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What's the difference between a drain/refill and flush?

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What's the difference between a drain/refill and flush?

 
Old 12-14-08, 04:54 PM
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e-man
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Default What's the difference between a drain/refill and flush?

Hey guys. I know the question seems obvious, but I'm trying to figure out what you're supposed to do every 30k miles or so. My local dealership is quoting me the following for each service for my 99 GS400:

coolant service -- $189.95
automatic transmission service -- $159.95
rear differential service -- $129.95

That seems like a lot of money if all they're doing is pulling the plug, draining the fluid and then refilling it. I assume the "service" includes a flushing of the system. That being said, though, is the "flushing" really necessary? According to my records, I had all of these systems flushed at 60k and 90k, but now that I'm at 120k, I'm wondering whether I really need to pay for a flush if all I need is a drain and refill.

Let me know what you guys think. Thanks.

e
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Old 12-14-08, 05:02 PM
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Well, a drain and fill only replaces about 3 quarts of fluid, whereas the flush replaces all of it...I personally would rather do the drain and fill 3 - 4 times as often as a flush, but everyone has a different opinion on this...

given their prices on the rest of the things, I would say it's just a drain and fill, but its hard to say...

coolant shouldn't need to be done every 30k if you are using toyota or other long life coolant... rear differential service is nothing more than a drain and fill, and shouldn't cost more than $10-$20 labor, plus a couple quarts of fluid, $50 or so tops...

coolant service is also about twice as expensive as it should be as well...
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Old 12-14-08, 05:14 PM
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Thanks. The 60k and 90k were done at the dealership, so I assume they used the recommended Toyota fluids. That being said, though, they did replace all the fluids at 60k and again at 90k, and based on what you're telling me, that may have been overkill.

So, based on what you're telling me, I could probably forego the coolant flush for another 30k, and only have them do the automatic transmission fluid and rear differential fluids, and even then, I could probably tell them just to drain and refill as opposed to flush?

Oh, and then there's the brake fluid. They told me that that should be done every 30k as well, and it would cost somewhere around $120 as well.

e
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Old 12-14-08, 05:17 PM
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I can't believe how much they charge for those services...

We charge $76.99 for brake flush, $93.99 for long life coolant flush, $99.99 for trans service / $179.99 for trans flush, $59.99 for drain and refill rear diff with synthetic fluid,
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Old 12-14-08, 05:24 PM
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Mitsu -- do you mind if I ask who's "we"?

Here's the thing. I don't mind going to the dealership and paying a little more for 2 reasons: (1) I get a loaner while they have my car so I'm not stuck there for 3-4 hours; and, more importantly, (2) the service performed is entered into the Lexus national database for my car, so when it comes time to selling the car, any buyer can have it printed out and know that the car has been well maintained.

Seriously, you're right, if I simply walk in there with a blank check and ask for them to do all of these services plus an oil change, it will end up costing me around $650. That's just plain crazy, especially if it's really not needed as often as their saying.

Is there a way they can tell whether any long-life fluids were used at the 90k service?
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Old 12-14-08, 05:28 PM
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We = www.firestonecompleteautocare.com

Long life is easy to tell coolant wise... if it is red/pink in color, then it is good for at least 100k miles... if it is green, they used the wrong stuff... if it is yellow or orange, it is long life coolant, but not Toyota/Lexus long life coolant... The rear diff, I definitely agree on changing every 30k, and trans they recommend every 30k as well...
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Old 12-14-08, 05:36 PM
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Thanks a lot, that's good to know.

I'm 99% sure they used the red/pink Toyota coolant at 60k and 90k, but assuming they did, it makes no sense why they changed it again at 90k after changing it at 60k.

I'll tell them they can drain and refill the rear diff, but I'll double check on the price. I'll also tell them to drain and refill the trans fluid, and that I'll just do it again in another 15k.

What do you think about the brake fluid? Isn't that really dependent on the type of driving you do? I mean, 95% of my miles are highway miles, and, as a result, I usually don't need to replace brake pads for at least 60k. Again, it just seems like overkill to me. Assuming they top off the brake fluid at each oil change, that would seem to be enough, with maybe a system flush at the time the pads are replaced.
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Old 12-14-08, 05:40 PM
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Brake fluid has corrosion inhibitors in it that break down over time... we have test strips that tell us how much copper is in the brake fluid, in parts per million... if there is more than 200 parts per million of copper, that means the corrosion inhibitors have broken down so much that the fluid is starting to eat away internally at the brake lines... from personal experience, fluid typically lasts 2 years before it fails this test...
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Old 12-19-08, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by e-man View Post
Hey guys. I know the question seems obvious, but I'm trying to figure out what you're supposed to do every 30k miles or so. My local dealership is quoting me the following for each service for my 99 GS400:

coolant service -- $189.95
automatic transmission service -- $159.95
rear differential service -- $129.95

That seems like a lot of money if all they're doing is pulling the plug, draining the fluid and then refilling it. I assume the "service" includes a flushing of the system. That being said, though, is the "flushing" really necessary? According to my records, I had all of these systems flushed at 60k and 90k, but now that I'm at 120k, I'm wondering whether I really need to pay for a flush if all I need is a drain and refill.

Let me know what you guys think. Thanks.

e
local Lexus dealer (just to give you a price reference, they just drain & refill)
rear diff 99.95
trans 99.95
didn't get the coolant changed sorry
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Old 01-05-09, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by mitsuguy View Post
Nice, I've always liked Firestone and usually go to the one here in Columbia, MD. I have lifetime alignment for my 2004 Accord there plus I'm a gold member (free, more detailed inspections, free tire rotations) so whenever I go to take advantage of those benefits, I sometimes get regular maintenance things like oil change, brakes, etc done there.

I can only chime in so much on Lexus maintenance - I'm a new IS 350 Owner from yesterday (was one before w/ a 2001 IS 300 but for a short period of time from summer 2003 to spring 2004 before my car was rear ended to death ),

But I coming from a 2004 Accord which I've been maintaining from day 1 (bought new in Spring 2004 - when my IS 300 died), I think I can add a little. It's now at 125k+ miles. I have to do the coolant now which is supposed to go til 120k miles as per the manual. I'm thinking of going to the dealer for this, but if it's not too big a deal, maybe I'll just get that done at Firestone.

I did have the Transmission fluid done at 90k at Firestone because I misread the manual (which says it should be done at 120k). After I got it done, I saw a post on the Honda CR-V Maintenance and Repair thread over on Edmunds carspace which said:

Honda issued a warning to shops not to use Transmission flush machines on Hondamatics. Since Honda Automatic is a greatly different transmission than the rest of the automatics, it is essentially an automated manual, power flushes could destroy the transmission. Honda recommends 3 successive fluid exchanges with 10 miles driving in between.

I also doubt that Firestone used Honda ATF Z-1 fluid to flush it with. This creates second potential problem, since Honda ATF Z-1 is not your typical ATF fluid. It is made by Showa oil company of Japan, and there are no reliable substitutes.

I would strongly suggest you remove whatever fluid Firestone put in there, and replace it with Honda ATF Z-1, 3 times.
I never did ask Firestone how exactly the transmission fluid service went down, I'm just planning on getting it done again soon from the dealer.

The brake fluid flush I had done at Firestone at around the 3 year mark if I remember correctly - as per the manual (change every three years regardless of mileage)

The Honda dealer has also suggested a power steering flush which isn't discussed in my manual at all.

Hope this helps, I'll try to double check my records to make sure that everything I've posted is correct when I can.
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Old 12-17-18, 06:04 AM
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Originally Posted by mitsuguy View Post
We = www.firestonecompleteautocare.com

Long life is easy to tell coolant wise... if it is red/pink in color, then it is good for at least 100k miles... if it is green, they used the wrong stuff... if it is yellow or orange, it is long life coolant, but not Toyota/Lexus long life coolant... The rear diff, I definitely agree on changing every 30k, and trans they recommend every 30k as well...

I havent changed my rear diff fluid or brake fluid or coolant in 218k on my 07 GS450h but the plugs were done at 133k.

Last edited by samsonn25; 12-17-18 at 06:22 AM.
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Old 12-30-18, 05:54 PM
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Would be advisable to check, drain-replace those fluids. The additive package on those has a finite limitation as the fluid breaks down though use, heat cycling and age. Brake fluid absorbs moisture and that water may result in issues. Differential fluid is pretty robust though an analysis will tell you how well it is doing. The long life coolant is generally good for the interval though thermostats vary. So if that has been replaced there has been fresh coolant added so probably less of a concern. There are coolant test meters to gauge roughly how good it still is. If you DIY the cost is minimal to do these. Just remember to replace the crush washers/gaskets on the rear differential.

If the brake fluid is not a clear-straw yellow color, bleed it out, deep amber to black it is gone. May also check your power steering fluid and tranny fluid. Power steering should be bright red. If the GS has the WS sealed transmission there are plenty of threads about the drain intervals and problems at X miles. If it takes Type IV then the incremental drain every 30K is the practice many owners follow. This replaces about 2 quarts each interval and the tranny is happy.
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