I have a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe 3.5L AWD with about 124,000 miles on it. It
has disk brakes -- all 4 wheels (front and back).
Yesterday, I had new rear brake pads and new rear rotors installed at Pep
Boys. They said that they "recommend" that I also do a brake fluid change
at the same time, for something like $69.95. I opted not to have them do
My question is..., Is there any real reason or need to do a brake fluid
change, or is that just a little add-on "fluff" that shops sometimes suggest
as an extra money maker?
P.S. Yes, I did have this done at Pep Boys, and I have a lot of routine
work done at Pep Boys. I know that some people say they would never take
their car to a place like Pep Boys, but I go there often and I am always
satisfied with their work and their prices. They do usually find some kind
of add-on that they "recommend", but unless I see a really good reason to do
the add-on, I just tell them I am going to pass on that.
Well brake-fluid degrades and startboiling with lower temperatures when old.
So you might if unlucky experience the no-brake.
A lot of service stations of any kind change the brake-fluid when they change
brakeparts. At least they should make a reading of the boilingpoint.
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If it were my vehicle, I would have the brake fluid changed, asap, now,
immediately, all 4 wheels.
I have the fluid changed every time the pads or rotors are changed
however I do all brake work myself and save the $$$.
Brake fluid absorbs moisture from the atmosphere causing internal rust.
Brake fluid goes bad from heat degradation.
Brake cylinders are settling points for rust and grime.
Interesting. I had never had any auto service place (including Pep Boys)
ever suggest a "brake fluid change" when I had the pads or rotors changed on
any vehicle, including this one. Pep Boys did the front brake pads on this
vehicle about a year ago. And, they did the rear brake pads a long time
ago, so they didn't charge me for the new brake pads themselves (the parts)
on this job because the old pads had a lifetime warranty. Nevertheless,
this is the first time that I ever heard any mention or suggestion of having
the brake fluid changed on this vehicle until yesterday.
But, based on what you wrote, it looks like I should have had them do that
when they suggested it.
Another question -- you mentioned having the brake fluid changed, "all 4
wheels". Wouldn't a "brake fluid change" automatically mean "all 4 wheels",
that is, ALL of the brake fluid in the entire system?
It should mean a flush through the bleed ports at all 4 wheels, but it
doesn't hurt to confirm that they aren't just sucking the fluid out of
the master cylinder and refilling. I am sure they are unscrupulous
places that do that.
Brake fluid absolutely should be changed. My Chevy's now recommend
every 4 years and that is probably a pretty good number.
My BMW motorcycle with ABS recommends changes in the wheel circuits
every year the the control circuits every other year. And the fluid is
pretty dark after a couple of years as it oxidizes and absorbs water.
After 11 years and 124K, you are way overdue.
I hadn't yet posted because you've hit on the main important point, that brake fluid absorbs water and that will degrade the fluid over time.
That being said, I've never changed my brake fluid, and I've had zero problems which could be conclusively attributed to lack of changing the fluid. A couple (wheel cylinder leaks) could potentially have been accelerated by not changing the fluid.
Hyundai has no recommendation for brake fluid replacement. It's not in the maintenance chart at all unless it's been added in the last couple years while I wasn't looking.
I don't recall many auto manufacturers recommending brake fluid
replacement until fairly recently. My 2015 Chevy Silverado has a 3
year/45,000 mimle recommendation now, but by 1994 Chevy Silverado had no
such recommendation nor did my 1986 Jeep Comanche whose hydraulic clutch
stopped working after the fluid turned to gel after 18 years. :-)
BMW has long recommended frequent changes of fluid for its ABS equipped
motorcycles and it pioneered motorcycle ABS. I expect the car makers
are just catching on to the damage to ABS systems that old and moisture
laden fluid can cause.
Given the cost of ABS systems and the relative cost of brake fluid, a
change every 3-5 years is a no-brainer for me.
So what does the word: "Inspect", means to you ???
Just look at it, and do nothing ???
For me, it means: check the fluid, fill if low, and/or replace if in bad
Bad condition it's easy to spot, it gets darker, dirty and thicker. Time
to change it.
For me it's around 3 years, but probably can get away doing it every 5
years, since I keep my cars for 10-14 years, no reason to wait that long.
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