Honda Pilot - Honda Pilot Forums banner
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
261 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I own a few car tools & toys ... like tire air gauges, battery testers, feeler gap gauges, coolant testers, smart chargers, torque wrenches, etc., etc. But the one tool I do not own is a brake fluid tester. Here is an example of what I'm talking about. Brake fluid tester . And it is the one tool I generally don't hear or read too much about on owner forums. So I wanted to ask about them. Anyone have one? Do you have confidence in it?

I've owned Hondas for years. When I 1st took my cars in for their recommended brake fluid change, the going rate was about $30. Yesterday I paid $130 for my son's CRV. Considering that I still own 3 Hondas, I'm basically looking at an annual expense. While I don't want to cut corners on safety, I also don't want to pay for premature maintenance. Complicating it is that brake fluid change intervals are all over the map, from as often as every two years to never. In fact, Honda is the only car I've ever owned that recommends periodic brake fluid changes. Every other car I've owned basically recommended inspections and/or checking for leaks. I don't add air to my tires simply on how they look, and I don't replace perfectly good batteries simply because they are old. I normally check them first with a tool to confirm their condition. Thus, I am wondering if a brake fluid tester might help add a little fact-based data to the decision making. Thanks guys.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,359 Posts
Never tested brake fluid.
When I need brake pads, I perge the lines with fresh fluid. Unless the vehicle is an aged vehicle with low miles, I see no reason to proactively replace brake fluid. The brake fluid reservoir cap seals the system, preventing moisture from getting in. Being told by the service dept that your brake fluid needs replacing on a fairly new vehicle is a money grab.
 

·
Administrator
2016 CRV Touring AWD, 2005 Pilot RIP.
Joined
·
16,315 Posts
Its so cheap to replace, why waste the money. I think Honda engineers have a schedule for that.
 

·
Registered
2008 Honda Pilot EX-L 2013 Honda Pilot EX-L
Joined
·
1,570 Posts
Never changed brake fluid until March of this year. Couldn’t really tell a difference. I don’t think it is a huge safety concern. Consider changing it out every other year maybe?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,359 Posts
Don't forget to wear eye protection. This can make changing brake fluid an very expensive job.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
312 Posts
I don’t own one but think it is a good idea in the long run depending on your maintenance plan. It would be a better to change the fluid based on condition rather than just a calendar or mileage limit. In the long run I think you would save money.

When I was younger I never really worried about it. But then again nothing had ABS etc. Now, I usually change mine when I do brake pads like NailGrease. That way I don’t have to remember the last time I did it. For me, it really does not add that much to the job.

I could see where how often the fluid would degrade would depend on driving and climate. I don’t think it would be the same for everyone.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,359 Posts
IMO, to put a milage number on brake fluid is absurd. I'd say time is more a factor.
 

·
Registered
2008 Piot SE FWD, 2015 Pilot LX 4WD. 2005 GSX-R1000
Joined
·
2,177 Posts
You replace your brake fluids? LOL

I too, like the fingernail guy, pump many times thru each wheel cylinder when I'm bleeding the systems, essentially replacing the fluid. Which I have to admit is Rare. I'm curious if these 'shops' even bleed the wheel cylinders, or just Turkey baste some out, and charge you Big $$ LOL.


NG- apparently brake fluid attracts moisture so well, even on the sealed system- which helps a LOT, water vapor/moisture STILL makes it's way in there- Darkening the brake fluid. FYI- you probably already knew this though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,359 Posts
You replace your brake fluids? LOL

I too, like the fingernail guy, pump many times thru each wheel cylinder when I'm bleeding the systems, essentially replacing the fluid. Which I have to admit is Rare. I'm curious if these 'shops' even bleed the wheel cylinders, or just Turkey baste some out, and charge you Big $$ LOL.


NG- apparently brake fluid attracts moisture so well, even on the sealed system- which helps a LOT, water vapor/moisture STILL makes it's way in there- Darkening the brake fluid. FYI- you probably already knew this though.
Yeah, I get that.
My BMW and lower mileage Crosstour are the only vehicles I'll have to flush the fluid before pads are needed. Not putting a whole lot of miles on these vehicles.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
261 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I have no first hand experience with brake fluid testing. Here is an article that discusses various methods including testing conductivity with a voltmeter.

Testing Brake Fluid with a Voltmeter | Bob Is The Oil Guy
Yes interesting approach. I checked some other sources regarding using a voltmeter and all seem to center on the .3V threshold. Below .3 is good while over .3 is bad. Since I have voltmeter I decided to give it a whirl after reading your post. My son's '12 CRV that has gone 37 months now since the fluid was last changed, read .22V. My '16 Pilot has gone 18 months since the last fluid flush and it read .27V. My own '18 CRV has gone 7 months since the brake fluid was flushed and the voltmeter read .2V. I'm left with 3 questions: Would a brake fluid tester (which I don't have) have yielded the same results if used at the same time as my voltmeter? What kind of results would an unopened bottle of DOT 3 fluid have tested at? Why do my older Honda cars seem to produce better results? :unsure:

Only one thing left to do now. For what little they cost I'm just going to have to buy one of those fluid testers and enjoy playing with my a toy. Probably end up adding way more moisture to the brake fluid by periodically opening the reservoir cap to test the frigging fluid than if I'd just left well enough alone. :devilish:
 

·
Administrator
2020 Honda Passport Touring AWD Metallic Steel
Joined
·
4,847 Posts
Its so cheap to replace, why waste the money. I think Honda engineers have a schedule for that.
They do. For 3rd generation Pilot and the Passport it is every 3 years. 2nd generation Pilots and 1st generation Pilots are the same. Frankly for me changing every 3 years is the simple thing to do. If you develop braking issues sooner than 3 years may be needed.

Brake fluid flush and fills have been standard, either every 2 or 3 years for time immortal.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
753 Posts
I do mine mine every 2 years on the bmw and every 3 years on the Pilot. Pretty easy to do with a vacuum bleed setup from Harbor Freight.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
261 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Just to close the loop on my original post, I ended up buying one of those inexpensive liquid tester pens from Amazon. It basically replicated the multi meter results I posted earlier, showing both the Pilot and '18 CRV fluid to be "OK" at 2% water or less. Ironically on my son's '12 CRV which was past due for the Honda recommended 3-year brake fluid change, it showed the very best results of all 3 cars. The test pen on results on his car were also "OK" ... at 1% water or less.

I understand others will disagree, but this basically confirmed in my mind that a "trust, but verify" approach to Honda's brake fluid recommendations is in order. So I'll probably add those test strips
xGS recommended to my arsenal before wasting money changing Honda brake fluid prematurely that does not need to be changed, (which my son's CRV may be an example of), or failing to change out fluid that needs it even before Honda's 3 year recommendation, which I worry my Pilot is close to being an example of.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top