Brake fluid change interval car vs motorcycle

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Project84, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. rickr84

    rickr84 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2016
    Oddometer:
    95
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    I recently saw a Dave Moss video where he recommended changing brake fluid every 90 days on a bike getting used hard during a season (not track season, but riding season). I thought it was a bit crazy. I actually just changed my 2006 R1, 16k miles, fluid for the first time in its life. The lever felt a bit better. I had never experienced any brake fade to my knowledge even riding backroads with a passenger. I actually wish I had tested the fluid.

    It got me to thinking. I have a 2000 Chevy Silverado with 360k miles on it. Original brake fluid as we've owned the vehicle since I was in highschool and I did all the work on it then to now. I want to test the boiling point if that fluid compared to new Dot3 cheap fluid.

    I'll even record it on video and upload to youtube so maybe we all learn something?

    Anyone want to put in their bets for boiling point of 20 year old fluid with 360k miles? Single cab, 4x4, 5.3 Auto, never towed but driven way too hard often.
  2. karter18

    karter18 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2017
    Oddometer:
    230
    Location:
    So Cal
    That would be interesting for sure.

    Every 90 days! That’s even high for a track bike or race bike.

    On a side note my 2005 R1 was my favorite. Great bike!
  3. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    6,966
    Location:
    below the sea
    The car gets done every couple of years. A very cheap prevention of rusted callipers or the insides of lines for those of us who keep our vehicles long enough to have to deal with it.

    Bikes not only hold a lot less fluid, but most get used far harder the your average suburban cruiser.
    Apply the engineering mantra - what are the consequences of failure?

    I have tried the silicone fluid, but couldn't get the same sort of firmness. I just flushed it through when it's time came. No problems yet (20 years or so).
  4. longhaul747

    longhaul747 Long timer

    Joined:
    May 17, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,826
    Location:
    Bothell, WA
    I will probably get b!tch slapped for this but I used to change my brake fluid religiously every 2 years but now its a case by case basis. Doing it every 2 years I never noticed an difference and on some bikes you have to fight the air bubbles so in some cases the results were worse. After fighting the air bubbles often it turned out to be a big old worthless headache. So now I usually don't bother unless the brake fluid is getting dark or I notice something different. This is typically at the 4 to 6 year mark and sometimes longer.

    I few years ago I bought a used 2004 ST1300. The previous owner was meticulous and flushed the coolant every few years and did all sorts of things. Including changing the spark plugs every 5K or so miles which is a total waist of time. Had logs and service manuals in the side cases etc. Its a nice bonus when buying used. One thing I noticed is I never seen anything in the logs about changing the brake fluid. The brake fluid was dark and cloudy and the brakes felt a bit odd. They worked and well under abuse but just felt "off" to me. I doubt the brake fluid was ever changed. So I finely changed it and the brakes improved a tad and the brake fluid now looks much better.

    So in my opinion it does need to be changed but every 2 years is a bit overkill in most cases. It probably depends on the climate and usage. Obviously if you are racing then probably more often is critical. I definitely would not wait until the 15 year mark to do it. 3 to 6 years maybe!

    That said I am looking at getting tools that will make it a much easier process. I have a speed bleeder valve that helps but thinking about learning to reverse bleed making it quick and easy stress free process. I work in a car dealer and that is how they do it here. Start at the caliper and pump fluid into the master cylinder instead of the other way around!
  5. Yam2Yam2

    Yam2Yam2 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2012
    Oddometer:
    98
    "I work in a car dealer and that is how they do it here. Start at the caliper and pump fluid into the master cylinder instead of the other way around!"

    So they pump all the water, that settled into the calipers, all the way thru the system, so rust can cause the owner to spend $1,000's in repairs. Nice!

    (What scummy dealer do you work at, again?)

    Not blaming you, but find work with someone else.
  6. Yam2Yam2

    Yam2Yam2 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2012
    Oddometer:
    98
    I had an old civic whose wheel cylinders rusted. Not great for emergency braking.

    I now change everything every two years.
  7. NJjeff

    NJjeff Long timer

    Joined:
    May 15, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,315
    Location:
    !
    The rear calipers on my 7 Y.O. car seized.
    I was able to get the pistons out and found the corrosion not on the brake fluid side, but between the boot and the piston seal.

    I flushed the fluid about 2 years ago, and several years before that.
    I always suck out the master nearly empty with a syringe, and push fresh fluid through the system and out the calipers.