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Brake & Power Steering Flush?


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I bought my 2005 ES330 in May 2008. I LOVE THAT CAR!!!

It is in for service today (scheduled 5K maintenance) -- sitting at 45K miles.

The maintenance rep called and recommended a Brake and Power Steering FLUSH. Said it should get done every 10-15K miles. That doesn't sound right to me. If it needed to get done that often -- wouldn't it be in the regular maintenance schedule plan? Also read on another forum that you should leave it alone unless you are having problems -- that doing it too often isn't good. BUT -- not sure.

I want this car to last a long time -- it's a GREAT CAR. I'll get whatever needs to be done WHENEVER it needs to be done, but don't want to be stupid. The cost was just under $400 for both flushes. Just doesn't make sense.

My Mom and Dad have a 2005 Avalon. He's never replaced his in 100K miles. His car is humming like it's brand new. He has kept up with regular 5K maintenance religiously.

Any advice? Thanks!

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you can go tell the service rep to take a hike. i can't see why it takes $400 for flushing brakes and steering. here is what i do. i don't see why you need to flush the brake system unless your brake fluid is getting a lot of water in it.

go buy yourself a big syringe (60cc) or a big thanksgiving baster. i guess you need to buy two, 1 for brake and 1 for steering. just use the syringe or baster to suck out the old fluid and top off w/new fluid. drive for a day or two and repeat this process again. you probably need to repeat this process a few times, so it might take 10-15 days to complete. every time you suck out the old fluid and replace w/new fluid, you are essentially diluting the old stuff out. after repeating a few times, you can see the color of the fluid is looking almost like the new stuff. this wouldn't cost you more than $25. it shouldn't take more than 15 minutes to do time every time

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ES330Sarah,

Every car I have ever owned has had a brake fluid flush and refill recommendation in the scheduled maintenance portion of the owner's manual. The most common frequency is every 3 or 4 years.

Brake fluid absorbs water from the air and the water eventually will start to corrode the steel brake lines, the master cylinder and the calipers from the inside. Brake fluid is normally clear and colourless, but will start to darken and take on a rusty to black colour when contaminated enough. The worst part of water in the braking system is the rusting of the calipers that takes place because the water seeks the lowest part of each caliper and starts the rusting sequence there. Severe corrosion can seize the calipers entirely, resulting in a tow and major brake repairs. One day you put on the brakes, and one or more wheels will just not release.

The only way to rid the system of the water and bad fluid is to do a complete flush of the entire system, and that can only be done at each wheel, one at a time. The master cylinder is first vacuumed free of the old fluid and refilled with fresh brake fluid. Then, with the car on a hoist and all wheels removed, one bleeding screw is opened, and the old fluid is drained out until new fluid is seen at the bleed screw. The screw is tightened and the procedure moves to the next wheel and so on. Usually the wheel farthest from the master cylinder is done first, then the next farthest, and so on. I've not explained the entire procedure to be done, as there are several steps to doing the procedure. Some cars with ABS ( my 90 Nissan 300ZX for one) has a separate procedure for bleeding the ABS pump, some allow the ABS pump to be bled just by bleeding at the wheels. Certain Chrysler cars (and there may be others) require a special computer hookup to be made to the ABS computer just to be able to bleed any of the wheels.

Regardless, flushing the brake system is a must on any car once every 3 or 4 years, unless your car is using a silicone brake fluid, which brings up a whole new matter. As for flushing the power steering system .... I've never heard of it being necessary. Topping up the fluid if its down, yes. I suppose if you were to keep the car for 40 years, flushing the power steering every 20 years would be a good idea. Your service tech hasn't got your best interests at heart, as much as he does his own. He bears watching .... very closely! Good Luck with your new ride! My wife loves hers.

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gbhrps and homemechanic -- THANK YOU SO MUCH for the posts.

This is a LEXUS Dealer. Really really frustrated by this. Burn me once -- they will not have the chance to burn me twice.

I'm going to call the Service Manager on Monday AM and tell him what the rep recommended and ask him why. I am REALLY hopeful I will receive a reply such as, "THE TECH SAID WHAT!??!?!" If not -- tack another 5 minutes onto my drive, and I can be at another Lexus Dealership.

THANK YOU AGAIN!!!

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Lexus gets allocated a minimum of one hour for each fluid flush. At $120 per hour, there is $240 right there in time alone for two fluid flushes that will actually take less than an hour.

Luckily, this procedure can be done by any qualified ACE shop and most likely for alot less. A third option would be to have it done at a Toyota dealership where at least the hourly rate will be less.

I traditionally have those fluid flushed and replaced every 30k miles.

steviej

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I am not sure whether it was on this site or Club Lexus, but s few weeks ago there was a thread regarding the official Lexus brake fluid flush, and the consensus was that Lexus did not flush the brake system as described above, all they did was suck the fluid out of the resivoir, and refill it with fresh, this you can do yourself with a turkey baster...and a $2.00 can of brake fluid from Wally world. I think that it appears that the only thing that the Lexus Service departments are good for is fleecing their customers. I sound like I am bitter, but having read many many many threads regarding the shoddy way that the Lexus maintenence organization treats their customers is almost criminal. I will shut up and step down off my soapbox for now.... but unless you have oooodles of $$$$$ to waste find yourself a competent mechanic and make him your freind. Also invest in a Factory Service Manual, even if you don't use it let your mechanic use it to service your car. So if its not related to warranty or recalls leave the boys at the sign of the big L alone, your wallet will thank you.

Capn

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I am not sure whether it was on this site or Club Lexus, but s few weeks ago there was a thread regarding the official Lexus brake fluid flush, and the consensus was that Lexus did not flush the brake system as described above, all they did was suck the fluid out of the resivoir, and refill it with fresh, this you can do yourself with a turkey baster...and a $2.00 can of brake fluid from Wally world. I think that it appears that the only thing that the Lexus Service departments are good for is fleecing their customers. I sound like I am bitter, but having read many many many threads regarding the shoddy way that the Lexus maintenence organization treats their customers is almost criminal. I will shut up and step down off my soapbox for now.... but unless you have oooodles of $$$$$ to waste find yourself a competent mechanic and make him your freind. Also invest in a Factory Service Manual, even if you don't use it let your mechanic use it to service your car. So if its not related to warranty or recalls leave the boys at the sign of the big L alone, your wallet will thank you.

Capn

I beg to differ (at least in my case). I specifically requested a power flush on my brake fluid service at 30k miles. I saw them put the big funnel thing on top of the resevoir and full it with new fluid. I watched them open the bleeders and let if flow through. I can't say what other placed do, but from what I saw, I have to trust my dealership.

steviej

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isn't new fluid added when you do brake job?

added?: not necessarily so. Depends on what the fluid level is after the the calipers have been expanded to accomodate the new pads. If the system was not opened to air (meaning the calipers were not removed or the brake line was not detached) then there may not be a need for a flush or fluid addition.

You would like to think new fluid is addded with a new brake job, but it doesn't always happen.

steviej

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