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Why does the brake fluid have a 25k replacement period?

Why does the brake fluid have a 25k replacement period?

Considering the pads virtually never need replace, why is the brake fluid replacement stated to be every 25k? That’s ridicules for any car!

Magic 8 Ball | January 10, 2019

It is not ridiculous for any car. The model 3 uses DOT 3 fluid and the fluid attracts water (hygroscopic). It is best to replace it as recommended.

RES IPSA | January 10, 2019

I plan on skipping the 25k (or 2 year) service... I will complete the full 50k service which includes the battery coolant.

I have never replaced the brake fluid after 25k on any car I have ever owned...

coleAK | January 10, 2019

All DOT break fluid should be changed at least every 2 years regardless of miles. I do my own takes ~45 min.

coleAK | January 10, 2019

Also usually skipping maintenance voids warranty.

lbowroom | January 10, 2019

Only on components directly affected by the maintenance skipped.

Tuning In | January 10, 2019

45 minutes of my time just to save $100? I’ll just do my work in their lobby while they fuss with doing the oil change. I have the Motive brake bleed system and it’s made sense when I was driving a much cheaper car and making less money. Now the math just doesn’t make sense.

jordanrichard | January 10, 2019

For those that never changed their brake fluid. What color was your brake fluid? I am going to bet it wasn’t clear like it should be.

RES IPSA | January 10, 2019

Has the price of M3 schedule maintenance (2 year and 4 year) been announced?

AWDTesla | January 11, 2019

I change brake fluid every 2 years. Twice a year on track car.

determination | January 11, 2019

I think the real question is why brake fluid service isn't mentioned in a lot of maintenance schedules for other cars. Glad to see Tesla has it. People don't seem to understand the importance of changing it regularly. And don't get me started on the government ban on blue brake fluid...

Hal Fisher | January 11, 2019

Maybe with auto pilot the system needs the brake pressure working at optimum. You won’t feel a difference with your foot between never changing, and changing every 25k. Only if you get air in them is it usually noticeable with your foot.

Magic 8 Ball | January 11, 2019

The water absorbed by brake fluid corrodes the brake system components. Brake fluid should be replaced regularly.

Arktctr | January 11, 2019

My Spark EV also has this maintenance interval and considering how little else needs to be done on these cars regularly I didn’t think anything of it. On the Spark, you don’t even need to rotate tires since they are different sizes front and back (but also because they wear out after 10-15k anyhow, ha!). I would say they recommend it for a reason and if you plan on keeping your car you should do at least the minimum.

abush121 | January 11, 2019

I'm gonna trust the engineers who designed the car and spent who knows how much on the r&d making the car on this one.

JAD | January 11, 2019

Over time the brake fluid absorbs moisture from the air. The more water in the fluid the more it corrodes the entire system but also it lowers the boiling point of the fluid. Good quality fresh fluid boils at about 500 degrees, dirty old fluid may boil at 200 degrees or less. This is fine until you actually use your brakes hard a couple of times and the fluid boils which causes the pedal to go to the floor and you have no brakes suddenly.

Change the fluid, 2-3 times a year for track use, every 2 years or so for normal use. Good for extending the life of all the components and for having the brakes ready for heavy use when needed.

coleAK | January 11, 2019

@TUNING. I get them whole time is money process but for me I enjoy working on cars. Also possibly I’ve just gotten more picky but in the last 10-15 years almost every dealer I’ve had service at does sub standard work or messesses something up. I’ll pay for service all day if the work is done well but I get annoyed when I pay for service then do it myself. Our local MB dealer was the acception, they did great work and when I had my G took it there for everything. However they changed ownership and now I do most the PM on my sons E. From what I’ve seen of pictures Tesla rangers and when they changed my tail lights I’ll probably be doing what I can on the model 3

jordanrichard | January 11, 2019

determination, look at the service manual for ANY European car and you will find it. I know that when we had a Honda and a Subaru, it was mentioned.

It is the domestic companies that don't mention it. Two reasons IMHO: They want to give the impression that their cars are less maintenance intensive, meaning cheaper to maintain. Two: pre-planned obsolescence. They want there to be brake issues to either sell you on related repairs or to further perpetuate the reason you should get a new car.........

The way I look at it, German cars have to endure much higher speeds and equally demanding braking situations on the Autobahn. So if they say replace the brake fluid every two years and like Mercedes even going so far as citing a preferable time of the year (Spring) to do it, I will listen to them more than the Ford dealer saying "don't worry about it"

lbowroom | January 11, 2019

JAD, what's your fluid of choice for the Model 3, or do you not endorse products publicly?

JAD | January 11, 2019

For racing I use Motul or SuperBlue, but really it is more about changing it regularly than a particular brand. M3 still has factory fluid with light track use and only a few months old I haven't changed it yet.

007bond | January 11, 2019

Actually for brake fluid it is more important at 2 years not the miles as the brake fluid absorbs moisture over time not miles. So if I drove 100k in a single year I would not replace my brake fluid, I would wait till the car was 2 years old.

Replacing the fluid is cheap insurance, you can pass on the replacement and take your chances. But replacing an ABS controller due to water in the fluid will cost you 20 times the fluid change.

To each his own on this topic.

RES IPSA | January 11, 2019

I appreciate all the advice and have learned a lot.

I have hardly ever charged brake fluid since I do not race cars on a track. I still have a 1995 Camry with 307k miles. I have changed the brake fluiMy 1995d 3 times... each at 100k intervals. Same with my 2010 Prius with 180k miles. Only changed that brake fluid once at 100k miles. Brakes are still fine in both cars.

Is there some sort of difference between my M3 and my Toyota's regarding brake fluid? I am asking a serious question...

RES IPSA | January 11, 2019

sloppy writing... I have only changed the brake fluid in 1995 Camry 3 times, each time at 100k miles...

Magic 8 Ball | January 11, 2019

Reality is that brakes are over rated. Probably just best to do what you want and let nature take its course.

I suspect TESLA engineers may be conservative with the number and that most people do not change the brake fluid until they need a brake job (60K miles or so). With TESLA's not needing brake jobs, as frequently, they push for the fluid change you normally get when you get an ICE car brake job done.

You think your brakes may be fine but with the infrequent oil changes your system may not be in as good a condition as it should be. Allowing old fluid to remain in the system will allow corrosion to happen and you will not notice it until a catastrophic failure. Replacing the fluid does not fix the corrosion that happened by leaving fluid in too long.

Magic 8 Ball | January 11, 2019

infrequent fluid changes

JAD | January 11, 2019

Nothing special about the model 3 brakes fluid, it should actually last longer as the heat cycling is far less. As with most maintenance, it will make the system work better for longer. Did you change the engine oil in your Camry? I am guessing you did if it lasted that long, but it probably would have made 50k miles without an oil change.

RES IPSA | January 11, 2019

@Magic.... that makes sense. I just thought waiting until 50k or 4 years would be fine. But I also want cabin filter changed and new wipers, so it is $400 or less, I will probably do the 2 year service. I will definitely do the 4 year service

@JAD... oil changes every 5000 miles... that is when the tires would be rotated too. Original engine, transmission (fluid changed every 100k miles with the brake fluid), AC, struts, etc... the car has been a miracle. Exterior paint is horrible and a few rips in the front seats... that's all that is wrong. Auto windows still work great

Magic 8 Ball | January 11, 2019

@RES I think if you don't change the fluid in two years, and say your brakes fail in year three, wouldn't you think TESLA would have a good argument to not be liable for the failure?

RES IPSA | January 11, 2019

@Magic... I total agree that Tesla would and should not cover any such damage that resulted from my willful disregard of a maintenance issue that I was clearly made of. I just wonder if it is really necessary... like Toyota always recommended an oil change every 3000 miles. But other experts said every 5000 miles is total fine.

RES IPSA | January 11, 2019

Is it a risk worth taking? Especially when approximately $400 will not take food off of my table? Probably not worth the risk. I just don't want to spend money when not necessary

RES IPSA | January 11, 2019

And I have learned that it is not use or mileage that requires the brake fluid to be changed. I initially thought before this thread that changing the fluid at 25k or two years for brakes I hardly use was not necessary.

Now I know differently

Magic 8 Ball | January 11, 2019

@RES I think "necessary" is the topic of debate and a matter of opinion. Time to call the expert witnesses and see who is more believable.

RES IPSA | January 11, 2019

I don't know any of you personally, but @Magic and @ColeAK and @Bighorn seem to know a lot more than I do about cars in general... I lost my trusted mechanic a year ago to a heart attack, and the new guys I go to seem untrustworthy.

Glad I got the M3 as my new car... no need for a lot of those repairs

howard | January 11, 2019

Audi thinks it is important enough to include it in the prepaid service. Every two years or 20,000 I think.

syclone | January 12, 2019

I agree that brake fluid should be changed every two years. But that really begs the question: How does moisture get into a sealed system?

jdcollins5 | January 12, 2019

I completely understand the recommendation of changing brake fluid every two years. I know Honda has been recommending every 3 years for a long time now.

Having said that, I never changed the brake fluid in my 2010 Prius in 9 years and 137,000 miles. It was still just as clear with an amber tint in 2019 as in 2010. I used brake fluid testing strips every year. The test strips never indicated any presence of moisture.

If it gives you a sense of security to change the brake fluid by all means do so. The brake test strips gave me my sense of security.

Hal Fisher | January 12, 2019

Syclone, the brake pistons are not completely sealed. Even just opening to view level in high humidity can cause a bit. But if the pistons are well designed, and your not racing and over heating the fluid, it usually stays fine.

vmulla | January 12, 2019

I was not aware of the 2yr/25k service on brake fluid, and Tesla service folks didn't call this out when I visited them at 28K.
I'm at 11months and 29.3K now, I should reach out to my friends at Tesla and see what they recommend.

JAD | January 12, 2019

You will probably be ok not changing it for normal use, especially with an EV that doesn't use the brakes. Just know if you decide an autocross is a good idea, the brakes will fail to the point you have to pump the pedal to stop the car. Happens at autocross all the time with older fluid.

I personally want my brakes to work really well, not adequately for normal use, which is why manufacturer recommend changing the fluid. I bet many of you will find the fluid was changed as part of your maintenance 2 and you didn't even know it was done.

M3BlueGeorgia | January 12, 2019

"...Chevrolet calls for a brake fluid change on most models every 45,000 miles, but Honda says to do it every three years regardless of the vehicle's mileage. Three years is also the recommended interval for most Volkswagens, but Mercedes-Benz vehicles typically call for fresh fluid every two years or 20,000 miles..."

https://www.cars.com/articles/how-often-do-i-need-to-change-my-brake-flu...

jefjes | January 12, 2019

@jdcollins5- The test strip idea sounds interesting but to use them requires exposing the fluid to air which would allow moisture absorption. Probably not enough to be concerning and no more than adding some fluid as pad wear would normally be lowering the fluid level. I may look into these and test the fluid before spending the $400 at 2 years 25k mile service interval. If the fluid looks good, brakes feel, good, and the test strip is indicating good, I will probably roll the dice and push it out to the 4-year mark.

gballant4570 | January 12, 2019

I actually learned a few things reading this thread. I've been one who never changed brake fluid, although since I did all scheduled maintenance on my 2008 Smart that brake fluid likely was changed. I always thought is was road salt exposure was solely responsible for brake line corrosion in some older pick ups and other vehicles I've owned, but now I see that there were likely other factors involved.

I'll do all scheduled maintenance on my Tesla -m or I should say have all scheduled maintenance done. Too large an investment to not protect. it I stopped putting my hands in there some years back.....when I started breaking more than I was fixing.....

BillyDale | January 12, 2019

Is there anyone who knows for sure what the Service visit would cost, at 2yr and 4yr for the M3? Is the $400 being mentioned for real or just a guess? I read in one thread where an MS owner indicated that his 2yr brake flush was about $725 & then 4yr with the brakes & battery was about $850.

jdcollins5 | January 12, 2019

@jefjes - You are right about breaking the seal on the brake fluid reservoir can expose the fluid to moisture. I always tried to find a sunny day with low humidity to do this. It is one of those catch 22 situations.

texxx | January 12, 2019

Any reason why the M3 (or any new car for that matter these days) wouldn't use DOT 4 or 5 fluid given the enhanced resistance to moisture absorption?

Magic 8 Ball | January 12, 2019

@texxx I have not heard of one.

RES IPSA | January 12, 2019

@wdsmith... The $400 figure I placed earlier on this thread was a guess. I had read somewhere that the MS had a $850 cost at the 4 year service(which, as you pointed out, costs $850... according to what I read).

I figured it would be about half as much since no battery service at the 2 year mark. But if it is $750 (or around that) for the 2 year service on the M3, that seems expensive.

I am wondering if it makes sense to do the 4 year service at the 3 year mark? I only plan on keeping this M3 for 5 years. And I am keeping the mileage low... about 10k a year.

Last time I replaced the brake fluid on my 2010 Prius, the total cost was $110. The Toyota dealer wanted $290.

jordanrichard | January 12, 2019

I still don’t know why everyone keeps making this out to be something Tesla made up. For decades Mercedes has been recommending this and as others have point out, other companies recommend it. The corrosion that developes from old brake fluid is on the inside of the brake lines and in the calipers. Brake calipers are juts a housing for the pistions that actually do the braking by squeezing against the rotor. For smooth operation, you don’t want there to be corrosion on/around the piston.

kawdennis | January 12, 2019

I use synthetic oil on both my Toyota’s change oil every 10,000 miles per Toyota

RES IPSA | January 12, 2019

I get a $15 ($21 total after fees) conventional oil change every 5k in 1995 Camry and 2010 Prius. Engines still good after 307k miles on Camry and 180k miles on Prius. They always try to push me towards the $60 synthetic oil change... $90 at the dealership

RES IPSA | January 12, 2019

I guess I just want to do what is necessary at the necessary time... What is sometimes recommended may be overkill.

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