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  • FIRST POST
    • geek84
    • By geek84 2nd Dec 17, 4:27 PM
    • 1,032Posts
    • 105Thanks
    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 2
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 3rd Dec 17, 11:36 AM
    • 15,695 Posts
    • 14,009 Thanks
    AdrianC
    <nods>
    <quick google>
    Dry boiling temperature of new DOT4 fluid is 230degC. Wet boiling temp can come down as low as 155degC.

    I've had old, wet fluid boil on me. It's not much fun, especially when you consider the circumstances where it's most likely to boil - descending a Portuguese mountain in 30degC+, in this case.

    And that's before we consider the corrosion risk.
    • Tarambor
    • By Tarambor 3rd Dec 17, 12:00 PM
    • 1,740 Posts
    • 1,194 Thanks
    Tarambor
    The main driver is simply profit for garages. If it isn't changed you won't have any problems.
    Originally posted by fred246
    Other than you know your brakes not working as well as they should do in prolonged braking and your brake pipes corroding from the inside out.

    If they charge you and then don't do anything you won't be able to prove it.
    Given they have to undo the bleed nipples to change it and in most cases the existing fluid will be brown whereas the new is almost clear you most certainly can.
    I doubt many garages would truly flush out all your brake pipes.
    Given that they use a tool that fits pipes on every bleed nipple then sucks the fresh fluid through from the master cylinder it is impossible not to.
    • Richard53
    • By Richard53 3rd Dec 17, 1:28 PM
    • 2,576 Posts
    • 2,192 Thanks
    Richard53
    and your brake pipes corroding from the inside out.
    Originally posted by Tarambor
    To be fair, it would take a long time for steel brake pipes to rust through (although I wouldn't want to be a passenger when they do). Cunifer should last almost forever.


    However, most of the older cars and bikes I have owned have had problems with the brakes at some point, which have almost always been due to internal corrosion - rusty pistons leading to faulty seals etc. There is no way moisture can get inside a caliper unless it is in the fluid, so I would attribute 90% of those problems to old fluid.


    Calipers are expensive, and brake fluid is (relatively) cheap and easy to change.
    An hour alone spells freedom to the slave.
    • Car 54
    • By Car 54 3rd Dec 17, 2:06 PM
    • 2,456 Posts
    • 1,595 Thanks
    Car 54
    To be fair, it would take a long time for steel brake pipes to rust through (although I wouldn't want to be a passenger when they do).
    Originally posted by Richard53
    Particularly so since rust (if I remember my schoolboy chemistry) needs oxygen as well as water. I'd have thought that oxygen (air) in the system would be noticeable long before rust was a problem.

    Also, the quantities of water within the pipes would be much less than on the outside, in our climate.
    • fred246
    • By fred246 3rd Dec 17, 2:31 PM
    • 912 Posts
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    fred246
    It's amazing how the pipes let water and oxygen in but the brake fluid doesn't get out.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 3rd Dec 17, 2:34 PM
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    AdrianC
    Particularly so since rust (if I remember my schoolboy chemistry) needs oxygen as well as water. I'd have thought that oxygen (air) in the system would be noticeable long before rust was a problem.

    Also, the quantities of water within the pipes would be much less than on the outside, in our climate.
    Originally posted by Car 54
    The outside of the pipe is usually plastic-coated. The inside isn't.

    And the inside of the cylinders isn't, either, and they're usually the first thing to need replacing because of corrosion - the rough surface causes the seals to fail, and they leak.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 3rd Dec 17, 2:38 PM
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    AdrianC
    It's amazing how the pipes let water and oxygen in but the brake fluid doesn't get out.
    Originally posted by fred246
    The water (from atmospheric humidity) gets in through the vent hole in the reservoir cap, which isn't hermetically sealed, because the level raises and lowers as pads wear and get replaced.

    As for the oxygen - remind me what water's made of? There's also oxygen within Ethylene Glycol - (CH2OH)2 - which is the base of DOT brake fluid.
    • Jackmydad
    • By Jackmydad 3rd Dec 17, 4:35 PM
    • 1,265 Posts
    • 2,666 Thanks
    Jackmydad
    Change it regularly. Safe over cheap every time.
    Can't afford to have it done? Then get a Gunson's Eezibleed and DIY. (You can do it without but it makes it dead simple)
    Can't afford to DIY?
    Then you can't afford to run a car.
    • EdGasketTheSecond
    • By EdGasketTheSecond 3rd Dec 17, 8:44 PM
    • 323 Posts
    • 182 Thanks
    EdGasketTheSecond
    I've never changed brake fluid for the sake of it in over 40 years of car ownership/driving; never had a problem.
    • Iceweasel
    • By Iceweasel 3rd Dec 17, 9:00 PM
    • 4,261 Posts
    • 3,114 Thanks
    Iceweasel
    I've never changed brake fluid for the sake of it in over 40 years of car ownership/driving; never had a problem.
    Originally posted by EdGasketTheSecond
    Can I have the winning lottery numbers for next week please?
    • House Martin
    • By House Martin 3rd Dec 17, 9:22 PM
    • 719 Posts
    • 620 Thanks
    House Martin
    I've never changed brake fluid for the sake of it in over 40 years of car ownership/driving; never had a problem.
    Originally posted by EdGasketTheSecond
    Me too, but I ve bled hundreds of brake systems and had plenty of seized bleed nipples in brake calipers and rear pistons sheer off. Then a £50 fluid change could turn into the cost of a new front caliper.
    I would` nt trust a garage to diligently go round the 4 bleed nipples to do the job properly and I would expect it would cost more than £50 anyway. The fluid cost will be a tenner
    .Be aware with older cars, the weak bleed nipples will shear off easily. They take the brunt of the weather and salt for years. Garages will simply bill for new pistons or calipers if this happens and pass on the costs.
    2 years for a brake fluid change is simply health and safety nonsense .Brake fluid never contacts the outside air anyway to absorb water
    Last edited by House Martin; 03-12-2017 at 11:17 PM.
    • Mercdriver
    • By Mercdriver 3rd Dec 17, 9:23 PM
    • 1,459 Posts
    • 997 Thanks
    Mercdriver
    How many Darwin Award nominees are in this thread?

    Save £30 - £50 or risk your (and others') lives. Sounds clever. (NOT)
    • fred246
    • By fred246 4th Dec 17, 7:32 AM
    • 912 Posts
    • 498 Thanks
    fred246
    Me too, but I ve bled hundreds of brake systems and had plenty of seized bleed nipples in brake calipers and rear pistons sheer off. Then a £50 fluid change could turn into the cost of a new front caliper.
    Originally posted by House Martin
    If they do the job properly they will have problems from seized nipples and leaks of fluid. If they just syringe fluid out of the reservoir and put some new in they can say they have done the job and they shouldn't have any unhappy customers being charged extra for new calipers etc. If someone says how about the pipes they'll just say 'you didn't ask us to do that' 'that will be extra' etc. That is assuming they do anything at all. Some garages will just charge and do nothing. The last time I bought brake fluid it was Comma 500ml from Wilko for £3. Garages should get it cheaper.
    • Tarambor
    • By Tarambor 4th Dec 17, 7:39 AM
    • 1,740 Posts
    • 1,194 Thanks
    Tarambor
    To be fair, it would take a long time for steel brake pipes to rust through (although I wouldn't want to be a passenger when they do). Cunifer should last almost forever.
    Originally posted by Richard53
    My wife was lucky. Hers failed in the MOT. It had gone through the visual inspection for leaks, all the pipes had been checked. When they put it on a rolling road and put full brake pressure on one of the pipes burst. Garage phoned up most apologetic, I just replied I was glad it failed there and not on the road as being a 2 litre V6 it was kind of driven with some gusto by her from time to time.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 4th Dec 17, 8:01 AM
    • 15,695 Posts
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    AdrianC
    If they do the job properly they will have problems from seized nipples and leaks of fluid. If they just syringe fluid out of the reservoir and put some new in they can say they have done the job and they shouldn't have any unhappy customers being charged extra for new calipers etc. If someone says how about the pipes they'll just say 'you didn't ask us to do that' 'that will be extra' etc. That is assuming they do anything at all. Some garages will just charge and do nothing.
    Originally posted by fred246
    If you take your car to somewhere so incompetent and mendacious, then the brake fluid is the least of your problems.
    • Nobbie1967
    • By Nobbie1967 4th Dec 17, 8:43 AM
    • 678 Posts
    • 783 Thanks
    Nobbie1967
    For those arguing against following the manufacturers recommendations for changing the brake fluid, do you also ignore the recommendations for changing the oil?

    Most manufacturers try to extend service intervals and reduce service work to keep fleet operators happy such as the common move to 2year/20000 mile service intervals. Why would they continue with the brake fluid change unless there was a need for it? Sure, it's something you can skimp on, like missing an oil change and probably not notice it, but somewhere down the line it has the potential to come back and bite you.
    • takman
    • By takman 4th Dec 17, 10:01 AM
    • 2,884 Posts
    • 2,402 Thanks
    takman
    It's amazing how the pipes let water and oxygen in but the brake fluid doesn't get out.
    Originally posted by fred246
    Well considering that you can get a tester for a few quid to see the amount of water in the fluid why don't you buy one and check it for yourself...

    The last car i bought the fluid had actually started to turn green, so it was obviously well overdue for a change and not working a full effectiveness.

    If they do the job properly they will have problems from seized nipples and leaks of fluid.
    Originally posted by fred246
    You don't always get problems and its much less likely to be a problem if you get it changed regularly.

    If they just syringe fluid out of the reservoir and put some new in they can say they have done the job and they shouldn't have any unhappy customers being charged extra for new calipers etc. If someone says how about the pipes they'll just say 'you didn't ask us to do that' 'that will be extra' etc. That is assuming they do anything at all. Some garages will just charge and do nothing. The last time I bought brake fluid it was Comma 500ml from Wilko for £3. Garages should get it cheaper.
    Originally posted by fred246
    So just because you don't know of any honest garages that's a good reason to never get the brake fluid changed?.
    • iolanthe07
    • By iolanthe07 4th Dec 17, 3:14 PM
    • 4,923 Posts
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    iolanthe07
    I don't understand why some people will risk compromising themselves and their family's safety just to save a piffling few quid, especially when you look at the overall cost of running a car.
    I used to think that good grammar is important, but now I know that good wine is importanter.
    • reeac
    • By reeac 4th Dec 17, 5:04 PM
    • 1,133 Posts
    • 454 Thanks
    reeac
    I've never changed brake fluid for the sake of it in over 40 years of car ownership/driving; never had a problem.
    Originally posted by EdGasketTheSecond
    But has that been the same car for 40 years? If not then maybe you are changing your whole car rather than the brake fluid.
    • AdrianC
    • By AdrianC 4th Dec 17, 5:07 PM
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    AdrianC
    But has that been the same car for 40 years? If not then maybe you are changing your whole car rather than the brake fluid.
    Originally posted by reeac
    Even if it was the same car, I VERY much doubt that not one single hydraulic component has been changed in that 40yrs. Not one pipe, not one flexi, not one wheel cylinder...

    Because, if any of those are changed, then the fluid is drained out, refilled, and bled through.
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