Dealer Recommends Flushing Brake Fluid?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by Susan4ET, Aug 19, 2019.

  1. Susan4ET

    Susan4ET Member

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    ~34,000 miles 2015 routine dealer service added brake fluid to reservoir. It was a little low. But stated also that the fluid needs to be replaced because of some sign or evidence of water? Can the brake fluid break down this way? Does it sound legit because I have never heard of this before on any cars (or light aircraft). Maybe it is the type of fluid used?

    Thank you.
     
  2. schmuber

    schmuber Member

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    Brake fluid is hydrophobic, but it's in an airtight container, so it should be fine. And 34K is way too soon for a brake flush… time to look for another shop.
     
  3. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Obtuse Angler

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    Toyota Canada now recommends tri-yearly or 48K kms (30K miles), whichever comes first. With our 2010 the booklet with maintenance schedule made no mention of brake fluid change. But some time since they came around to this policy, I know for 2014* they're advocating it:

    upload_2019-8-19_18-20-52.png

    It's doable by any DIY'r, or an independent garage, in about an hour. I more-or-less followed @NutzAboutBolts video (links in a thread pinned in 3rd gen maintenance forum) on the subject, ownly shuffled the order, complied with the order shown in Toyota Repair manual (see attachment). The order outlined in the Repair Manual is a verbose mess, this is what it amounts to:

    IMG_1065.JPG

    Also, in the @NutzAboutBolts video he uses vacuum. While helpful, it's not a deal-breaker if you don't have. My tool kit consisted of:

    1. 100 cc Syringe (without needle) with a hose extension, and a skinny spigot extension pushed onto the hose. Used for basting old fluid out of reservoir at the beginning. The skinny spigot was needed due to a basket inside the reservoir: it has just a thin slit running up the side, impeding getting the siphon tube down to the bottom. I think I could have also just pried that basket out, didn't try.
    2. About 2 foot of clear tubing, with a bleed bolt attachment. The latter you could probably pick up at any automotive specialty store. Not mandatory, but makes it a lot easy, the tube will not pull off.
    3. Big clear jar with lid with a hole to accept the tubing. Kirkland Mayo jar, in my case.
    4. 2 pints of Toyota DOT3 fluid, fresh, unopened. (About $15~20 tops)
    5. An assistant, to push the brake pedal.

    Watch @NutzAboutBolts video, get it down pat, and it'll take an hour or two, plus time to raise/lower car, remove/add wheels. You could technically do this without wheel removal, but it's very convenient to have whole car on safety stands and all wheels off.

    Note where the brake fluid is at the start, after you've opened the driver's door (that action tends to drop the level). Aim to end up with the fluid at the same level, with one or two ounces left over. Check it over the next few days, and if good, recycle the left over fluid with the drained: it doesn't "keep" good.

    * 2014 was one year Toyota Canada put out a good, table format schedule. I see now they say squat in the manual, refer to their website, which has event-by-event format, like the States. Which sucks...

    Addendum: 30k or 3 years might be a bit overkill, but I would consider doing it, not too much longer.
     
    #3 Mendel Leisk, Aug 19, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
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  4. jb in NE

    jb in NE Senior Member

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    The dealer is really recommending a "wallet flush". I would pass.

    Just curious - what was the cost estimate for this service?
     
    #4 jb in NE, Aug 19, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
  5. frodoz737

    frodoz737 Top Wrench

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    DOT 3 which is the brake fluid used in Prius and is good for no more than 3 years...or less if your duty cycle is severe. It is not lifetime fluid period.

    Also...you should not add brake fluid unless you have a leak or the pads are worn down to the point the need replacing...both that would indicate the fluid is at the add/low line.


    ...and I am a Mechanic.
     
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  6. edthefox5

    edthefox5 Senior Member

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    The Prius is very easy on the brake fluid because of the regen braking assist. Brakes do not get a lot of use and Pads last forever.

    I’m on the original brake fluid at 145000 miles on my bought new back in 2007 G2. I inquired once about a brake flush at my dealer where I bought the car and stumbled upon a service writer who really knew the car well.
    We discussed the many foibles of the car and he said there dealer network will not flush g2 fluid anymore as the stress it puts on the abs unit has made them fail.
    G3 does not suffer from the faulty abs units like the g2 but bottom line your car is nowhere close to needing any brake work. Your 100000 miles away from any brake work.

    So you now know that service writer tried to take advantage of you. Keep this info in mind In any dealings with these rip off artists.

    Now the one thing I do recommend is getting the trans fluid changed as the pictures of g3trans fluid changes look very bad even at low miles. Just get it changed once that will get the break in wear out and your trans will be good for the life of the car.

    Good luck.
     
    #6 edthefox5, Aug 19, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
  7. jb in NE

    jb in NE Senior Member

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    Why is this not a specified service item in the US? It is specified in other countries, but not the US. Brake fluid must deteriorate at a similar rate regardless of country, one would think.
     
  8. CR94

    CR94 Senior Member

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    That rate depends mainly on humidity, of which some places in the US have plenty.
     
  9. jb in NE

    jb in NE Senior Member

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    That seems to add to the case for a scheduled fluid change in the US, yet there is none.
     
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  10. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Obtuse Angler

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    Honda Canada's recommended tri-yearly, regardless of miles, as far back as I can remember.

    What's the dealership asking, the cost, for this? $100~150 would be reasonable.

    Yes.
     
  11. jb in NE

    jb in NE Senior Member

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    I'm curious what drives the different maintenance specifications between US and Canada. Vancouver BC and Vancouver WA are just a few miles apart, yet the maintenance specs for the same car are quite different. At the other extreme, Yellowknife NT and Miama FL are signficantly different in climate and 4,000 miles apart by road.

    Is it regulatory, legal, or what that drives the different maintenance schedules?
     
  12. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    FWIW, Nissan USA recommends two years or 20,000 miles interval for brake fluid change on a regular maintenance schedule for most, if not all, models including Nissan Leaf and other hybrids models which uses the regenerative brake. Oh, yeah, Nissan also has scheduled maintenance interval of 30K miles for CVT transmission fluid change on Pathfinder Hybrid, bur the interval is longer on any other models including regular Pathfinder (ICE) at 60K. I don't know why.
     
    #12 Salamander_King, Aug 19, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2019
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  13. Thund3rFox

    Thund3rFox Junior Member

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    My 2011 just hit 100k recently and was way overdue for a brake fluid flush. Whenever I'd brake under load the car would jitter occasionally while coming to a stop. And when the system was pressurizing (opening the driver's door/during use) it would make funny noises almost like a duck or a honk. I'm assuming this was due to the fact that water's boiling temperature is much lower than DOT3 brake fluid, and there must have been a significant amount in there. There's a device to stick into the fluid to test for contamination in the fluid, if there is, I'd personally highly recommend it. They usually do it with their "Multipoint inspections", and I originally brushed it off at around 90k, but that was obviously a poor decision on my end.

    $65 dollars for a brake flush at my local Tire Man, and they did a free rotation with it, love those guys.

    I will note that the previous 2 owners had the car on a lease and maintained it well at the dealer. I do live in California, which likely affected the amount of water in the air / available for the hygroscopic brake fluid to absorb. I assume a more humid area would likely need fluid changed more frequently (although I have no science to back this up)
     
  14. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Shouldn't that be hygroscopic or hydrophillic, not hydrophobic?

    Brake fluid - Wikipedia
    "Glycol-ether (DOT 3, 4, and 5.1) brake fluids are hygroscopic (water absorbing), which means they absorb moisture from the atmosphere under normal humidity levels. Non-hygroscopic fluids (e.g. silicone/DOT 5 and mineral oil based formulations), are hydrophobic, and can maintain an acceptable boiling point over the fluid's service life."
     
  15. schmuber

    schmuber Member

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  16. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    You still 9 hours to edit it and destroy the evidence ...
     
  17. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Obtuse Angler

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    Why am I think of Old Yeller?
     
  18. Susan4ET

    Susan4ET Member

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    Wow! I think it is time tomorrow morning to call Toyota--not my dealer just yet--Torrance. But I've a mind to have the fluid changed and discover what process the dealer follows in bleeding the brakes. One thing I'm pretty sure of is if it takes the dealer 1 hr for instance it will take me 4.:rolleyes:
     
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  19. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Obtuse Angler

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    Did they quote a price?

    Too: I would use the expression "change the brake fluid", make sure you're on the same page with them. Bleeding the brakes technically means just draining a slight amount at each wheel, just enough to clear out air.

    There are two official methods to change the brake fluid: with and without Techstream (Toyota software). Dealership will very like use Techstream, and it's relatively easy. I think. The attachment I posted, and @NutzAboutBolts video, is non Techstream method. It's not that hard either. But yeah, for $100~150, I'd not hesitate to have them do it.
     
    #19 Mendel Leisk, Aug 20, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2019
  20. Susan4ET

    Susan4ET Member

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    Yes, sorry, I used "bleeding" for the last stage of changing the fluid. I will get a price for you from the dealer tomorrow after I talk to Torrance. If this fluid change is policy I will ask them for an updated maintenance schedule or a letter recommending this.
     
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