Is it time for a brake fluid flush?

Messages
376
I'm at 31k miles and vehicle in question is only 2.5 years old. I've suddenly noticed the brake pedal is more spongy and braking distance has increased. Is my fluid the culprit? I haven't inspected the pads or rotors just yet, but there is no grinding or any odd vibrations. Just a mushier than before pedal and really having to mash on the pedal for the brakes to bite in emergency situations.
 
Last edited:
Messages
4,069
A brake inspection should be your priority. Brake fluid is not going to cause your issue after only 2.5 years/31k miles. You will not have air all of the sudden. You could be needing pad replacement depending how you drive.
 
Last edited:
Messages
12,717
+1 And if all looks good then lube the pads & sliders and clean up any rust then, proceed to the fluid flush.
 
Messages
34,347
A brake flush won't hurt but I don't think it's your problem. I do mine about every 24 months or so. As mentioned a thorough brake inspection is in order. Then follow Char Baby's suggestion.
 
Messages
15,089
Take a look at your master level. If you have not added any fluid, it is indicative of your pad wear. But pad wear does not make for spongy brakes. Some times easy braking or riding causes glazing and a few hard hot stops could break that glaze. But as all have said above, do a thorough inspection first. And yes you are due for a fluid flush, and in an ABS system this will likely require ABS actuation through the harness or OBD to properly purge the system. OTW you will likely end up with spongy brakes still. My wifes subaru is right where you are but the Dealer service messed up the brake bleed somehow.
 
Last edited:
Messages
748
People don't realize that their brakes need inspection every year or two regardless of mileage; the grease on the caliper pins sometimes dries up or gets washed out. I've also seen caliper Pistons seize at low mileage. I've seen brake pads get hung up on the mounts, I've seen clips broken or missing entirely. There's more things that can go wrong than people think. And I can't stand some aftermarket pads and rotors. Noise...pads hanging up, clips rubbing against a rotor...rotor just a little bit off and hitting a backing plate. It seems like the machining/manufacturing tolerances get worse every single year.
 
Messages
3,988
Originally Posted by Railrust
People don't realize that their brakes need inspection every year or two regardless of mileage; the grease on the caliper pins sometimes dries up or gets washed out. I've also seen caliper Pistons seize at low mileage. I've seen brake pads get hung up on the mounts, I've seen clips broken or missing entirely. There's more things that can go wrong than people think. And I can't stand some aftermarket pads and rotors. Noise...pads hanging up, clips rubbing against a rotor...rotor just a little bit off and hitting a backing plate. It seems like the machining/manufacturing tolerances get worse every single year.
I heartily agree with this post. At 2.5 years, I think a full 4 wheel brake pull-down, clean, lube and inspection is in order (no matter the mileage), along with a brake bleed.
 
Messages
4,215
You can check the moisture content using a voltmeter. (Google that).. anything over .3vdc and new fluid is recommended...but I'd say you're due for a flush and get them inspected at that time.
 
Messages
3,739
Honda says to replace brake fluid every 2-3 years (can't recall which it is at the moment). Other car makers don't refer to ever changing the brake fluid (Ford). Got into a debate with a Ford person who said basically, "the manual doesn't say I need to change it so I'm not going to" when I suggested to someone else to do a replacement..... Replacing your fluid is a maintenance procedure that should be done routinely, not just when a problem occurs. Is it the cause of your issue ? Maybe not.
 
Messages
4,215
Originally Posted by hallstevenson
Honda says to replace brake fluid every 2-3 years (can't recall which it is at the moment). Other car makers don't refer to ever changing the brake fluid (Ford). Got into a debate with a Ford person who said basically, "the manual doesn't say I need to change it so I'm not going to" when I suggested to someone else to do a replacement..... Replacing your fluid is a maintenance procedure that should be done routinely, not just when a problem occurs. Is it the cause of your issue ? Maybe not.
Incredible that someone would actually make the case for NOT replacing the brake fluid regularly... it's not like your life depends on a brake system that functions optimally or anything. Just wow...
 

CT8

Messages
15,409
Originally Posted by Lubener
A brake inspection should be your priority. Brake fluid is not going to cause your issue after only 2.5 years/31k miles. You will not have air all of the sudden. You could be needing pad replacement depending how you drive.
This +1.
 
Messages
35,728
In fact I would not bleed the system until you're done doing the mechanical inspection, in case you get air *in*, and then have two problems to diagnose.
 
Messages
664
I put between 200-300K miles on all my vehicles. I have never done a brake fluid flush or a Power steering flush. I calls those flushes a wallet flush....That is just IMHO. To each their own.
 
Messages
4,752
Originally Posted by Tahoe4Life
I put between 200-300K miles on all my vehicles. I have never done a brake fluid flush or a Power steering flush. I calls those flushes a wallet flush....That is just IMHO. To each their own.
Still have the factory fill in my Rav4's power steering pump. It's black and the steering is a little hard. My wife has grown accustomed to it. I'm not touching it. I drove my wife's Rav4 and the pedal was mushy. Had to hit the brakes hard but not too hard when someone cut me off and the ABS kicked in unexpectedly. My wife says it does that now and then. Yeah, that's not normal. Turns out one of the rear calipers was frozen. Inspect the brakes before you mess with the fluid or master cylinder.
 
Messages
2,595
Seriously. When did this flush the brake fluid stuff start? I've never flushed brake fluid. I've bled brakes when doing brake work but that's it. 2018 RAM and 2019 Charger NO where does it say, recommend or hint to flush the brake system.
 

Astro14

Staff member
Messages
11,064
Originally Posted by oldhp
Seriously. When did this flush the brake fluid stuff start? I've never flushed brake fluid. I've bled brakes when doing brake work but that's it. 2018 RAM and 2019 Charger NO where does it say, recommend or hint to flush the brake system.
A long time ago. It varies by manufacturer. My 1981 Mercedes required a flush of the brake fluid every 2 years. Every year if the car was operated under severe conditions (for brakes) like mountain driving.
 
Messages
4,215
Originally Posted by oldhp
Seriously. When did this flush the brake fluid stuff start? I've never flushed brake fluid. I've bled brakes when doing brake work but that's it. 2018 RAM and 2019 Charger NO where does it say, recommend or hint to flush the brake system.
It's more commonly specd for euro and asian models than NA... don't ask me why not. Brake fluid is hygroscopic and that water can find its way into the lines, anti-lock braking module, wheel cylinders and calipers. This can lead to corrosion in these components. Buy some copper test strips made for brake fluid and see what your ppms are?
 
Last edited:
Messages
4,069
Originally Posted by oldhp
Seriously. When did this flush the brake fluid stuff start? I've never flushed brake fluid. I've bled brakes when doing brake work but that's it. 2018 RAM and 2019 Charger NO where does it say, recommend or hint to flush the brake system.
It happened when power steering flushes started to surface, never done it. I do brake flushes every 5-7 (every other pad replacement) years and still have not had a problem because of brake fluid.
 
Last edited:
Messages
15,089
That fluid behind the Caliper pistons gets nasty fast. But we do a lot of snow and slush driving in winter up here. You have to get the wet stuff out of the calipers every couple years or they will oxidize internally.
 
Top