Brake Fluid and Battery replacement

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I took my 6 cyl '07 Accord with just over 30k miles into the local dealer yesterday for a required A1 maintenance visit (oil, filter and rotate tires).
After half hour, the service weasel comes and sits next to me in the waiting room with a sheath of papers in hand. He spoke in a tone of voice that reminded me of a doctor telling a patient he had a dread disease and only 3 months to live.
He said my brake fluid was showing a slight greenish tinge-- it should be clear. He said the owner's manual called for replacement after 3 years and as I was a year past that, I'd better change it. He also told me my battery (51 months old) was reading "bad" and needed to be replaced as well.
I've generally been treated well and fairly by that dealer service department and might have had the service done but I was tight on time and told the guy I'd bring the car back later in the week.
Well, I've looked in the owner's manual and it specifically says the brake fluid should be changed when called for by the Mileage Minder-- nothing about a timed interval. I also checked the battery sight-eye (it was green) and used one of those specific gravity testers and all 6 cells showed 4 balls floating (100% charge).
So---- was I getting hustled or what? I always do all needed maintenance-- but I'm thinking those two services were for their benefit, not mine.
Opinions?
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You were getting the old scare tactic sales routine. Come in for a special and free safety inspection and then watch out. Also, needed services don't always happen at the same time--cooling system, brake fluid, timing belt, air cleaner etc may all get done at varies times but when you look at the recommended mileage intervals between each of these services you may find that nothing need be done at the 30K or 60K trigger points. Remember Reagan--Trust but verify. MLD
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Well, he smells like he just came from managing a Jiffy Lube and is used to doing this smarmy kind of thing--
--but it's true, Honda's story for years has been that brake fluid is time-dependent and the interval is three years.
I do it every three years, like clockwork.

You have a tool at your disposal that is unavailable to us men: you can play dumb and sweet, and get out of there very quickly.
Did he show you any stats on that battery?
Time to take it somewhere else to check out the charging system if you're worried, but frankly I wouldn't be worried. Let the battery die, or wait until winter, or whatever. But a battery is a simple thing.
Batteries Plus will check your system for you, AND will put a new battery in if need be.
But if you're worried get a second opinion, regardless.

You were getting hustled on the battery, that's for sure--and since the owner's manual is specific about "wait until the MM say so," you should pursue this issue with disinterested third parties to try to find out what's really going on. Honda in years past was very firm on the three year rule for brake fluid. Suddenly it's MM driven? And you've gone over four years???
There's a story here somewhere.
My concern is that Honda is abusing the MM as a marketing tool, to make maintenance costs seem lower. Suddenly the physical properties of brake fluid changed significantly enough that Honda can tell by your DRIVING STYLE (as reported by the computer) whether the fluid should be OK or not????
I am not convinced.
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On 06/28/2011 03:00 PM, Elmo P. Shagnasty wrote:

i haven't checked, but i'd be surprised if the brake fluid is anything other than time dependent [because of its hygroscopy] - the maintenance minder doesn't log that afaik.
as for the battery, what worries me about this story is them saying they've done a hydrometer test. this is a sealed battery - to get a hydrometer in there requires breaking the seals [and thus the honda 120 month pro-rated warranty]. in addition, a lot of modern electrolytes are gels, not liquids, so no hydrometer testing there!
bottom line, i think this is a troll - someone who knows how to use a hydrometer on a gel electrolyte, and how to open a sealed battery without damage doesn't need to ask on usenet about whether their test results are ok or not. this "chick afraid she's being taken for a ride" simply doesn't add up.
--
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Many "sealed" or "maintenance-free" auto batteries actually have caps that can be removed to access individual cells. the caps usually plug 3 cells each. They are not advertised as removable. As far as breaking the seals and voiding the warranty,if it's a Honda tech doing it,it is not voiding the warranty. I also didn't see where the OP said the service person did an electrolyte test. They could have done a battery load test,that doesn't involve breaking any seals. Besides,a hydrometer test only shows the state of charge of a cell,not whether it is losing capacity from sulfation or other types of battery degradation.
I don't believe gelled electrolyte cells are used for automotive applications.
also,automotive battery life depends on conditions that very in different areas of the country. Hot climates mean shorter battery life,and high vibration environments also shorten battery life. Like driving a lot on rough roads.It shakes the paste from the lead grids,and it falls to the bottom of the cell,and eventually rises high enough to short out the cell.

--
Jim Yanik
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On 6/28/11 6:47 PM, jim beam wrote:

No, not a troll, not a sealed battery, and I didn't say the dealer did a hydrometer test-- I did it. Please reread the OP.
Just looking for a little info and opinion on a NG that seems to have mostly pretty knowledgeable posters-- a little paranoia and gynophobia aside ;-)
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On 06/28/2011 04:47 PM, Savannah Sue wrote:

re-read /my/ post "sue" - my pronouns are correct.

if you've done what you say you have. you know more about the battery than the dealer does, thus the only reason to come here looking for "sympathy" is because you're a troll. as confirmed by your unwarranted "gynophobia" accusation.
buh-bye!
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<big snip>

Sorry, your smiley comes across as false. You'd better grow a thicker skin if you want to post on Usenet. Plus, I see nothing in the previous replies that even remotely qualifies as "gynophobia". <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/gynophobia
As for your brake fluid: If the Owner's Manual says to change it according to the Maintenance Minder readout, then that's the final word. It's never a bad idea to change the fluid MORE often, but it's not absolutely essential provided you follow the Owner's Manual exactly. But if I were following the Maintenance Minder instead of doing it every year as I do, I'd be using genuine Honda brake fluid. It tends to be of much higher-quality than aftermarket formulations.
As for the battery: At 51 months, the battery may be near the end of its life or it may be still springtime-fresh. Depends very much on how it's been cared for, and how hot the weather gets in your area. The definitive tests are these: 1) check the battery with a multimeter according to proper procedures, and 2) listen to the engine's starting- behavior.
Post here if you want to know how to properly check the battery's charge-level.
--
Tegger

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Regardless, the MM is programmed to assume the Honda brake fluid that was put in at the factory. So Tegger is right--mess with that at your own risk.
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On 6/28/2011 10:12 PM, Elmo P. Shagnasty wrote:

I have an 07 Accord V6 and I have the owner's manual that came with it. I would direct the OP to page 199, about midway down the first column:
NOTE Independent of the maintenance minder display, replace the brake fluid every three years.
On that page it also states as part of "B" service:
Inspect ... All fluid levels and /condition/ of fluids.
If the OP wants to properly maintain the vehicle she will get the brake fluid changed for two reasons, the tech's evaluation of it's condition, and the passage of more than 3 years.
The battery is up to you, the tech tested it and recommends replacing it. You don't have to, you can wait until it fails to start, maybe a week, maybe a year. Mine tested 'replace', and I did. 80 bucks for a 100 month Honda battery gives me reasonable assurance that I'll get another 4 years without being stranded someplace with a dead battery.
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On 06/28/2011 09:16 PM, Al wrote:

good post.

if you look at something authoritative like the bosch automotive handbook, you'll see it's got a chart of moisture absorption vs. time for brake fluid. the vast majority of the action takes place in the first two years - thus a two year change regime would be more effective than a three.

indeed. it's also worth saying that honda batteries are very good quality - they last much longer than their cheaper brethren.
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wrote:

80 USD for a Honda battery is not that much more expensive than other batteries,maybe $10. L-A auto batteries have risen in price in the last couple of years.
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On 6/29/2011 9:54 AM, Jim Yanik wrote:

For $80, my local Honda dealer would have gotten the nod to replace the 6 year old OEM battery in our 2005 Odyssey Touring. We had it in for oil change and service and the Service Advisor told us the battery was at "end of life" and very weak. They could put in a new battery for, IIRC, around $135.
Over the years I have replaced enough batteries that I wasn't about to pay them $55-$60 over what it would cost me to pick up a top of the line battery with a 72 month, non-prorated warranty.
I took a pass and the battery crapped out about ten days later. Grabbed a set of wrenches and headed over to the battery store and replaced it for $70 in about ten minutes.
As my time bills out for $120-$130 an hour in my profession, I figure that the $330 - $360 I was paying myself to do the dirty work was worth it.
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Honda Canada sells re-badged Interstates. I'll bet American Honda does the same.
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On 06/29/2011 07:14 PM, Tegger wrote:

never seen one of the honda status indicators on an interstate, so it's got to be more than a simple sticker job.
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Maybe. Up here the Honda-branded Interstates are packaged with black cases rather then the usual translucent ones. The ones I saw had no status indicator, unless I missed seeing them.
As I hinted, there's a possibility American Honda uses a different supplier.
--
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On 06/29/2011 07:35 PM, Tegger wrote:

who knows. i'm not sure it matters if honda's specs are met. different brands are probably still made by johnson controls but with different specs, just like when honda oil filters and that garbage otherwise known as "fram" come off the same production line with strongly different quality levels..
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well,the same thing happpens with Chinese and Taiwanese machine tools. Different companies have different quality specs.(and different parts support.)
One would think there'd be some sort of markings somewhere on a car battery that tells who made it,if not an aftermarket battery.
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On 06/30/2011 07:45 AM, Jim Yanik wrote:

there might well be, but you need a decent sample size to decode it. i used to know all the glass container manufacturer symbols years ago, but the chinese don't seem to feel the need to follow convention and threw a wrench in all that.
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The Battery FAQ on the internet makes an attempt to relate "brand names" to actual manufacturers. Seems like an impossible task with so many Chinese companies trying to get into the market (either through legitimate means or by selling counterfit items). See http://jgdarden.com/batteryfaq/batbrand.htm - interesting if not completely accurate.
Ed
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