Now they want to flush my brake and power steering fluid!

Is this real. I go in for an oil change and they show me how dirty the power steering fluid and brake fluid appears next to their timely display of clean fluids. Now they want to flush both. Is this for real? D.B.

It is a good idea to get your brake fluid flushed every three years or so, but with your power steering fluid, you can get a simple siphon pump or turkey baster and do a simple drain and refill yourself and save some money. Just don’t use the turkey baster for food after that. Even if you wash it, some chemical residue will remain.

The showing of used oils, and fluids, is dirty eyewash. Brand new oil/fluid will look that way in a few days, or weeks. The appearance is nearly meaningless. You don’t have a trained eys, and they know it.
Fluid changes should be done every so often; but, let your trusted mechanic/shop do it. The present shop is just trying to generate income, at very over-priced rates.

They’re trying to generate profit. Replacing the brake fluid should be done according to the maintenance schedule that came with your car. If it’s time, then this is legit. I’ve never seen a requirement for replacing power steering fluid.

Any time a shop pushes a power steering flush I smell a rat. This is not required except when other damage has occurred. The most common failure in power steering systems is leaking hoses, not anything caused by old fluid. I would find another shop.

Which quick oil change place or national chain were you at?


This is the tactic of Jiffy Lube and its clones, and you would be well advised to AVOID them at all costs. If you do some searching on this site, you will find literally scores of posts from people whose (pick one or more): engine, transmission, differential, brake hydraulic system, cooling system…was ruined by the untrained charlatans at those quick lube places.

That being said, I do suggest that you have your brake fluid changed every 3 years/30,000 miles. If you do not know why, then post back for an explanation.
As to the power steering fluid flush–NOT necessary.

Get into the habit of taking your vehicle to a well-reputed independent mechanic’s shop for its maintenance. The cost will be no higher, the personnel will actually have expertise to do things correctly, and you will be less likely to be pressured into questionable maintenance procedures.

Sadly, this was my local Chevy dealership. The waiting room looks abandoned these days. When times are tough what people will resort to … .

Since vacuum cleaners were invented, and companies started making vacuum cleaners that cost 10 times as much as what most of us have, a trick of vacuum cleaner salesmen is to vacuum your carpet with your old vacuum cleaner, then with their expensive one. Then, they show you how much dirt the bag in the expensive machine picks up after yours was done.

Of course, if you put a new bag in your old machine after their expensive one is done, you can also get more dirt. They sell millions of dollars of over-priced vacuum cleaners to dummies by this trick.

Same exact trick. Years ago before one could dispose of used oil at places like Autozone, for disposal reasons I used to have my oil changed at one of these fast places. For a while, they had a gorgeous blond woman running it. One day she came out and told me my oil was really black and for extra money, probably about the cost of the oil change, they could flush out the black stuff.

If that had been a man, an insult to my intelligence of that magnitude might have ended with us rolling around on the floor trying to gouge out each others eyes. Oil is normally black. Unless you drive only on the highway, it is going to be black.

I assume she was getting away with it, because most men don’t want to fight a woman, no matter how big the insult. She stupidly thought men who had been driving and changing oil for decades did not know better. I suppose I was also at fault, because instead of cussing her out as part of an educational project, I just told her no and let it go.

She did get fired not too much later for that sort of nonsense and complaints from customers about it.

Changing the brake and PS fluid every 60K miles or so is cheap insurance, especially with ABS brakes…Most P.S. reservoirs have a filter screen in the bottom that’s worth cleaning too. If it gets plugged up with hose particles, it can starve the pump for fluid…

The brake fluid flush is for real and here’s why. Brake fluid absorbs water and water sitting in the metal lines will cause them to rust through and thus no brakes. I have seen it happen twice. The problem is the cost, I bet they want $100. This is something almost any mechanically inclined person can do in the driveway but ABS does make this more complicated.

With that said the brake fluid flush is a needed labor op.

I will not comment on the p/s flush since I wonder if the steering on my past and present Taurus is stiff since I never flushed it with clean fluid.