Niagara Gazette

Features

June 13, 2013

TOM'S CORNER: What's really necessary during an oil change?

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Does your vehicle need a brake fluid flush?

Brake fluid flushing is a viable service that should be done if there is rust and sediment in the brake master cylinder. After researching several year, make, and model vehicles in the ALLDATA database, I found that this is not a recommended service from the manufacturer. At best, carmakers suggest an inspection of the braking system at regular intervals (about every 6K miles) that includes inspection of the brake fluid along with the rest of the system. The hydraulic braking system is designed as a closed and sealed system. When it is exposed to the atmosphere because of a broken seal or hydraulic cup, the system will draw moisture into itself because of the hydroscopic (moisture absorbing) nature of the fluid. So a simple inspection of the brake fluid is all that is required.

Look for proper level, color, and smell. Brake fluid that is clear/translucent in color, at the proper level, with no evidence of a burnt smell, indicates a healthy braking system. If the color is black or rust-colored, there is a problem. Simple flushing will not repair the root cause. A dark color accompanied by a burnt smell is indication that the system has overheated. A rust-colored fluid indicates that moisture has entered the system, and therefore the system should be checked for a leaking component, a compromised line, or a torn master cylinder gasket. Brake fluid flushing alone without an inspection and/or repair of the root cause is not a repair. It is like a band-aid on a compound fracture. I do not recommend regular brake fluid flushing. It is simply not necessary unless a problem with color, level, or smell of the brake fluid is observed.

Does your vehicle need a transmission fluid flush?

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