Vehicle Care Question

WifeGeeding and I own a 2004 Toyota 4Runner SR5 with about 48,000 miles and no where in the maintenance book does it mention changing the power steering or brake fluid.

Any thoughts on how often these two fluids should be changed? 

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4 Responses to Vehicle Care Question

  1. haymoose says:

    I have three vehicles, two of which have over 150k. My brake fluid rule of thumb is to request the service tech flush the lines when having the pads replaced. A good shop will flush the line until the new clear fluid pours from the drain nut-thingy.

    The power steering fluid, I have mine flushed every time I have the serpentine belt replaced (twice since buying the truck) This may be overkill but here in the South the heat can really put the hurt on fluids like this. I am the type that pays for a car then drives it for a very long time.

  2. DB says:

    I would call your local Toyota dealer (that you trust) and ask the service advisor what Toyota recommends. Don’t depend on the local ‘quickie lube’ to advise you. They will likely do a good job doing the work, but I don’t always agree with their frequency recommendations.

  3. Paul says:

    Brake fluid, after 60,000 miles, but you’ll only reallyl need to do it once. Power steering fluid, never, thats all smoke and mirrors. All they actually due is drain the resevior, fill it with new fluid and repeat the process over and over. It’s not really a flush. Also in my 20 years fo working on cars (currently with Infiniti as a Service Manager) I’ve never seen any part of a power steering system fail due to fluid conditions. Everytime a sales rep. trys to sell me a power-steering “flushing” machine I ask him how he can do his job with a clear concience.

  4. DB says:

    Follow up:
    I spoke with a Mechanical Engineering family member (who also happens to be the wisest person I know when it comes to engines and vehicles). His feedback was that it depended on how long you planned on keeping the vehicle. With today’s improved fluids, if you are going to keep it 10+ years/150k miles then you should consider flushing the fluids. If you are more of a ‘get rid of it at 100k’ driver, don’t worry about it.

    He has a 150k mile Tahoe and a 150k mile Toyota Avalon.

    He does a partial flush/replace on the Tahoe whenever the fluid gets dark (it goes in clear). He does this be siphoning the fluid out of the master cylinder and then replacing it (without worrying about the fluid in the lines). This gets about 70% of the fluid and he figures it is close enough. On the Tahoe this is about every two years.

    He checks the Avalon regularly also, but has found that fluid has never changed color. (I believe it is a synthetic of some kind.) He has never tried to flush this since it has never appeared to be contaminated.

    Odds are that your truck has the synthetic fluid as well. To be safe you could flush it at around 100k, but don’t lose too much sleep over it due to the improved fluids used by the manufacturers.

    The same rules of thumb apply to the power steering fluid.

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