Brake fluid flush cost

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ramtruckrob

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I've recently changed all of the fluids in my truck including coolant, front and rear diff, transfer case, and transmission. I have never replaced the brake fluid and I feel like I'd need some sort of vacuum device to do it so I'd like to know what shops are charging for this service. I may ask to have it done at my next oil change. Truck has 111k miles and I'm not having any obvious brake problems. I have replaced the rotors and pads in the past but I didn't replace the fluid.

For some reason the forum says I don't have permission to post on the wheels and brakes section....
 

Mister Luck

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Brake flush is a loaded term used by repair shops or dealerships to charge the vehicle owner for topping off their brake fluid reservoir $200 to $400 and they’ll tell you they flush the lines clean with solvent and in only extreme cases is this necessary and you can do that your self with isopropyl alcohol but just bleeding the system a few times is all it takes.
(Not in all cases)
When you have your brakes replaced or serviced the service requires the brake fluid to be bleed and depending on the extent of the components removed and replaced that are attached to your vehicle brake lines ; air inevitably finds its way to replace escaping brake fluid , and more fluid needs to be fed into the reservoir to bleed the air out through the brake bleeder lines

This can be accomplished most of the time by repeatedly pumping and pressing the brake pedal to the floor by you or an assistant.
A pump or vacuum device helps to assist in this process but because of anti-lock brake technologies there are a couple extra steps to activate an electronic brake pump inside the anti- lock brake guild manifold and an advanced OBD2 connected controller can command the actuator to engage when certain conditions a met

Because you want to replace the fluid without a component replacement all you really need to do is bleed each individual wheel starting with the furthest from the reservoir and progressively moving to the wheel closest to it.
Only remove fluid out of the bleeder valve and not pushing fluid into it by some pump or device because you risk contaminating the system with sediments .
To replace all the fluid in the lines except for the anti-lock system you’ll want on hand about one and a half to two quarts you might not go through exactly that much but it’s better than running short in the middle of bleeding.

Don't let the reservoir run dry as not to let air into the master cylinder or you’ll need to bleed that separately and it can be messy.IMG_0427.jpeg
Make sure the bleeder hose is submerged in liquid to prevent air from being drawn back into to system before you can close the bleeder valve
 
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Mister Luck

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Sherman Bird

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Brake flush is a loaded term used by repair shops or dealerships to charge the vehicle owner for topping off their brake fluid reservoir
(Not in all cases)
When you have your brakes replaced or serviced the service requires the brake fluid to be bleed and depending on the extent of the components removed and replaced that are attached to your vehicle brake lines ; air inevitably finds its way to replace escaping brake fluid , and more fluid needs to be fed into the reservoir to bleed the air out through the brake bleeder lines

This can be accomplished most of the time by repeatedly pumping and pressing the brake pedal to the floor by you or an assistant.
A pump or vacuum device helps to assist in this process but because of anti-lock brake technologies there are a couple extra steps to activate an electronic brake pump inside the anti- lock brake guild manifold and an advanced OBD2 connected controller can command the actuator to engage when certain conditions a met

Because you want to replace the fluid without a component replacement all you really need to do is bleed each individual wheel starting with the furthest from the reservoir and progressively moving to the wheel closest to it.
Only remove fluid out of the bleeder valve and not pushing fluid into it by some pump or device because you risk contaminating the system with sediments .
To replace all the fluid in the lines except for the anti-lock system you’ll want on hand about one and a half to two quarts you might not go through exactly that much but it’s better than running short in the middle of bleeding.

Don't let the reservoir run dry as not to let air into the master cylinder or you’ll need to bleed that separately and it can be messy.View attachment 540742
Make sure the bleeder hose is submerged in liquid to prevent air from being drawn back into to system before you can close the bleeder valve
Toyota/Lexus has a neat-o feature with the electronic brake/traction/ABS system with the pump and accumulator in lieu of a vacuum booster on some models.
This system enables one to enter brake bleed function, and, in essence, flush the brakes due to the immense volume the pump moves during the procedure, thus, preserving the life of the hydraulic system!

All one needs to do is employ a helper and follow procedure in the service info. It's a tad intimidating the first time one does it because the gush of a high quantity of fluid is a bit daunting. But, once one gets the hang of it, one wonders why all systems aren't this easy to service! Peace!
 

Sherman Bird

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My local shops and the dealer charge around $115 to do a brake flush (extraction + refill).
Do they use fluid which has been stored in a tightly sealed container kept in a dry place?
Do they use DOT 3, or 4? Also, does the shop do a preliminary strip test to see how much copper and moisture has contaminated the system?
Remember, ALL brake systems vent at the reservoir cap and the fact that water has a higher specific gravity than the alcohol based bake fluid, AND brake fluid is hygroscopic, contaminants and water congregate at the lowest points in the system. Bottoms of the piston bores of calipers and bottoms of wheel cylinders.

Flushing may be inadequate to remove all contaminants from ABS hydraulics unless the flushes started in the vehicle's early life.
 

crash68

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I have never replaced the brake fluid and I feel like I'd need some sort of vacuum device to do it so I'd like to know what shops are charging for this service.
A pressure bleeder like this is easier to use and less potential to introduce air into the system:
Less likely to introduce air into the brake system.
 

Burla

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Like before covid pep boys would charge 169 for a brake flush, have no idea now, more expensive if you just get it as a stand alone as opposed addon service. It is a very easy job if you can remove your own tires and have a buddy that can pump a brake pedal. You can get dot 4 is generally an upgrade over dot 3. just dont let mc run dry., he left tires on but I prefer tires off, then use a chair and easy peasy.

 
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Docwagon1776

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It's a very easy job, especially if you have two people. Depending on clearance between caliper and rim, you probably don't even have to dismount the tire. I've never had to on the 2012 Express, haven't tried the PW yet.

Plenty of youtube videos out there, like the one Burla linked to. Basically you loosen a bleeder valve, put a hose on it, then open it, helper pushes the brake pedal to the floor and holds it, you close the valve, he lets off the brake, repeat until it runs clean. Repeat at each caliper. Start with the farthest away from the master cylinder and work your way to closest.
 

JW2 Innovations

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Like before covid pep boys would charge 169 for a brake flush, have no idea now. It is a very easy job if you can remove your own tires and have a buddy that can pump a brake pedal. You can get dot 4 is generally an upgrade over dot 3. just dont let mc run dry., he left tires on but I prefer tires off, then use a chair and easy peasy.

I've used this approach for several years now, using the same heavy gauge plastic drink bottle I picked up somewhere. If you drill the cap just right, the tube won't easily come out of the top making it nearly mess free. Works good.

Recently however, I've purchased what @crash68 listed above in this thread:

LINK - For our RAM Trucks

LINK - Trailer Adapter for those with brakes on trailers - boat or otherwise

TBH, the boat trailer is what took me down the path of this Motive Product approach since the reservoir is built in the tongue of the boat trailer vs. what we all have in a vehicle. Now that it's starting to warm up, I'll be testing it out! :)

Oh, and not to mention if you look at the adapter listings, you might find an adapter for your other vehicles as well to add to your collection. Hope this helps someone.
 

Wild one

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I just use a modified Dorman cap and my homemade 1 gallon transfer pump to bleed / flush the brake system. Cost me all of $5.00 to build the cap,lol.
 

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Jeepwalker

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It's a relatively straight-forward job as others have outlined, **UNLESS**....LOL ...unless you mistakenly (and it's easier to do than ya think!) run run the reservoir low on fluid as you are going through the bleeding process. That amounts to pumping 'air' into the truck's brake system. Then you've quadrupled the amount of work, and probably need a scan tool to run the truck through it's ABS brake bleed process. Then you might wish you paid a shop to do it.

Old fluid takes on a beer-like color, new fluid is clear as gin. So it's easy to "think" you see fluid in a dirty reservoir when it could be nearly empty. If you DO ..bleed your truck's brakes the old fashioned way, be sure not to run it low on fluid. Also don't drizzle brake fluid on paint or other surfaces (or clean it up right away if you do). Not trying to scare you...I've bled brakes the old fashioned way a bunch of times. But I've also introduced air in a few times too (but have ABS bleed scan tool). If you use care you should be able to avoid doing that.

OTOH, dealers and good repair shops have a really neat machine that looks like THIS, usually, which makes it a simple, quick and hassle-free job. It's super-slick! You attach the adapter to the lid and a vacuum hose (also on the machine) to the brake caliper you're bleeding, and it nicely and elegantly draws out and 'inserts' new fluid at the same time under low pressure. I've used those machines and if ya have access to one, it's slicker than calf slobber on a glass doorknob!

So I guess ...decide if you want to do it yourself and/or perhaps call up various shops for pricing before you decide. To answer your question, if they have the 'right' machine they ought to be able to do the flush relatively quick, therefore not cost a ton. And it's a worthwhile preventative maintenance item. But I don't have any specific prices.
 
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Jeepwalker

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To add to my post above ....You could also use any fairly low vacuum to bleed the brakes. I've even heard of people taking a blood pressure machine ($30 at Aldi's) and hooking to a *capture cup* (don't suck fluid into the bp machine). Any vacuum would work. In fact, that MotorVac II machine I linked to above, works just perfect on vacuum alone. You don't need to use the pressure side. You will need to add fluid manually, but the vacuum draws it out fairly slow (but not annoyingly slow) ...and you just add fluid as needed.

I actually prefer to use just the vacuum side of the machine (only ..no pressure side) b/c 1) it's just about as quick, 2) no searching around for reservoir cap adapters, and 3) no fluid drizzle mess when you remove the pressure coupler. The secret is to open the bleeder, turn on the machine and daub ONE DROP of 90W gear lube from a screwdriver tip onto the bleeder threads. The vacuum "sucks in" the 90W a little which creates a nice air seal around the bleeder screw threads and also lubes the bleeder screw threads so they don't seize in the future. I've done it countless times. :waytogo: But if the vehicle is up on a hoist, then the pressure & fluid feed hose works better as a guy would need to use a ladder to add fluid.

HERE is a smaller brake-bleeding machine for guys who like tools and bleed brakes a lot.
 
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tron67j

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Are you having a problem? If not, consider leaving well enough alone. Other than bleeding during brake replacement never did one on any vehicle I have owned with near a million miles. Just a thought.
 

Jeepwalker

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I suspect the OP will notice slightly improved brake pedal feel...with new fluid. It's usually how it works out. It's a very worthwhile thing to do...and a 2013 is overdue by a number of yrs I suspect. But better now than never.

And plus, it's a great way to increase brake system longevity. Avoid's internal corrosion and avoid expensive internal caliper corrosion. I took apart a brake caliper on an '03 Jeep a few yrs ago, which has had it's fluid exchanged a couple times over the 21yrs of the Jeep's life. The caliper was rusty as heck on the outside ...being from WI. I expected the inside of the caliper to be awful too. But I wanted to see. Nope! It was as clean inside as the day it left the factory! That's not an exaggeration. I was amazed. I re-lubed and re-installed the 21 year old phenolic piston, and seal/s, reinstalled the caliper. It's worked perfect since (that was about 4-5 yrs ago). But I've also seen calipers where fluid was awful which were terrible dirty and corroded inside. So exchanging fluid really does help.
 
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Jeepwalker

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Personally those hand-pump vacuum devices are very frustrating to bleed brakes with. In my experience. They work, but better to just have a *trusted helper* (wife/G-Friend??) pump the brakes per the bleeding-guy's command (and NEVER until you say).

The person pumping the pedal should not ever 'stab' the brake pedal or pump too quick. Let off the pedal in a 'measured' manner on the back-stroke, and pause a brief second between the next pumps, so ya don't introduce air. There's a certain finesse on how to pump smooth and slow, not like a monkey on crack.
 
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Sherman Bird

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Old fluid takes on a beer-like color, new fluid is clear as gin. So it's easy to "think" you see fluid in a dirty reservoir when it could be nearly empty.
I'm currently doing a complete brake job on a 2005 Suburban. It's fluid looks like nasty coffee that has sat out for a few days. I see this VERY often. In truth, the color is deep turdmucklty green, and is opague.

This is a combination of severe moisture contamination and copper traces from the metal in the system (remember, electricity running through the ABS unit can contribute to metal etching. There is a black sludge commonly found in the system too. Pretty nasty, to be sure!
 

CanuckRam1313

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I had it done on my pervious 19' Ram (and many vehicles throughout my 30+ years driving and 25+ vehicles owned to date), and my shop of 20+ years uses a vacuum brake bleed system where they connect lines to all bleeders, put a bottle of the new fluid on top of the reservoir, crack open all the bleeders and proceed to evacuate all the old fluid while introducing the new fluid into the system. I am extreme and have them cycle 2-liters of new fluid in total so that I am assured that there is no residual old fluid left in the braking fluid system.

If one doesn't have access to this type of vacuum system, then employ the standard for pump, hold, crack, bleed, tighten, repeat multiple times per caliper bleeder.

Start at the furthest caliper from the master cylinder... so, right rear, left rear, right front, left front. Repeat the cycle until everything coming out is clear on all four calipers and the reservoir is full to the max line with fresh fluid.

Brake fluid changes are a crucial process to ensuring the dependability and longevity of ones brake system.

I recommend looking into either a DOT4 or DOT5.1 upgrade with either Motul or StopTech fluid.

Utilizing a higher grade and performance engineered brake fluid only enhances the brakes optimal operational characteristics.

Not saying that the standard DOT3 fluid will not suffice, but if you're doing this work, use a better grade of fluid from a manufacturer that delivers results with that product ;)
 

Green_Manalishi

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Just my .02, my 1996 1500 I bought new has over 200k, and I've never flushed the brake fluid. Stops on a 50 cent piece.
 

WY-Dave

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I just use a modified Dorman cap and my homemade 1 gallon transfer pump to bleed / flush the brake system. Cost me all of $5.00 to build the cap,lol.
I got this some time ago for the Jeeps we had https://www.harborfreight.com/brake-fluid-bleeder-92924.html.

I have done the same thing but I use the "auto fill kit" from this.
I haven't made one for the Ram yet, heck I can't even find it right now haha.
I will use a hose on the threads to length to keep the res. level just under the max line (if needed).
I suck out the old fluid from the reservoir with a big turkey baster into a glass pickle jar.
Using a hose from the bleeder valve to the jar below the old fluid level to prevent air back into the line when releasing the brake. (one person style)

The res adapters suck, that's why I went with the cap mod. The "sucker assembly" uses a venturi effect to create vacuum and does a lousy job, one person method. The bleeder hose clouded up on the first use and I just went out and got a good length clear hose and replace as needed.
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