOT 4 will work about as good as anything for normal street use, but it should still be flushed every two years with ABS or with every brake job for non ABS.

I don’t know what an OEM is as used in the context of your post, but I’m pretty sure I’m not one. I have gone 5+ years on dexcool and didn’t have any problems with it. I believe the problem with the intake manifold gaskets has to do with the gasket and not the dexcool.

I do prefer the new HOAT coolants to the Dexcool though. BTW Dexcool is ethylene glycol as are the HOAT types. Its the corrosion inhibitors that are different.