Dealer did total brake job but no flush?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by berderder, Jun 27, 2020.

  1. berderder

    berderder Junior Member

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    Hi all,

    I have a 2014 Prius (118k miles)

    Dealer did a $1100 front and back pad and rotor job 2 months ago. Today I get a quote for a brake flush at $180. I drive about 2500 miles a month for work which is why I’m back so quickly.

    Why wouldn’t they mention the brake flush two months ago? Also the liquid in the reservoir looks healthy, and the brakes act fine. Is a brake bleed necessary to determine true health of the fluid?
     
  2. Grit

    Grit Senior Member

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    Sense you mentioned it twice, if the dealer only flushes the brake fluid, you would drive off without any brake fluid.

    Bleeding is the same as flush. If you flush the brake fluid to test its health, you exposed the fluid to air so it becomes contaminated.

    You should ask the dealership what their “full brake job” encompass of. And see if flush is part of the job.
     
    #2 Grit, Jun 28, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2020
  3. Grit

    Grit Senior Member

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    I drive about 2,100 miles a month but I’m slow to return on PC, glad you’re quick to be back here.
     
  4. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Brake fluid health is determined mostly by moisture content- the fluid tries to absorb water, and atmospheric water vapor is its most accessible water source.

    Only a little bit of air ever gets exposed to the fluid, as the reservoir level rises and falls during normal operation, so it takes a long time (not miles, time) for the water content to go high enough to cause problems.

    The bottom line is that you can use a calendar, an electronic moisture tester, or some disposable color-changing dip strips to test the moisture level of your fluid. Mechanic is using the calendar because that's all he's got access to for the moment.

    The calendar isn't super helpful with this one: while many 6 year old cars need new fluid, some don't.

    As to why they didn't tell you last time? That's a guessing game. Maybe they figured you'd sign up for an $1100 brake job but you'd be scared away by a $1300 one. Maybe they didn't have any fluid on the shelf that day. Maybe they get extra points for getting you to come in more often. Who knows?
     
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  5. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    I think what the Phoenix brake strips measure is dissolved copper, not just moisture, so they indicate when the fluid is beginning to become aggressive toward the brake components.

    It's easy to open on of the caliper bleeders (where you figure the fluid is worst, because it's dead-end trapped there and gets hot), and squirt out not much more than you can dip a strip in, and top up the reservoir by just that amount, if all you mean to do is check.

    Mine at 145,000:

    [​IMG]

    At 110,000, hobbit's:

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. El Dobro

    El Dobro A Member

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    Isn't brake fluid change listed in the maintenance chart in the owner's manual?
     
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  7. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    The idea of changing any fluid in a car is to do so BEFORE it starts to fail. Not after, so
    it will start to cause damage...
     
  8. El Dobro

    El Dobro A Member

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    I flush the brake fluid in my cars about every two years. The fluid is cheap insurance and it's easy enough to do.
     
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  9. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    Not Toyota USA, they say nothing. Toyota Canada, since maybe 2014, says tri-yearly or 48k kms (30k miles).

    I DIY ours tri-yearly, using a couple of pints of Toyota's DOT3 fluid (about $15 CDN total), using the non-Techstream method. Roughly per @NutzAboutBolts method.

    Takes about an hour, plus time to raise car and remove wheels (which I'm doing anyways, swapping to snows).

    I can post Repair Manual excerpt in a bit. Attached.

    $180 USD is a little steep, $100~120 more reasonable.
     
    #9 Mendel Leisk, Jun 28, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2020
  10. tvpierce

    tvpierce Senior Member

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    At the risk of seeming pedantic, bleeding and flushing are not the same thing. Bleeding is the process of removing just enough fluid to purge the system of air bubbles. Flushing is the process of replacing all the old fluid in the system with new. A flush is not done by removing the old fluid, then replacing it with new. (which would then require bleeding) It's done by using the new fluid to force the old fluid out.
     
  11. borgestes

    borgestes Member

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    After rereading my post it just looks ugly and that is not productive. No brake job should cost 1100 I don't care what it includes. But that's just me cause I just buy pads and rotors or turn them. Don't go to the dealer unless you want to be overcharged every time.
     
    #11 borgestes, Jun 30, 2020
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2020
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  12. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    Is it the SAME dealer now telling you that you need a fluid change ??
    If so, they are incompetent.......or dishonest.
    It is usually "understood" that a complete brake job INCLUDES new fluid, regardless of
    what you call the process used to change it.
     
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  13. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    In my experience over the years, a brake job and brake fluid change were two different items. A four corner brake job came in at 350~450, depending on whether or not new pads/shims were required (yes, you are supposed to do a brake inspection periodically, not just when the pads are totally shot). A brake fluid change was around 100~125. This is back at least a couple of decades; I didn't consider either charge outrageous, and I felt they did a competent and conscientious job. Mostly...
     
  14. The Critic

    The Critic Resident Critic

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    Two hours labor (book time) plus OEM parts is easily $500-$800/axle.
     
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  15. berderder

    berderder Junior Member

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    Interesting, can anyone confirm below? Whether separate or included in same service

     
  16. berderder

    berderder Junior Member

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    I'm a dummy. I actually agreed to them replacing the timing chain tensioner as well. This is how bad I am. I have to start understanding what's going on and learn how to do some of these things.

    SO. The brake job was probably more like $850 and the remainder of the 1100 I guess was the timing chain tensioner.
     
  17. berderder

    berderder Junior Member

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  18. sam spade 2

    sam spade 2 Senior Member

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    You can't really tell much about most automotive fluids just by LOOKING at them.
    And you can't tell ANYTHING about them by looking through the sides of a plastic container like that.
     
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  19. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    EVERYBODY was a dummy at first, so don't feed bad.
    So then you learn and are not longer "dumb" to what to do.
    How many miles on your Prius? Did you see the old pads? You may not have needed it.
    But without seeing it in person, no one can really tell you for certain.

    If you go by the Toyota schedule, it will tell you when things need to be done.
    If you read as many posts as you can on Prius Chat, you can learn what things usually are important,
    and which are so important. And many things you can probably do yourself. Depending on your
    physical condition.

    A brake job doesn't normally call for a brake fluid flush. It will depend on what they told you they would do.
    And if they do a flush, try to be in a spot to make sure they actually do a flush, and not just a reservoir drain and fill.
    They should be taking the wheels off, or at least be under the car so they can open the bleeder valves.
    Maybe 1 hour labor? 1.5 at most?
    Normally this is done every 2-3 years.

     
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  20. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    Watch @NutzAboutBolts video on brake fluid, linked in thread at top of maintenance forum: he more or less follows the non-techstream method, except in different order.
     
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