Chevy Bolt EV Forum banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got off the phone with my local Chevy dealer who called after I scheduled my recall fix online. Rather than just the 30K maintenance, which it is due for and costs $42, he tried to talk me into doing a brake fluid exchange service, which plus tire rotation would add up to $230. This sounded suspiciously like upselling to me, and he wasn't really able to explain why this wasn't part of the standard maintenance schedule yet nonetheless was a crucial thing to do.

I told him I'd think about it, and went on the forum, where I see there is one thread about this general topic, though it's more focused on doing it yourself. I have neither the time nor interest in the DIY approach, but wondered if anyone has any evidence-based input on whether this dealer recommendation really makes sense or not, or is just their service department's desperate effort to make some money off of the Bolt?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
111 Posts
My owner's manual recommends every five years. There's no such thing as a five year old Bolt yet.
Since the first Bolt's were delivered at the very end of 2016, you are spot on. Most 2017 Bolts were not delivered until the second half of 2017.

Bigger picture here: Brake fluid and coolant on the Bolt should be flushed every 5 years (or 150k miles for the coolant, if you area very high mileage driver). I am going to guess your local dealer is trying to make an extra buck. To be fair, there are some markets where the weather extremes (very cold to very hot, super high humidity, etc) make it advisable to swap fluids a little earlier than GM recommends, but the moment the guy on the other end of the phone couldn't explain WHY, he lost credibility.

You: Why should I do this extra maintenance?
Him: 'Cause my paycheck is looking a bit light this week?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
wondered if anyone has any evidence-based input on whether this dealer recommendation really makes sense or not, or is just their service department's desperate effort to make some money off of the Bolt?
Brake fluid is hydroscopic, although "sealed", water molecules will enter the system through tiny openings. Water will help corrode the internals of the brake system. If you go long enough components of the brake system will not operate correctly. Most of my braking is regenerative and does not use the friction brakes, but I want the friction brakes to work when the kid runs out into the street after their ball. The physics and chemistry of water and brake fluid is not Bolt specific. My other vehicles have a 2 year recommended brake fluid change cycle, but I use a test device and change when over 4%. The silly cost of dealer service is why I do it myself.
 

·
Registered
20 Bolt LT
Joined
·
114 Posts
I have never changed brake fluid in any car in 45 years of driving. I have also had nothing rust out, nor any sign of brake failure other than pads and rotors. I guess I will live dangerously when it comes to boat payments and my Chevy dealer.
 

·
Registered
2021 Nightfall Gray Metallic Bolt Premier
Joined
·
458 Posts
I've always used a turkey baster and suck out about half the reservoir, and refill with fresh brake fluid on an annual basis. My birthday. I've put hundreds of thousands of miles on my cars and motorcycles and never had a brake system issue or problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
75 Posts
I change my brake fluid when it is time to change the pads. I do the work myself. I have a pneumatic brake fluid sucker that sucks the fluid out the calipers and have a bottle that automatically fills the reservoir as I am sucking out the fluid out of each caliper until it comes out clean. I always open the bleed valve on the calipers and then squeeze the caliper piston so that the fluid close the the piston gets discarded and not push back up the lines. since I already have to bleed the system I just change the fluid at the same time.

It takes about 20 mins to setup and about 8 mins to suck out all of the fluid for all for calipers.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
On the Bolt, I'd go with the GM recommendation, however:

if you've ever changed brake fluid after several years and captured it so as to see what it looks like, you've seen why it should be changed. Same with coolant in an ICE vehicle; I change it every several years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,389 Posts
Brake fluid needs changing when it has absorbed too much water. Water can rust brake components and reducing stopping power on heavy and sustained braking situations (which the Bolt is likely to never experience). Since there isn't a practical way to measure this, a conservative interval is given in the service manual.

I change the brake fluid in my vehicles when I replace the pads, which is probably once a decade (more frequently on the motorcycle). When the brake pistons are driven back in, it fills the reservoir with fluid, and often some needs to be removed anyhow. Might as well just remove all the brake fluid from the reservoir then. Bleeding the brakes will flush the old fluid out of the lines with new stuff you put into the reservoir.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
75 Posts
I must admit, On my 2014 Chevy cruze I have yet to change the pads. I bought them and have them but they still have meat on the pads. The fluid does look like it needs to be changed. In fact the Chevy dealer told me that they would recommend brake fluid change when it was last in for service. so my time table of changing the fluid when the brakes need replaced may not be enough. The question is, do I change the pads early and change the fluid or just change the fluid. I guess I will have to determine how much life is on the pads.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
111 Posts
I must admit, On my 2014 Chevy cruze I have yet to change the pads. I bought them and have them but they still have meat on the pads. The fluid does look like it needs to be changed. In fact the Chevy dealer told me that they would recommend brake fluid change when it was last in for service. so my time table of changing the fluid when the brakes need replaced may not be enough. The question is, do I change the pads early and change the fluid or just change the fluid. I guess I will have to determine how much life is on the pads.
It is the age old question of convenience VS cost. Is it worth making another trip when the pads are a little lower, or just doing it now? Also, how much longer do you plan to keep the Cruze? If you aren't going to keep it long enough to put a third set of pads on it, then why not just take of them now?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
75 Posts
the cruze is my long distance vehicle. so I plan on keeping it for a while. It is a diesel so as long as everything else holds up it should last a good long time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
752 Posts
I've read about such devices as shown below. No opinion on the matter, just thought this might interest some:


Rich
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
I must admit, On my 2014 Chevy cruze I have yet to change the pads. I bought them and have them but they still have meat on the pads. The fluid does look like it needs to be changed. In fact the Chevy dealer told me that they would recommend brake fluid change when it was last in for service. so my time table of changing the fluid when the brakes need replaced may not be enough. The question is, do I change the pads early and change the fluid or just change the fluid. I guess I will have to determine how much life is on the pads.
Pads are cheap, but you might need to do rotors as well, if you do your own work, its one of the easiest jobs on a vehicle, as the marginal effort to swap in new rotors after pulling the pads is tiny.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
132 Posts
I have test strips which do brake fluid/coolant on either end. Made by Phoenix Systems. On a Prius, it showed the coolant was marginal at the recommended time. I don't think think I've had a failed test for brake fluid with it yet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,672 Posts
Due to moving, life getting in the way, and simply forgetting, I went about 10 years without a fluid change in my last car. I checked for any sponginess and there was none. Fluid looked good. I told the guy I sold it to that it was due for a brake fluid change.
I kinda feel like the more often you do things like this the higher the chance of something breaking or being damaged and not lasting as long, so I'll push the interval out. Also, like synthetic motor oil, technology has changed, making the fluids much more durable and reliable, but of course they want you to still change it often so they can get paid. It should definitely be a time based based interval, not mileage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks to everyone in the chevybolt.org brain trust for your input, you rock. My main takeaways here are 1) Chevy recommends that this service be done every 5 years, so this service manager is upselling, 2) there are really good reasons to do this service when it's needed, but it most likely isn't needed yet for me, 3) there are a variety of DIY ways to diagnose need and perform the service yourself, but...eh, I'll take it in on the recommended 5 year mark.

I almost feel sorry for traditional dealer service departments when faced with EVs. It must be a bit like how horseshoe makers felt about the advent of automobiles.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,364 Posts
They need to adapt, businesses go out of style all the time and new ones pop up. Some of the sales people are now scamming people to buy PPA solar, LOL.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
161 Posts
I got off the phone with my local Chevy dealer who called after I scheduled my recall fix online. Rather than just the 30K maintenance, which it is due for and costs $42, he tried to talk me into doing a brake fluid exchange service, which plus tire rotation would add up to $230. This sounded suspiciously like upselling to me, and he wasn't really able to explain why this wasn't part of the standard maintenance schedule yet nonetheless was a crucial thing to do.

I told him I'd think about it, and went on the forum, where I see there is one thread about this general topic, though it's more focused on doing it yourself. I have neither the time nor interest in the DIY approach, but wondered if anyone has any evidence-based input on whether this dealer recommendation really makes sense or not, or is just their service department's desperate effort to make some money off of the Bolt?
Brake flush? Wallet flush.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top