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Our 2011 Kia Sorento has just under 15,000 miles. We took the car into the dealership in response to a recall notice. The dealership called my husband to say that our brake fluid was the wrong color and needed to be flushed. My husband didn't want to be unsure about the brakes so authorized the procedure. Was it really necessary? The charge was $120.00
 

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Cerato S Hatch Auto
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$120 for that sounds like a scam; they're probably trying to defray the cost of the recall.

15,000 miles isn't very far and it's unlikely that anything would have been wrong with the brakes or brake fluid. Anything happening that soon would almost be a warranty issue.

Personally, I get the brakes flushed (maybe just bled) when the pads are changed somewhere around 60,000 km.
 

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$120 is usurious. If you've got a lift, it's a 5-10 minute procedure. Flushing the brake fluid isn't a horrible idea every couple of years, but it's by no means mandated, required for your warranty, etc.

If you've got 20-30 minutes and a power bleeder, you can do it at home for the cost of a few bottles of brake fluid (about $10). I use one of these:

Motive Products #1 Selling DIY Brake Bleeder
 

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When I have asked shops they usually charge $80-$100 to do the job, so $120 from a dealer is not out of the realm of reality. To answer your question - No, you did not *need* to have it done, although Yes, it is a good idea to flush the lines every 2-3 years. That said I agree with the above posters. Bleeding the brakes is *so* easy to do on your own and *so* inexpensive that it is worth taking the time to learn how to do it and do it yourself.

I have heard great things about the motive bleeder linked to above. I am too cheap for that so I just have a mityvac to do the job. I would ideally like to get speed bleeders but I don't know the screw size on the bleeder screw to tell the guys when I call to order them.
 

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As far as I'm concerned, the only time you need to change your brake fluid is if it discolors. After 15k miles, without even getting a chance to see it, you got taken for a ride. Sorry.
 

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^^ Yep.

Water is evil when it comes to brake fluid. And it happens based on time, not on miles. BMW's even are set to nag you every two years to change it out.

$120 is expensive for what you get, but as far as dealer prices go, it's not bad.

If you do it yourself, you're talking about $30 for a miti-vac and about $10 for brake fluid. You'll also need a wrench (likely 10mm). To do it with the miti-vac, you only need one person. If you're going to do it without the mitivac, then you need two people.

If your fluid is still clear, you can always use different color brake fluids to make sure that you always get all of the old fluid out. Also, conventional wisdom is to work with the furthest wheel away from the master cylinder, so on a LHD car, it's passenger rear, driver rear, passenger front, driver front.

Also keep in mind your 2011 might have been built in 2010, so the fluid could be nearly 3 years old. The service adviser was mostly padding the bill, but it really was time to do it anyway.
 

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The brake fluid is made to absorb moisture. Moisture will get into the system, and if the fluid doesn't absorb the water, it'll pool in the low spots--the calipers--and rust. Brake fluid that contains moisture has two problems...it'll eventually cause corrosion in the calipers, and the biggie is that it will boil at a relatively low temperature under the heat of emergency braking. If the brake fluid boils your pedal goes to the floor and you have no brakes.

This happened to a friend towing a horse trailer down Mt. Adams. When he finally got safely stopped he took several deep breaths, looked his brake system over and saw no problems. When he restarted his drive his brakes worked OK. His mechanic told him about boiling brake fluid. There was another case nearby where a car in a state park was going down a very steep incline, lost the brakes, crashed, and killed a child. The police investigation, as noted in the newspaper, determined the cause to be boiling brake fluid. In both these cases the drivers should have done two things differently--had their brake fluid flushed periodically and shifted to low gear for the steep downhill grade. In another crash, an motor home coming down a steep hill, the newspaper reported that the passengers said they saw the driver pumping the brake pedal repeatedly down to the floor. The crash killed the driver. Overheating the brakes with the pedal going to the floor is consistent with boiling brake fluid. He would be alive if he'd downshifted and maybe also had fresh brake fluid.
 

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Brake fluid is like all other fluids on vehicles... it break down over time. Brake fluid is susceptible to moisture, heat, corrosion, etc. I have looked at owners manuals of the same vehicles in Europe and it is mandated to change brake fluid every 2-3 years to make sure that braking systems are safe and working properly. Honda, BMW and others also require brake fluid to be changed on US models, again every 2-3 years. With all of that said, color of fluid is not always the best indicator, there are test strips that give a more accurate indication of the condition of brake fluid. I would also say $120.00 seems a little high for this service. In my area I have priced the service and it ranges from 89.00 - 109.00. I like to maintain my cars. It's pay a little for maintenance or a lot for repair. I keep my cars for 200,000-300,000 miles before I trade them in. I know manufactures will tell you basically change your oil and everything is good. If you trade cars in every 2-3 years I would agree with this. In my opinion its all about your personal driving habits and how long you plan to keep your vehicles. Changing brake fluid, transmission fluid, oil, coolant, etc... is a good maintenance practice.
 
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