Fluid Flushes and Exchanges
Get the facts on the most common recommended fluid and flush services.
There are a few fluids that your vehicle requires for it's systems to run properly; Brake fluid, Coolant, Transmission fluid, Power Steering Fluid, Antifreeze, and Oil. Each of these fluids is very important to your vehicle in it's own way. It's important to have these fluids checked and flushed regularly according to your Manufacturer's recommended intervals.
There's a myth that these fluid flushes is just about making more money when you come into a repair shop; that's a lie. It's about safety and about preventing extensive damage from leaks and fluid loss in your car. We're in favor of changing most fluids at 30, 60, and 90,000 mile intervals. Power Steering fluid should be changed every 3-5 years or 45-60,000 miles - and replacing it with synthetic fluid if allowable, is even better. Convention Oil Changes should happen every 3 months or 3,000 miles. Sythetic Oil Changes are every 5,000 miles or 6 months. If your manual calls for it, have your brake fluid and automatic transmission fluid flushed at recommended intervals.
Your car relies on these fluids to run smoothly and continue performing well.
On heavy duty vehicles that require it, diferential oil needs constant attention and should be changed every 60,000 miles or as needed. Transfer Case fluid should be changed at around the same interval of 60,000 miles. Engine Flushes are required regularly - but sometimes they can greatly impact performance; it can improve the life of your engine, prevent future costly repairs, reduce exhaust emissions, and help your engine achieve better gas mileage.
Brake Fluid Flush - removing all used brake fluid and water content from the brake system. Water gradually enters the brake system through the brake lines and hoses as a result of condensation on steel. This leads to corrosion and fluid leaks in the brake system later on. Brake Fluid should be examined every time you visit the repair shop, to prevent expensive leak and corrosion damage later.
A/C and Coolant Flush - flush and remove all old fluid coolant and debris from the system, introduce a water pump lubricant to help the system function, and refill the system with long-life coolant that should last between 100,000-150,000 miles. Coolant fluid lasts much longer, usually several years, than the green antifreeze that used to be widely used in automobiles. It is recommended to have your A/C System inspected and possibly flushed at the 90,000 or 120,000 mile check-up.
Fuel Injection & Intake Flush - breakdown and remove carbon deposit buildup from the engine valves and injectors to aleviate poor fuel quality and impaired performance. The quality of fuel used in vehicles and frequency of use can increase the presence of carbon deposits. A Fuel System cleaning treatement can flush out these buildups and restore performance and proper combustion.
Power Steering Fluid Exchange - replacing the power steering fluid is only recommended in cases where steering because difficult or impossible while driving, as well as performance failure in the steering gear seals, pump, and hoses. Power Steering Flushes also help prevent steering fluid leaks which can be costly to repair.
Radiator Flush Service - power flush all chemicals and fluids from the A/C System and pressure testing the system for leaks, and lubricating the Radiator and system.
Transmission Power Flush - force all of the transmission fluid out of the transmission, torque converter, oil cooler, and all fluid lines before replacing the filter and pumping brand new fluid into the system. This removes solid and metallic debris from the fluid that damages the clutch plate over time and also prevents blockages in the oil cooler and lines. This service is recommended between 50,000 and 100,000 miles for most automatic transmissions.
- WHERE ARE MY VEHICLE'S FLUID FLUSH RECOMMENDATIONS?
The vehicle manufacturer will release the recommended service schedule within the owner's manual. This is designed to regularly examine the consumable parts of your vehicle that wear down over time and often need replacement. You should always read your Owner's Manual and determine what the recommended service schedule for your vehicle is.
When it comes to fluid flushes, they be necessary but are not recommended in Service Manuals at regular intervals. Most automakers don't include these services during scheduled tuneups, and that doesn't mean they aren't important. You should have all of your fluids examined during major mileage inspections (60K/90K/120K) to ensure that the fluid is not contaminated or leaking.
- HOW DO I KNOW IF I NEED A FLUID FLUSH?
Car symptoms are often hard to identify and the same issue can represent several part or system failures in a vehicle, because they're so complex. If you're experiencing a problem operating your vehicle, your Check Engine Light is on, or you're due for a mileage tuneup, have all of your system checked with a thorough inspection. Your local Repair Shop can identify problematic leaks and possible fluid issues in your system and discuss the best course of action. If you're ever unsure of their findings, simply ask to see it for yourself. A good technician is always happy to show and explain their findings and recommendations to customers.
- HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR BRAKE FLUID IS CONTAMINATED?
The the most simple test for contaminated brake fluid is color; new Brake fluid is almost clear and looks similar to Apple Juice. When it becomes contaminated and absorbs moisture, Brake fluid turns a far darker brown color. This is the first sign that you require a Brake Fluid Flush. Regular fluid flushes are very important for newer vehicles outfitted with Antilock (ABS) Brakes. ABS Brake systems use several different valves to route brake fluid through the vehicle and contaminated fluid can lead to costly damage to those brake lines and valves.
Your brakes are made up of two different systems - one is the mechanic system that consists of the brake pads and rotors, brake shoes and drums, brake cylinders, lines, and the master cylinder. The second system is the hydraulic system that includes the brake fluid. It's this sytem that is critical to vehicle operation - because it provides the power to make all the mechanical components to work when you press your brake pedal. Brake Fluid is hygroscopic, meaning that is absorbs moisture and that absorbtion is what contaminates the fluid over time.
- WHY DO I KEEP HEARING THAT I NEED A COOLANT SYSTEM FLUSH?
Engine coolant or antifreeze is an important fluid. Its primary job is to help transfer heat. The coolant absorbs the heat from your engine – and is then cooled in the radiator. Engine coolant is used to provide heat for the passenger compartment. Engine coolant or antifreeze is also designed to handle higher engine temperatures without your car’s engine boiling over. Coolant or antifreeze also contains cooling system additives like lubricants and rust inhibitors. These additives help to keep moving parts of your cooling system, like the water pump, lubricated. The rust inhibitors help prevent the buildup of internal corrosion.
Internal corrosion in your car’s cooling system reduces the efficiency of heat transfer. That’s because the corrosion builds up and smaller passages in the radiator and heater become clogged. The reduced efficiency means your radiator will not be able to cools as well as it should. It also means that your car heater may not provide the heating you need.
Flushing your cooling system removes any contamination. Replacing engine coolant helps assures your cooling system will not boil over – but also replenishes the additives like lubricants and rust inhibitors to keep your cooling system corrosion free. Adhere to proper cooling system maintenance and learn how to avoid costly repairs when your engine overheats!