Brake fluid change - Subaru Forester Owners Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-23-2010, 07:48 PM Thread Starter
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Brake fluid change

My dealer wants $195 to change the brake fluid on my 2008 Forester with 54,000 miles. Does this really need to be done? Is this reasonable?
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-23-2010, 07:56 PM
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That is a wise thing to do, but that price is a total ripoff. It's a very easy job, made even easier if you spend a few dollars for a set of Speed Bleeders from Oakos.

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-23-2010, 08:10 PM
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Yes - not optional. Brake fluid takes on water over time and the water in the brake system will take a toll on the system. Dirty fluid mixed with rust will take a toll on it.

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-23-2010, 08:49 PM
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On my Honda, I flushed the brake fluid after 6 years and 150K miles of use, and it was in just fine shape. And do the job yourself it will take you a couple of hours your first time, and only cost at most like $30, I recommend using the ATE Super Racing Fluid, it comes in a blue color that way you can easily see the once the new fluid has made it to your bleeder kit.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-24-2010, 03:45 AM
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Its a good idea but most people go 100K+ without ever changing fluid. Usually they will get brakes and that replaces a good portion of the fluid.

But that's a ripoff. Its not hard to do. Just a PITA

Be careful what you wish for.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-24-2010, 05:15 AM
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My dealer wants $195 to change the brake fluid on my 2008 Forester with 54,000 miles. Does this really need to be done? Is this reasonable?
Brake fluid is hygroscopic: It absorbs water. As it does, its boiling point (“dry” when new, “wet” as it ages and absorbs water) is reduced. Under heavy/severe conditions (i.e., long down hill drives) the brakes can get hot enough to boil the fluid. The resulting gas from the boiling “wet” fluid can be compressed, and this will reduce/eliminate the car’s brake effectiveness – the dreaded “brake pedal to the floor” syndrome.

So, yes, periodic brake fluid changes do need to be done, especially in high-humidity climates. Subaru’s 2008 Maintenance Guide “recommends” changing the fluid every 30K miles / 30 months, or every 15 K miles / 15 months in “high humidity or mountainous areas”.

My personal view is that these are very conservative recommendations. However, as your car approaches 60K on the odometer, it’s now probably time for a brake fluid change, especially if you're in a high humidity area of Washington state. My wife’s ’06 Honda Accord is almost to 60 K miles, and, among other things, we just had the original brake fluid changed. We live in a fairly high humidity area.

Note, BTW, that brake fluid can be fairly corrosive. If you decide to change it yourself, handle it carefully keep it away from painted surfaces.

Finally, my local dealer in the Washington, D.C. metro area (Tysons Corner) charges $115 (plus shop fees and tax) for a brake fluid job. Accordingly, $195 (plus shop fees and tax?) would appear to be a bit on the high side; you might want to try another dealer.

HTH,
Jim / crewzer

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Last edited by crewzer; 07-24-2010 at 05:36 AM.
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-24-2010, 05:18 AM
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My Dad let the job go approximately forever, and one day one of his brake lines rusted out from the inside.

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-24-2010, 08:40 AM
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turkey baster $1

suck old fluid out

put new fluid $4

$5 total

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-24-2010, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Lovesubaru View Post
turkey baster $1

suck old fluid out

put new fluid $4

$5 total
Two problems..the brake fluid dissolves the turker baster. Second you still need to bleed to get the fluid in the lines. But having said that..I don't think the dissolved plastic will be a problem provided you don't let it in the reservoir for more than a few seconds at a time.

Be careful what you wish for.
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-24-2010, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by ckloeck View Post
My dealer wants $195 to change the brake fluid on my 2008 Forester with 54,000 miles. Does this really need to be done? Is this reasonable?
In the absorption of moisture, time and climate are as important as miles. With your miles, in your rainy climate, it is not premature to have the fluid changed. As to reasonable, last winter our excellent independent shop, St. Matthews Imports, charged $95 to do our 2005 Buick with 60,000 miles.

I plan to have the brake fluid changed in my 2008 Forester in a year or so. While I do live in a humid climate, the car only has 20,000 miles now, so I will wait for the big 30,000-mile service.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-24-2010, 10:30 AM
 
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I plan to wait until I hit 36k before I change mine. I figure I got most of it out when I swapped all 4 calipers over to the larger brakes anyhow.

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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-26-2010, 12:41 PM
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$195 a rip-off; should be more in the $100 range.

you could just go until the master cylinder goes out and replace like many do ... but then you might have lots of other problems with corrosion, water in lines, etc.

after owning older japanese imports and not doing it when younger i'm pretty well convinced that it is OK to go 2 yr 30,000 miles for most folks. I don't think I would let it go over 3 yr (low mileage folks) or 60,000 miles (high mileage folks), whichever comes first.

it does get nasty and/or discolored compared to new fluid. as mentioned, the biggest problem is absorbing water from the atmosphere.

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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-02-2010, 07:02 AM
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Two problems..the brake fluid dissolves the turker baster. Second you still need to bleed to get the fluid in the lines. But having said that..I don't think the dissolved plastic will be a problem provided you don't let it in the reservoir for more than a few seconds at a time.
I've done the baster technique in the past. A bulk of what's in the brake system sits in the reservoir. Removing all of the reservoir fluid and replacing with new should be sufficient to offset the moisture absorption issues described in this thread. I'm also of the thinking that every 30k is conservative for a full swap/bleed, but if I do the reservoir swap every 30k I feel I'm well ahead of the curve and keeping enough flesh brake fluid in the system to offset the deterioration curve. Maybe at 100k I'll splurge on a full system bleed. My $0.02
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-02-2010, 07:15 AM
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I do mine yearly, I have speed bleeders on all my cars but I still end up doing it the old fashion way with a helper. I typically get one of my kids to work the pedals:

pics and info here:

http://www.scoobymods.com/bleeding-b...=6623#post6623

You don't have info in your profile as to the type of transmission but if you have a manual, doing the clutch fluid is a good idea too:

http://www.scoobymods.com/bleeding-c...491.html?t=491

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 09-02-2010, 07:41 AM
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I'd call that the semi-old fashioned way, and it's by far the most efficient. The speed bleeders ease the workload for the person below, and—as the name would indicate—speed up the job.

As for turkey baster, there's also the problem of sneaking it back into the kitchen without wife finding out what you've been doing with it.

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