When a mechanic suggests you need a brake flush, many drivers fear that their wallets are being flushed instead. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact of the matter is now that cars have advanced braking systems that contain lots of expensive components, so it makes sense to periodically flush the system.
If you’re not sure how often your brake fluid should be flushed, look over your car’s suggested maintenance schedule. You should have received either a handbook/manual, and/or a DVD-based manual with your vehicle. If you don’t have either, you can always go online and look up your manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule.
Recommendations for brake-flushes vary, based on the manufacturer and vehicle. Mercedes Benz, for example, recommends a brake flush every two years or 20,000 miles. Toyota says brake flushes never need to be done, while Lexus, which is owned by Toyota and is similarly made, recommends it be performed every three years or 30,000 miles. Go figure.
It’s critical to change your brake fluid when the manufacturer suggests because brake fluid is hygroscopic in nature. This means it has the ability to absorb water molecules from the outside which can cause rust to form in your brake components. When that occurs, it can cause costly repairs, which could have been easily avoided by flushing your brakes.
It makes most sense to have you brakes flushed when your brakes are already being replaced, or you’re getting a brake inspection. Since your car is already in the shop, the cost of the repair should be less than if you had just scheduled a brake flush service by itself.
The service costs for brake flushes can vary significantly, depending upon the make and model of your vehicle. For instance a brake fluid flush at a Mercedes-Benz dealer might cost up to $300, whereas if you had a Toyota, and had the job done at an independent auto-repair shop, it might cost you $70-100.