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GM dealerships with service items/specials on "neglected" fluid flushes


GM-midsize-guy
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I've noticed that my 6+ year old W-body Buick has now crept into the mileage zone where they have about 3 different flushes they are interested in selling me:

 

1. Fuel injector and fuel system flush - I decline. I never did this with my last Buick that approached 300,000 miles. I just use better gasoline, don't take the tank down too low, and put in Chevron Techron fuel injector cleaner every other oil change. I'm still getting at least EPA sticker fuel mileage. Do you do this service or decline it?

 

2. Power steering system flush - I decline. I never did this with my last Buick and I never had any problems. Power steering fluid rarely changes into dark colors and a sludgy consistency. Do you do this service or decline it?

 

3. Brake fluid flush - Seriously. I decline. I want my brake fluid bled when they are doing brake work on an axle, not independently for the heck of it. I'll do it when the brakes need replacement. Why do they even offer this as a stand alone service item?

 

I also drop and drain the transmission fluid and replace the filter. I recently did that for the first time. I won't have them do the flush, especially as the car gets older.

 

Anyone else who is NOT a big fan of all these fluid flushing coupons and service specials?

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brake fluid flush isn't a bad idea actually..... the master cylinder cap isn't 100% sealed AFAIK and the brake fluid will draw moisture out of the air, which will lower the boiling point of the fluid, along with cause internal corrosion.

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brake fluid flush isn't a bad idea actually..... the master cylinder cap isn't 100% sealed AFAIK and the brake fluid will draw moisture out of the air, which will lower the boiling point of the fluid, along with cause internal corrosion.

that is true, brake fluid is hygroscopic and collects moisture as a hobby

owner's manuals on most cars recomend replacing it every 2 years, though to be honest I never bothered unless the fluid looked nasty

 

the other two are a waste of time and money, and honestly, if you don't use Bob's gas, so is injector cleaner

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Power steering flush. Don't do it. Unless you have to replace a line or something. I just replaced a line, and I replaced my power steering fluid a couple days ago.

 

Brake fluid, should be changed. I flushed mine and bled the brakes. I assumed it hasn't been done in 14 years on my car so might as well.

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There's no filter in the PS system, so the only way to remove all the abrasive wear particles is to change the fluid. I've done this on all my vehicles, either as part of repair work, or as a stand-alone fluid flush.

 

Brake fluid--as said. Ever had the pedal go to the floor on a steep mountain road? I was a passenger in such a vehicle --my friend's Dodge Dart. Brakes got used hard, got hot, fluid boiled in the calipers...and no more front brakes. Scary. I try to flush every three years. I always flush when I change the brake linings, but my vehicles are going a lot more than three years between lining replacements.

 

Engine coolant--the ordinary stuff is supposed to be good for two years. I usually get five out of it, and yes, I do test it for acid content and for voltage. The extended-life coolant is supposed to be good for five years, and I'm getting more than that--but I don't know how much more...yet. Again, there's no filter, so all you can do is test for voltage and acid and freeze protection.

 

If you're buying Top Tier gasoline, you probably don't ever need to add injector cleaner. I buy Top Tier sometimes, but not always. Techron goes on sale fairly often, so I dump a bottle in at oil-change time. I'm probably being paranoid.

 

EVERY fluid in a vehicle has a limited service life before it gets contaminated or otherwise worn-out. What I WON'T do is pay some gravy-slurper at a stealership to do simple work I can do myself. You're nuts to have this work done at a shop...you're just as nuts to not do it at all.

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since you brought it up....

 

power steering filter on the return line, useful or unnecessary failure point?

I'm considering one for my Jeep Grand Cherokee steering gear swap into my El Camino. Haven't bought the filter yet. I've never used a PS filter. I don't know why they'd be a bad idea--provided a person uses decent hose clamps on the filter barbs. I'm not too hot on throwing a couple of thirty-cent Breeze clamps on there and hoping for the best. Decent fuel-injection clamps probably aren't big enough to go around PS return hose. PS Return hose has a pretty huge outside diameter.

 

In short...I'm not moving too fast on that project, and in the end I'll probably pass on the filter out of laziness more than disrespect of the concept.

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I would just do it all yourself, do the brake fluid change as you change pads. If your really into changing your power steering fluid, buy a few courts and use a turkey baster. Suck out as much as you can from the res, fill it back up. and do the same thing in a week or two. Stay away from the trans flushes. They are usually pressure type systems that cram the shit and such in the system into little holes and crap. Seen many of trans come back after a fluid flush. Just my two cents

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Transmission fluid definitely needs changed, but you do need to be very careful. The pressure types are indeed 'bad', but the full fluid exchange types that just use the transmission's own pump are ideal. If you have a problem after that, the problem was already there.

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I would just do it all yourself, do the brake fluid change as you change pads. If your really into changing your power steering fluid, buy a few courts and use a turkey baster. Suck out as much as you can from the res, fill it back up. and do the same thing in a week or two. Stay away from the trans flushes. They are usually pressure type systems that cram the shit and such in the system into little holes and crap. Seen many of trans come back after a fluid flush. Just my two cents

 

I agree. Most of these fluid we can do ourselves. I have never had a mechanic or dealership change any of my fluids. If you need pick up a Chilton's or such and set aside a weekend. Don't be scared, they don't need any special skills in most cases except removing a plug bolt. The coolant is probably the only one which really requires special care with its bleeding procedure.

 

 

this IS a General Motors product and the general rule is that nothing should make actual sense.

 

Oh my neighbor's child has learned a lot of 'creative language' when I'm working on my cars. :biggrin:

Edited by goumba
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Thank you for all the input:

 

1. Agreed on the lack of need to do the injector flush. I'm going to keep on using high grade gasoline and putting in Techron every 5,000 miles.

 

2. Power steering flush discussion is interesting. I'm guessing there's no filter on the 2008 Series III 3800 V6 and there was no filter on the 1992 Series I 3800 V6, where I didn't have any problems.

 

3. I will do the brake fluid with my first set of front brake pads, which I expect to do sooner than later, even though it is a low mileage car.

 

4. Totally agree on NO pressure flushes for transmission. I do it the "old school" way and just do it often. I've talked to advisers who are both for and against the pressure flush method.

 

Good input. Thanks.

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  • 7 years later...

Getting ready t change the transmission filter and fluid in my 2001 Grand Prix SE.

I have about 104,500 miles on it.

I don't know if it was ever changed.

Do you think it's a good idea to change the fluid and filter at this mileage?

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You should be fine, just dropping the pan and filter wont drain the entire transmission. Just pay attention to anything in the bottom of the pan and add a magnet if there isnt one already.

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On 1/8/2022 at 9:25 PM, Bubinga said:

Getting ready t change the transmission filter and fluid in my 2001 Grand Prix SE.

I have about 104,500 miles on it.

I don't know if it was ever changed.

Do you think it's a good idea to change the fluid and filter at this mileage?

Ideally, it would have been changed some years ago.  However, better to change it now than to not change it.  You're not doing a transmission any favors by failing to change depleted/contaminated/burnt fluid.

A "pan drop" is OK.  Better still would be to drop one of the cooler tubes* so you can pump the pan empty before removing it--no spilling, no mess, and NO NEED FOR A DRAIN PLUG on the trans pan. Just start the engine, shut it off when the fluid coming out sputters instead of a solid stream from the cooler tube as it's expelled into the drain pan.  Drop and clean the pan 'n' magnet, replace the filter, replace or re-use the gasket depending on it's condition--the OEM gaskets on newer vehicles tend to be quite nice.  Reinstall the pan.

Pour 5 quarts of fluid down the dipstick tube, open eight or perhaps ten more quarts and keep 'em near-by.  Start engine, dump fluid down the dipstick tube as fast as it will flow.  Watch the fluid spraying out the cooler tube into the drain pan.  When that fluid looks as bright, virgin-new as the stuff you're pouring down the dipstick tube, shut off the engine.  Re-connect cooler tube.  Start engine, top off fluid as needed.

Not only did you get a panfull of fresh fluid, you've also flushed the crappy, depleted fluid from the torque converter.  Two people--one to start and stop the engine, the other to pour fresh fluid, and watch the fluid coming out of the cooler tube--is helpful, but not absolutely required.  I do this by myself.

*Which tube to drop at the cooler, depends on how OCD you are.  IF (big IF) you want to do this the absolute best way, you'll disconnect the cooler tube that routes the cooled fluid back to the transmission.  Install a short piece of tubing into the cooler, so that it sprays into a drain pan.  You should be able to buy a foot-long or eighteen-inch section of tubing at most any parts store--but make sure it has the same sort of connector system on the end that your OEM cooler tube has.  That way you're flushing the transmission AND the cooler.  Otherwise, just drop the tube that carries the hot fluid to the cooler, and arrange things so it sprays directly into the drain pan; perhaps by putting a section of rubber hose on the end that you can use as a "nozzle" to direct the fluid.

Edited by Schurkey
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