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  • FIRST POST
    • geek84
    • By geek84 2nd Dec 17, 4:27 PM
    • 1,032Posts
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    geek84
    When to change brake fluid?
    • #1
    • 2nd Dec 17, 4:27 PM
    When to change brake fluid? 2nd Dec 17 at 4:27 PM
    Hi Folks

    Recently I took my Seat Ibiza 2011 for a service and was recommended that I have my brake fluid changed.
    However, I have checked under the bonnet and the brake fluid is above minimum level and there are no leakages.

    Do you think there would really be a need to change the fluid or is this the garage's way of getting more money out of me?

    Thanks
Page 1
    • DUTR
    • By DUTR 2nd Dec 17, 4:32 PM
    • 11,060 Posts
    • 6,280 Thanks
    DUTR
    • #2
    • 2nd Dec 17, 4:32 PM
    • #2
    • 2nd Dec 17, 4:32 PM
    Hi Folks

    Recently I took my Seat Ibiza 2011 for a service and was recommended that I have my brake fluid changed.
    However, I have checked under the bonnet and the brake fluid is above minimum level and there are no leakages.

    Do you think there would really be a need to change the fluid or is this the garage's way of getting more money out of me?

    Thanks
    Originally posted by geek84
    Sort of both, the service schedule does suggest the fluid change at intervals, IIRC 2-4yrs.
    • Car 54
    • By Car 54 2nd Dec 17, 4:40 PM
    • 2,452 Posts
    • 1,594 Thanks
    Car 54
    • #3
    • 2nd Dec 17, 4:40 PM
    • #3
    • 2nd Dec 17, 4:40 PM
    Sort of both, the service schedule does suggest the fluid change at intervals, IIRC 2-4yrs.
    Originally posted by DUTR
    Yes, 2 years seems to be the common recommendation.

    Brake fluid does deteriorate (it absorbs water), so it's not a scare story on the garage's part.
    • Crabman
    • By Crabman 2nd Dec 17, 4:40 PM
    • 9,603 Posts
    • 7,006 Thanks
    Crabman
    • #4
    • 2nd Dec 17, 4:40 PM
    • #4
    • 2nd Dec 17, 4:40 PM
    May be worth having the fluid tested by a mechanic for moisture content/boiling point. I recall my mechanic did this on a previous vehicle and advised that there was no need to change the fluid.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Savings & Investments, ISAs & Tax-free Savings, Public Transport & Cycling, Motoring and Parking Fines, Tickets & Parking Boards. I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. Board Guides are not moderators & don't read every post. If you spot a contentious or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com

    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 2nd Dec 17, 4:41 PM
    • 15,675 Posts
    • 13,993 Thanks
    AdrianC
    • #5
    • 2nd Dec 17, 4:41 PM
    • #5
    • 2nd Dec 17, 4:41 PM
    DOT brake fluid is hygroscopic - it absorbs moisture from the atmosphere. When it does, the boiling point lowers. If fluid boils, you will need to pump away at the pedal before the brakes do anything much. In addition, the moisture causes the internals of the brake cylinders to corrode.

    Not changing it is a false economy, at best, and a safety risk at worst.

    Two years is the frequency usually given in the service schedule. You can get it tested with a hygrometer, to see how much water's been absorbed, but for the amount of time and cost to change, it's worth doing.

    If it's the original after six years, definitely do it now.
    • Tarambor
    • By Tarambor 2nd Dec 17, 4:53 PM
    • 1,734 Posts
    • 1,193 Thanks
    Tarambor
    • #6
    • 2nd Dec 17, 4:53 PM
    • #6
    • 2nd Dec 17, 4:53 PM
    £30 to change brake fluid, not worth not doing given the pitfalls.
    • geek84
    • By geek84 2nd Dec 17, 5:29 PM
    • 1,032 Posts
    • 105 Thanks
    geek84
    • #7
    • 2nd Dec 17, 5:29 PM
    • #7
    • 2nd Dec 17, 5:29 PM
    Thanks folks
    • fred246
    • By fred246 2nd Dec 17, 9:59 PM
    • 912 Posts
    • 497 Thanks
    fred246
    • #8
    • 2nd Dec 17, 9:59 PM
    • #8
    • 2nd Dec 17, 9:59 PM
    The main driver is simply profit for garages. If it isn't changed you won't have any problems. If they charge you and then don't do anything you won't be able to prove it. I doubt many garages would truly flush out all your brake pipes. The manufacturers will recommend it as a way for the dealers to make money.
    • Iceweasel
    • By Iceweasel 2nd Dec 17, 11:07 PM
    • 4,261 Posts
    • 3,114 Thanks
    Iceweasel
    • #9
    • 2nd Dec 17, 11:07 PM
    • #9
    • 2nd Dec 17, 11:07 PM
    If it isn't changed you won't have any problems.
    Originally posted by fred246
    Can you guarantee that?

    Ever been to Switzerland or Austria on holiday?

    Have you seen what real hills are like?

    How many years do you think brake fluid lasts?

    I bet you would say that you've never had a problem with not changing brake fluid.

    Think about it.

    Everyone doesn't potter about at low speed.

    Giving advice not to change brake fluid could lead to a nasty accident.
    • fred246
    • By fred246 3rd Dec 17, 1:47 AM
    • 912 Posts
    • 497 Thanks
    fred246
    I have read the trade literature. Scare your customers - juicy profits.
    • BeenThroughItAll
    • By BeenThroughItAll 3rd Dec 17, 1:56 AM
    • 4,614 Posts
    • 4,041 Thanks
    BeenThroughItAll
    I have read the trade literature. Scare your customers - juicy profits.
    Originally posted by fred246
    Go on then, please provide a citation to back up your ludicrous assertion.
    • reeac
    • By reeac 3rd Dec 17, 7:28 AM
    • 1,132 Posts
    • 454 Thanks
    reeac
    I own a 1958 MGA which I restored and put back on the road in 1983. After about 15 years I started getting problems with brake wheel cylinders seizing and had quite a few years of such problems until one day someone asked me how often I changed the brake fluid. I then realised that I'd never changed it since the restoration. I ended up getting a garage to change all the hydraulics and everything's been fine since then ....due for a fluid change about now. I get the fluid changed on my other cars (which I've owned for 12 and 16 years) every 4 years. In short I think that you can get away without fluid changes for maybe 5 or 6 years but any more is false economy.
    • Nodding Donkey
    • By Nodding Donkey 3rd Dec 17, 7:35 AM
    • 2,479 Posts
    • 2,103 Thanks
    Nodding Donkey
    I have read the trade literature. Scare your customers - juicy profits.
    Originally posted by fred246
    LMAO

    Juicy profits in a £30 brake fluid change?
    • thescouselander
    • By thescouselander 3rd Dec 17, 7:43 AM
    • 5,301 Posts
    • 4,848 Thanks
    thescouselander
    Can you guarantee that?

    Ever been to Switzerland or Austria on holiday?

    Have you seen what real hills are like?

    How many years do you think brake fluid lasts?

    I bet you would say that you've never had a problem with not changing brake fluid.

    Think about it.

    Everyone doesn't potter about at low speed.

    Giving advice not to change brake fluid could lead to a nasty accident.
    Originally posted by Iceweasel

    I reckon fred has a point. It would be quite feasible to change the brake fluid "on condition" rather than to a fixed schedule since brake fluid is easily checked. Many garages will charge £50 to change the brake fluid - it's a quick job and the materials cost hardly anything so it's a nice little earner as far as the garage is concerned.
    • daveyjp
    • By daveyjp 3rd Dec 17, 7:51 AM
    • 7,188 Posts
    • 5,593 Thanks
    daveyjp
    Chances are brake fluid is now more general hydraulic fluid and used for more than just brakes.

    £30 every couple of years to prevent more expensive problems doesn’t sound excessive to me.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 3rd Dec 17, 8:56 AM
    • 15,675 Posts
    • 13,993 Thanks
    AdrianC
    I doubt many garages would truly flush out all your brake pipes.
    Originally posted by fred246
    It's a lot easier if you just admit you don't know how brake fluid is changed, y'know.

    Chances are brake fluid is now more general hydraulic fluid and used for more than just brakes.
    Originally posted by daveyjp
    Such as...?

    The only other hydraulics on a car used to be the power steering - which used a different fluid, and were on a separate circuit. But that's now almost universally electric.
    • marty2be2000
    • By marty2be2000 3rd Dec 17, 9:16 AM
    • 193 Posts
    • 110 Thanks
    marty2be2000

    Such as...?
    Originally posted by AdrianC
    The hydraulic clutch in my Volvo, shares the same fluid. Symptoms of slave cylinder issues include brake fluid loss.

    On my Audi the recommended change interval on the brake fluid is every 2 years regardless of mileage. It's due again in 2018 and will be changed, I'd rather have piece of mind that the pedal and brakes are connected correctly given my Audi weighs almost 2 tons.
    • daveyjp
    • By daveyjp 3rd Dec 17, 9:36 AM
    • 7,188 Posts
    • 5,593 Thanks
    daveyjp
    It's a lot easier if you just admit you don't know how brake fluid is changed, y'know.


    Such as...?

    The only other hydraulics on a car used to be the power steering - which used a different fluid, and were on a separate circuit. But that's now almost universally electric.
    Originally posted by AdrianC
    Clutches.

    From my handbook:

    “The reservoir is used for both brake and clutch systems and has chambers for both systems”
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 3rd Dec 17, 9:52 AM
    • 15,675 Posts
    • 13,993 Thanks
    AdrianC
    OK, yes - clutches. Sometimes shared reservoir, sometimes not. I wouldn't call that "general hydraulic", though... But that's because I tend to think of hydraulics being wider in terms of Citroens (which decoupled the brakes from the hydraulics to a normal DOT system back in 2001 with the C5)
    • Richard53
    • By Richard53 3rd Dec 17, 11:26 AM
    • 2,576 Posts
    • 2,192 Thanks
    Richard53
    If it isn't changed you won't have any problems.
    Originally posted by fred246
    Tripe. Replace won't with may not, and we might agree.


    • On a long descent, brake temperatures can get up to 400C and above.
    • Water boils at 100C.
    • If there is any water in your brake fluid (which, by its nature, absorbs water over time), it will turn into steam in that situation.
    • Water is not compressible, but steam is.
    • Pedal goes to floor, no brakes.


    It's happened to me, and it isn't much fun. I now change my brake fluid every 3-4 years. 2 years is probably excessive, but ignoring it is foolish, and advising others to ignore it is potentially harmful.
    Last edited by Richard53; 03-12-2017 at 11:28 AM.
    An hour alone spells freedom to the slave.
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