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Replacing Brake Fluid


yotoy82
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My 96 LS400 according to the history of service papers I have, shows the brake fluid has been changed every few years since new.

I noticed now the fluid hasn't been changed in a few years and is quite black. Everywhere I read on the internet, it says its good to change brake fluid ie bleed it out and replace with new.

But my toyota dealer says "he is against replacing brake fluid" just as a maintainence procedure, says he only changes it when changing brake components.

I'm changing all fluids, ie transmission, differential. Don't wanna skip out on brake fluid because I like that honey color. Power steering fluid is fresh and so is coolant.

Should I change the brake fluid no matter what

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A Toyota dealer who doesn't think maintenance schedules should be followed? :chairshot: Run, run as fast as you can to get away from him! Take your car somewhere else. Follow the maintenance schedule for your car. Doesn't your maintenance manual say to change your brake fluid every 30,000 miles or 24 months? That is the interval for my 2000 LS400 and it was the same for the 1990 LS400 I owned for many years.

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It sounds like your Toyota dealer is looking to talk you into extra,probably unnecessary work on the braking system other than just replacing the fluid.

If you are OK with DIY the procedure is pretty straightforward.

http://www.lexls.com/tutorials/brake/bleeding.html

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It sounds like your Toyota dealer is looking to talk you into extra,probably unnecessary work on the braking system other than just replacing the fluid.

If you are OK with DIY the procedure is pretty straightforward.

http://www.lexls.com/tutorials/brake/bleeding.html

Thanks a lot, will go for it myself, save some money

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  • 9 months later...

I know this is an old thread, but I need to change the brake fluid (saw today that the color is dark), and, per the usual, have questions about how best to do this. I found the lexls.com tutorial, which is great. It does look straightforward.

Then I saw some other (non-Lexus) threads that talked about how if you have anti-lock brakes, flushing brake fluid is more difficult. The gist of these other threads was that with anti-lock brakes, you can't just open up the bleeder valves and let it run. There was mention of the anti-lock solenoids needing to be pulsed so that the fluid purges (someone said). The master cylinder needed to be in a certain position...someone else said that you need a special tool to 'home'?? the ABS cylinders?

I realize none of the above para may apply, but thought it best to run it by here. I do have anti-lock brakes (1994 LS400 97K miles), which is why I ask. Thanks.

A Toyota dealer who doesn't think maintenance schedules should be followed? :chairshot: Run, run as fast as you can to get away from him! Take your car somewhere else. Follow the maintenance schedule for your car. Doesn't your maintenance manual say to change your brake fluid every 30,000 miles or 24 months? That is the interval for my 2000 LS400 and it was the same for the 1990 LS400 I owned for many years.

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There are additional bleed nipples on both the ABS unit and (if fitted) the traction Control Unit but I would just do a 4 wheel bleed as described in the tutorial.

Providing you keep bleeding until the fluid from the brake calipers is nice and fresh in color and don't forget to keep topping up the master cylinder as you go the majority of the brake fluid will be replaced that way.

The same goes for the transmission fluid it is almost impossible to change all of the old fluid for new so the best is around a 90% replacement with new.

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The brake system is SEALED and can withstand pressures as high as 5,000 PSI, maybe more. I do not bother with brake fluid, engine coolant, nor diff' lub "renewal" of any kind type useless something requires opening the system. 300,000 miles on our '95 LS400, 90,000 on our '01 "AWD" RX300.

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The brake system is SEALED and can withstand pressures as high as 5,000 PSI, maybe more. I do not bother with brake fluid, engine coolant, nor diff' lub "renewal" of any kind type useless something requires opening the system. 300,000 miles on our '95 LS400, 90,000 on our '01 "AWD" RX300.

You're just full of good advice today, aren't you?

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The brake system is SEALED and can withstand pressures as high as 5,000 PSI, maybe more. I do not bother with brake fluid, engine coolant, nor diff' lub "renewal" of any kind type useless something requires opening the system. 300,000 miles on our '95 LS400, 90,000 on our '01 "AWD" RX300.

I'm pretty sure the engine and transmission are also "sealed", but they still degrade! And Brake Fluid.. well its like honey in color when its new/fresh but after a few years it becomes black, so something is going on. I don't know why, the maintenance schedule says to change it every so often, but many dealers are saying "its a sealed system, we never change it unless major brake work done".

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Great. That's the info I was looking for. I'll go with the tutorial then.

There are additional bleed nipples on both the ABS unit and (if fitted) the traction Control Unit but I would just do a 4 wheel bleed as described in the tutorial.

Providing you keep bleeding until the fluid from the brake calipers is nice and fresh in color and don't forget to keep topping up the master cylinder as you go the majority of the brake fluid will be replaced that way.

The same goes for the transmission fluid it is almost impossible to change all of the old fluid for new so the best is around a 90% replacement with new.

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The brake fluid is filthy, besides which, the manual says to change it every few years (I need to look up the exact recommended timeline). I'm closing in on three years since it was last changed, so it's time.

I didn't learn what a socket wrench was until just a few days ago, but even I (a complete novice) know that dirty fluids cannot possibly be good for a car. As to coolant, what I have read is that regular coolant is 'good for' approximately three years before the anti-freeze component starts breaking down, and Toyota's long-lasting coolant will last about five years. Aluminum doesn't rust, but it corrodes badly if the coolant is degraded.

The brake system is SEALED and can withstand pressures as high as 5,000 PSI, maybe more. I do not bother with brake fluid, engine coolant, nor diff' lub "renewal" of any kind type useless something requires opening the system. 300,000 miles on our '95 LS400, 90,000 on our '01 "AWD" RX300.

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The brake fluid is filthy, besides which, the manual says to change it every few years (I need to look up the exact recommended timeline). I'm closing in on three years since it was last changed, so it's time.

I didn't learn what a socket wrench was until just a few days ago, but even I (a complete novice) know that dirty fluids cannot possibly be good for a car. As to coolant, what I have read is that regular coolant is 'good for' approximately three years before the anti-freeze component starts breaking down, and Toyota's long-lasting coolant will last about five years. Aluminum doesn't rust, but it corrodes badly if the coolant is degraded.

If you check the maintenance schedule for your 95 LS400, you will find that the recommended change interval for both the brake fluid and coolant is 24 months or 30,000 miles. Regardless of the recommendations from shade tree mechanics (me included) and urban legends, maintaining a Lexus or any other brand car according to the manufacturers' maintenance schedule is, in the end, inexpensive and cost effective. I'm 2,900 miles from the 150,000 mile service. Still again, everything is going to be done by the book - including replacing the coolant and brake fluid - plus a couple of extras like changing the transmission and differential fluid.

An added benefit I've found is it makes it very easy to sell a used car. Nothing impresses propective owners like showing records and/or receipts for every single maintenance and repair.

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Thanks for clarifying...two years, hmmm. Well, better late than never (brake fluid). I am going to calendar all this routine maintenance and flag with reminders so I don't miss anything else. My preference is to maintain the car according to manufacturer instructions.

The brake fluid is filthy, besides which, the manual says to change it every few years (I need to look up the exact recommended timeline). I'm closing in on three years since it was last changed, so it's time.

I didn't learn what a socket wrench was until just a few days ago, but even I (a complete novice) know that dirty fluids cannot possibly be good for a car. As to coolant, what I have read is that regular coolant is 'good for' approximately three years before the anti-freeze component starts breaking down, and Toyota's long-lasting coolant will last about five years. Aluminum doesn't rust, but it corrodes badly if the coolant is degraded.

If you check the maintenance schedule for your 95 LS400, you will find that the recommended change interval for both the brake fluid and coolant is 24 months or 30,000 miles. Regardless of the recommendations from shade tree mechanics (me included) and urban legends, maintaining a Lexus or any other brand car according to the manufacturers' maintenance schedule is, in the end, inexpensive and cost effective. I'm 2,900 miles from the 150,000 mile service. Still again, everything is going to be done by the book - including replacing the coolant and brake fluid - plus a couple of extras like changing the transmission and differential fluid.

An added benefit I've found is it makes it very easy to sell a used car. Nothing impresses propective owners like showing records and/or receipts for every single maintenance and repair.

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The owner's manual says if you have ABS(?) that when topping off brake fluid, you pour it in while engine is at idle (otherwise, you add it with the engine off). It may take me a few days to get an appointment with the mechanic, so I wanted to add a little fluid since the level is right at minimum. I got a small bottle of Prestone Dot 3.

What is the rationale behind adding the fluid while engine is at idle? Wouldn't this mean that air can get in the system? I plan to add it slowly/gradually to the maximum line.

Thanks for clarifying...two years, hmmm. Well, better late than never (brake fluid). I am going to calendar all this routine maintenance and flag with reminders so I don't miss anything else. My preference is to maintain the car according to manufacturer instructions.

The brake fluid is filthy, besides which, the manual says to change it every few years (I need to look up the exact recommended timeline). I'm closing in on three years since it was last changed, so it's time.

I didn't learn what a socket wrench was until just a few days ago, but even I (a complete novice) know that dirty fluids cannot possibly be good for a car. As to coolant, what I have read is that regular coolant is 'good for' approximately three years before the anti-freeze component starts breaking down, and Toyota's long-lasting coolant will last about five years. Aluminum doesn't rust, but it corrodes badly if the coolant is degraded.

If you check the maintenance schedule for your 95 LS400, you will find that the recommended change interval for both the brake fluid and coolant is 24 months or 30,000 miles. Regardless of the recommendations from shade tree mechanics (me included) and urban legends, maintaining a Lexus or any other brand car according to the manufacturers' maintenance schedule is, in the end, inexpensive and cost effective. I'm 2,900 miles from the 150,000 mile service. Still again, everything is going to be done by the book - including replacing the coolant and brake fluid - plus a couple of extras like changing the transmission and differential fluid.

An added benefit I've found is it makes it very easy to sell a used car. Nothing impresses propective owners like showing records and/or receipts for every single maintenance and repair.

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The brake system is SEALED and can withstand pressures as high as 5,000 PSI, maybe more. I do not bother with brake fluid, engine coolant, nor diff' lub "renewal" of any kind type useless something requires opening the system. 300,000 miles on our '95 LS400, 90,000 on our '01 "AWD" RX300.

I'm pretty sure the engine and transmission are also "sealed", but they still degrade! And Brake Fluid.. well its like honey in color when its new/fresh but after a few years it becomes black, so something is going on. I don't know why, the maintenance schedule says to change it every so often, but many dealers are saying "its a sealed system, we never change it unless major brake work done".

The engine crankcase is by no means "sealed" since the lubricating oil is subject to the byprodocts of combustion, even raw fuel at times. My '01 AWD RX300 owners manual indicated that the ATf was good for the life of the vehicle. Then Lexus discovered that the design flaw had not really been fixed and changed the ATF life to 15,000 miles, later revised to checking ATf condition eack engine oil change. Mine was changed, dual drain/fill at ~40,000 miles and now again at ~90,000 miles.

I check my coolant freeze level and Ph each fall, never had to change coolant for either of those reasons.

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