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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Mechanical Maintenance: Break-in / Oil & Fluids / Servicing / Warranty > Is brake flush necessary?



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      08-13-2012, 06:26 PM   #1
othomasjr
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Is brake flush necessary?

What would happen if you didn't have it done? I've never had any other brand of car require a brake fluid flush.
I used to be super anal about doing everything to my BMWs, but I am really starting to wonder about some of this stuff that "seems" unnecessary.
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      08-13-2012, 06:29 PM   #2
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You are talking about the same company that fought about everybody against frequent oil changes. So yes this one must be important (moisture is a killer for precise components). However I chose to extend the interval to 3 years instead of 2.
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      08-13-2012, 06:35 PM   #3
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Yes it's really necessary because over the time the brake fluid gets dirty and absorbs water if not flushed it can cause corrosion and rust to your brake system which will eventually fail on you or vapor lock.

So don't skip brake fluid flush.
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      08-13-2012, 06:39 PM   #4
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The concern is water. Save $125 every 2 years, or 62.50 per year, by not changing the fluid. When the brake components rust from the inside out as a result, no savings. PS--the $125 is just for BMW. Midas charges $60, and 10 years ago, they charged $40. The fluid itself is less than $10.
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      08-13-2012, 07:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by othomasjr View Post
What would happen if you didn't have it done? I've never had any other brand of car require a brake fluid flush.
I used to be super anal about doing everything to my BMWs, but I am really starting to wonder about some of this stuff that "seems" unnecessary.
Sorry, but every car requires brake fluid changes. All of the other brands you've had may have just decided not to tell you and wait until you come in with seized calipers (that you need to pay them to replace).

I'm not sure how many times this needs repeating - THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A LIFE TIME FLUID
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      08-13-2012, 07:36 PM   #6
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The concern is water. Save $125 every 2 years, or 62.50 per year, by not changing the fluid. When the brake components rust from the inside out as a result, no savings. PS--the $125 is just for BMW. Midas charges $60, and 10 years ago, they charged $40. The fluid itself is less than $10.
My closest dealer (the worst dealer on the face of the earth, IMO) charges $350 for brake flush.
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      08-13-2012, 07:41 PM   #7
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THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A LIFE TIME FLUID
Tell that to the BMW dealership when you have a 335i and you want the coolant replaced. They may have a "coupon" for $119, but they say that doesn't apply to lifetime coolant. What concerns me is if they put up that much resistance to replacing the coolant, I kinda doubt they'd really do the work, or would anybody do it. Incentive to cheat if the coolant is truly good for life, why not give you a wall job, but tell you what you want to hear, that the coolant has been replaced? For pete's sake, it only costs $24 for lifetime German coolant....
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      08-13-2012, 07:41 PM   #8
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That's funny I was just thinking about that today. I was given a company vehicle (new) 4 years ago. 105,000 miles later and all it gets is oil changes yet it drives like day 1. Sometimes I don't know about all these insane maintenance schedules. Yet, I still follow them. Lol
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      08-13-2012, 07:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
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My closest dealer (the worst dealer on the face of the earth, IMO) charges $350 for brake flush.
I hope your not talking about Rick Hendrick in Charleston
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      08-13-2012, 08:17 PM   #10
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I hope your not talking about Rick Hendrick in Charleston
No, the stealership in Florence SC. It's changed names about 3 times in as many years. It was Newsome Automotive for a long time. Now it's called Five Star.
They will seriously rape you in very short order. They are very difficult to deal with on warranty issues as well.
I don't get it. They only hurt themselves. I would never buy a car from them based purely on their poor excuse of a service department.
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      08-13-2012, 08:19 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John 070 View Post
Tell that to the BMW dealership when you have a 335i and you want the coolant replaced. They may have a "coupon" for $119, but they say that doesn't apply to lifetime coolant. What concerns me is if they put up that much resistance to replacing the coolant, I kinda doubt they'd really do the work, or would anybody do it. Incentive to cheat if the coolant is truly good for life, why not give you a wall job, but tell you what you want to hear, that the coolant has been replaced? For pete's sake, it only costs $24 for lifetime German coolant....
Hi,

We had an engaging thread on coolant not too long ago. BMWNA claims "lifetime coolant" but the local dealer looked around and then whispered "change your coolant".

Since I don't believe in lifetime coolant either, I was going to have it done whether or not the dealer agreed with me.

Not only is the coolant only $24, the actual job isn't that expensive either. Can't understand BMW's resistance other than it adds up, with so many cars under warranty.
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      08-13-2012, 08:22 PM   #12
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[quote=othomasjr]What would happen if you didn't have it done? QUOTE]

You could find yourself suddenly without effective brakes. Do flush the brake fluid regularly. Brake fluid is hygroscopic and the absorbed moisture is fairly compressible plus, when heated, it creates vapor, which is even more compressible. All of this is before corrosion sets in.

Brakes are funny that way, they fail at the worst possible time.

Regards.
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      08-13-2012, 08:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
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No, the stealership in Florence SC. It's changed names about 3 times in as many years. It was Newsome Automotive for a long time. Now it's called Five Star.
They will seriously rape you in very short order. They are very difficult to deal with on warranty issues as well.
I don't get it. They only hurt themselves. I would never buy a car from them based purely on their poor excuse of a service department.
Good, I was about to say Rick Hendrick BMW is a great dealership to deal with, but I wouldn't doubt it if they would raise the price just like every thing else in Charleston. That sucks for you hopefully fellow members see this and take their business elsewhere
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      08-13-2012, 08:37 PM   #14
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WHY WHY WHY Read the post link below

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=149986
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      08-13-2012, 08:40 PM   #15
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same here im stretching it to close to 3 years, gonna have it done in october. I also did the same for the cabin filter.

My dad, who doesnt service anything until things start to break, never changed a fluid in his life aside oil changes. he had a 1990 audi that got it's first brake fluid flush after 14 years (only because i started driving it and decided it was time for a tune up). and a mazda3 that's 9 years old that is also still on the original fluid. he doesn't drive much so the cars had less then 150k on both combined.
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      08-13-2012, 09:29 PM   #16
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I understand the properties of brake fluid and the "possible" consequences.but I really don't think it is worth the money to pay some one else to do it or the time for you to do it unless you happen to be working in the area (ie replacing brake lines) or you take the car to the track often.

I have changed brake fluid in cars before that were over 10 years old with 100k + miles with no perceptable change in braking performance. Also I don't really think any modern cars brake system will "rust out" if you don't change your fluid every few years. It has a higher chance of rusting from the outside imo.

So if you are changing the brake lines or calipers, by all means swap your fluid too, otherwise worry about something else.
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      08-13-2012, 09:34 PM   #17
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I just paid $45 and got it done at a local Shop that works on euro cars. It was pretty dirty looking before hand, they did a great job.
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      08-13-2012, 09:57 PM   #18
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In the real world whether your brakes need flushing at 2 years probably comes down to many factors that will vary from car to car...driving habit, frequency, environmental conditions, time parked etc etc.

For me, brake fluid is a very nominal cost in a VERY essential safety component of my car. I do not understand shelling out for expensive cars but then being reluctant to follow the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule. You do not even have to get the job done by the dealership...so it's not just a cash grab...there are reasons you want to be SURE your brake fluid is up to the task when you need it most.
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      08-13-2012, 10:38 PM   #19
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I use a motive power bleeder and use ATE dot 4, as someone else noted they have changed the interval to 3 years. You definitely want to do this however its not as critical as other fluids. A good sign is if your pedal feels spongy, or not as firm, its time to bleed.
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      08-14-2012, 07:13 AM   #20
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Quote:
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I understand the properties of brake fluid and the "possible" consequences.but I really don't think it is worth the money to pay some one else to do it or the time for you to do it unless you happen to be working in the area (ie replacing brake lines) or you take the car to the track often.

I have changed brake fluid in cars before that were over 10 years old with 100k + miles with no perceptable change in braking performance. Also I don't really think any modern cars brake system will "rust out" if you don't change your fluid every few years. It has a higher chance of rusting from the outside imo.

So if you are changing the brake lines or calipers, by all means swap your fluid too, otherwise worry about something else.

...and making note of your ID so I don't buy any of your used cars....

Snide remarks aside, an "enthusiast" schedule specifies ANNUAL brake fluid flushes. I endeavor to follow that schedule but sometimes it slips to two years. I use long life brake fluid like ATE Type200/Super Blue and even at that I can FEEL the improvement in the brake and clutch action even when changed every year.

In my book if there was an improvement in system operation, then the old fluid had changed or degraded. To me this seems pretty obvious that even annual changes are not a "waste".

Now, that being said, I DIY all of this work and when I'm flushing annually I don't bother to hook up diagnostic computers and operate the DSC/ABS. With a frequent flush interval like 1-2 years I allow natural DSC/ABS activity (mostly in the winter) to cycle the fluid through the system. Since it's all pretty "fresh" and none of it is critically old I don't have to be as anal about making sure I get every drop out.

Your brakes and clutch will feel better when the fluid is regularly serviced. That seems to be worth nothing to people. So many people on this forum are drinking the "lifetime fluid" and "why bother" mentality to short cut maintenance.
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      08-14-2012, 07:42 AM   #21
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dealer just did brake flush on my Z4. I thought it was excessive on a car with only 1000 miles on it. the dealer said it has 2 be done every 2 years regardless of mileage. It was covered under warranty so I figured what the hell do it. I have had cars that were over 10 years old 100,000 miles on them that never got flushed except for a little when bleeding after brake job ,never a problem.
Given the price of BMW parts and the fact we a talking about maybe $10 in brake fluid and how simple it is to bleed brakes I Will continue to do it even after the warranty ends
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      08-14-2012, 08:51 AM   #22
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If you do a flush do not use fluid made for racing as it does not contain the necessary corrosion inhibitors for the 2-3 yr interval.
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