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Old 10-28-2011, 11:24 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Pilot brake fluid change every 3 years?

My 08 Pilot owner’s manual says: “Independent of MaintMinder messages, replace brake fluid every 3 years”. Well, my 08 has been in service for over 3 years, and the dealer never told me to change the brake fluid. When I asked them about it they said….”umm, let us get back to you on that”. Now they claim that every time I bring my pilot in for service, they evaluate the condition of all fluids, and that my brake fluid was OK last time in. I told them that the manual states: “replace brake fluid every 3 years”. They said: “well change it if you want.”
My pilot has been in service for 3 years, 7 months. Should I change the brake fluid now, or wait to my dealer says I should?
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Old 10-28-2011, 11:49 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Change it at the interval that makes you sleep better at night. For me, that would be every 2 years, regardless of mileage.
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Old 10-28-2011, 12:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Yes it's good to replace the brake fluid. The dealer guys don't always know anything about Honda recommendations. If your fluid sits too long, it gets oversaturated with moisture. This severely lowers the boiling temp of the fluid, and also can lead to corrosion inside the system. Brake fluid loves water and that's a good thing. It's able to suck it out of the system and keep it from corroding parts inside. 3 years is still pushing it for some people that race their cars as the boiling temp is a major concern. If the fliuid starts to boil during heavy use (racing or towing), your brake pedal will go soft. Sometimes too soft to stop the vehicle. It stays that way until you let off the brakes long enough for the bubbles to cool and condense back to fluid.

If your simply changing out your brake fluid (not bleeding air) is very easy by yourself. Here are the tools and DIY:

- Length of 5/16" clear vinyl hose (from Lowes or Home Depot you have to buy a roll now)
- Large glass cup
- 12mm open-end or flare-nut wrench
- Small bucket of water w/ little soap & a rag
- paper towels
- 2 small cans of brake fluid or 1 big one (always use new SEALED bottles)


Instructions for gravity bleed:
- Remove the cap on the brake fluid reservoir
- Start at the drivers side front
- Pop the rubber cap off the bleed valve on the caliper (you can sometimes do all this without taking the wheel off)
- Cut a 2-3ft section of hose
- Plug the hose onto the bleed valve
- Loop the hose so it turns UPWARD directly off the bleed valve (makes an air trap to keep bubbles from backing up into the caliper)
- Put the other end of the hose into the glass cup on the ground
- Now crack/loosen the bleed port so fluid starts to slowly move through the hose
- Fluid is now draining from the reservoir down and out the caliper bleed port
- When the reservoir level gets low, simply top it off with your freshly opened bottle of brake fluid (DOT 3 or 4)
- Let the fluid drain out of the caliper until you finally see fresh clear fluid moving through the hose
- Tighten the bleed port snug (7-8lb/ft torque)
- wipe off the bleed port and wash the area with your soapy water
- re-install the bleed port rubber cap

Now repeat for the FR, RR & LR in that order. The first caliper will take a really long time because your draining the entire contents of the reservoir through it. The second caliper will be very quick. The rear calipers take a while because the lines are long. You can speed it up by first emptying the reservoir with a turkey baster, but you DO NOT want to get brake fluid on your paint in your engine bay. It will dissolve the paint pretty quickly. Clean up any brake fluid drips/spills with your soapy water right away. Water is the only thing that will neutralize brake fluid.

Last edited by 94eg!; 10-28-2011 at 12:43 PM.
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Old 04-10-2012, 10:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Props to you 94! Never did any brake work before but I would guess this should be the same for my 2009.
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Old 04-10-2012, 10:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm pretty sure it's the same sequence, but it couldn't hurt to check. Every Honda/Acura I've seen since the advent of their 4-channel ABS system has been the same order...

LF, RF, RR, LR (clockwise from drivers corner)
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
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2 questions:
  1. My pilot is approaching 3.5 years old. Will I notice the color difference between the new and old fluids?
  2. Do you know about how much fluid the whole system holds for a flush?
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Old 04-11-2012, 04:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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You will probably notice a difference in color.
If it is a big difference you have waited too long.

Don't just worry about the boiling point, as moisture leads to corrosion and that leads to replacing parts which all cost way more than a brake flush every two to three years.
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pilot2009 View Post
2 questions:
  1. My pilot is approaching 3.5 years old. Will I notice the color difference between the new and old fluids?
  2. Do you know about how much fluid the whole system holds for a flush?
Yes. The old fluid will be cloudy and brown. New fluid will come out clear in the tube, but have a slight amber color if you were to fill an entire glass.

2 bottles of Honda is fluid is enough to fully bleed one car. That is unless you mess up and have to start over. Honda only sells the small bottles.
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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i understand that maintaining and replacing fluids/parts etc will keep your vehicle running good and long, but on the flip side, i had my tsx for 8 yrs and 160k miles before the tranny died and i ended up just selling it.

in the 8yrs i've owned it, i've never changed the ps steering fluid, anti-freeze or brake fluid and to me it ran pretty good up until it died.

although i wouldve liked it to last longer, i still thought i got my moneys worth with my minimum investment. the only things i did were oil changes, brakes, tires, and drain and fill trans fluid changes. just food for thought.
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Old 04-12-2012, 04:44 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrcheap View Post
i understand that maintaining and replacing fluids/parts etc will keep your vehicle running good and long, but on the flip side, i had my tsx for 8 yrs and 160k miles before the tranny died and i ended up just selling it.

in the 8yrs i've owned it, i've never changed the ps steering fluid, anti-freeze or brake fluid and to me it ran pretty good up until it died.

although i wouldve liked it to last longer, i still thought i got my moneys worth with my minimum investment. the only things i did were oil changes, brakes, tires, and drain and fill trans fluid changes. just food for thought.
replacing the brake fluid at least when you changed the brakes would make sense. Regardless brakes are critical, especially if you have special cargo like the family and I wouldn't skimp on their improper maintenance.
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Old 04-12-2012, 07:53 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Brake fluid color

Here is how my brake fluid looked after 3 years in service : Changing Brake Fluid

Quote:
Originally Posted by 94eg! View Post
Yes. The old fluid will be cloudy and brown. New fluid will come out clear in the tube, but have a slight amber color if you were to fill an entire glass.

2 bottles of Honda is fluid is enough to fully bleed one car. That is unless you mess up and have to start over. Honda only sells the small bottles.
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Old 04-13-2012, 01:45 AM   #12 (permalink)
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My brake fluid delivery came today so I hope to flush the system soon. I'll try to post pics of the change and the old fluid.
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Old 04-13-2012, 08:41 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Can I tell just by looking at the master cylinder how dirty the brake fluid is?
I wasn't sure if the fluid gets circulated or is it 1-way traffic and only leaves the reservoir when there's a leak.
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Old 04-13-2012, 08:56 PM   #14 (permalink)
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You can kinda tell that the fluid is getting darker by looking into the reservoir. But it's really the age of the fluid that's important.

Fluid does not get circulated. It only drops very slowly as the brake pads wear down. This causes the caliper pistons to extend further outward which draws more fluid into the system (slowly over several years). Low fluid is supposed to be one of the first warning signs that your brake pads are getting low. Unfortunately oil change shops sometimes like to top-off your fluids which is not a good thing. Aside from mixing different brands of fluid, it removes your "low fluid" early warning light.

Of course the same is true if your following proper protocol and bleeding your brakes every 3 years (pads should last longer than 3 years).
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Old 04-14-2012, 10:59 AM   #15 (permalink)
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A more accurate test is to buy brake fluid test strips. These measure the amount of copper in the system..
Strip Dip Brake Fluid Test Strips by Phoenix and GWR
I got these for $30 on ebay and well worth it- did a pre and post test to make sure I got all the old fluid out as my 2004 fluid was overdue for a change when I bought it used. Old fluid was dark brown and the reservoir had greenish algae-like residue build up.
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Last edited by pilot_rave; 04-14-2012 at 11:04 AM.
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