Does brake fluid need changing at 13,000 miles?


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May 28, 2023

Does brake fluid need changing at 13,000 miles?

Q: At 13,000 miles, my 2020 Honda CR-V Touring is showing an alert code that I should change my brake fluid. My local mechanic is saying this is not necessary given the low mileage. What is the

Q: At 13,000 miles, my 2020 Honda CR-V Touring is showing an alert code that I should change my brake fluid. My local mechanic is saying this is not necessary given the low mileage. What is the correct answer?

A: Brake fluid is hygroscopic, which means to "absorb water." Therefore, because brake fluid is hygroscopic, it will tend to absorb water and moisture. At AAA, we have found it is best to change brake fluid every three years regardless of mileage. This was not a particularly common maintenance procedure until the last few years but has been quite common in Europe for decades.

Q: Recently, my wife was in a small accident with her 2017 Lexus ES 350. The left front headlight had to be replaced. This is the standard headlight with LED low beams and halogen high beams, not adaptive and not self-adjusting.

The driver's-side low beam is now way too low and only illuminates the road for about 40 feet in front of the car. This was not the case with the original headlight before the accident.

Car Doctor:I'm new to the area. How do I find a good repair shop near me?

I searched for the adjusting screws (the plastic cowling shows where they are supposed to be) but I could only find the adjustments for left and right, not up and down.

I brought the car back to the body shop and asked them to "readjust" the headlight and was told that they are preset at the factory and not adjustable. This sounded a little odd to me, as these are not self-adjusting.

I stopped by the Lexus dealer where I bought the car and spoke to the service director, who then spoke to one of the technicians. I was advised that they can adjust the headlight using a computer with a program only at a Lexus dealer. The cost is just north of $200.

John, I am willing to spend the $200, but I ask you to confirm that I am not being snookered by everyone who has a personal stake in telling me what is financially beneficial to them. Is this headlight adjustable via a computer program? Or, where are the manual adjusting screws located?

A: According to AllData, the repair database I use, there are two adjusting screws: one for vertical adjustment and one for horizontal adjustment.

In other Lexus models, headlights are adjusted with a scan tool or, in some cases, via in-vehicle technology. To access the screws, you need to remove some trim panels over the headlights. Once removed, the headlights should adjust in the conventional manner.

Q: Recently, I purchased a Flylinktech jump-starter for use with my 2014 Subaru Crosstrek. It contains Lithium-ion batteries as its storage device. They suggest that temperatures not exceed 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Where do I leave it in the car when it is not in use, but still have it readily available?

The etching on the unit by the manufacturer lists the operating temperature to be between "-20 C ~ +80C (-4 ~ 176F)." Again, the device came from the manufacturer with what appears to be a hard case with foam insulation surrounding it.

Car Doctor:Why do I get a 'no signal' message on my radio when I listen to HD FM radio?

Recognizing the recent issues in the news with charging lithium-Ion Li devices and temperatures in a car in summer that can rise greatly, where can I leave it in my car? Can I leave it safely in the trunk, checking it weekly? Or have it sit on the rear-area floor where, if it starts going thermal, I would hopefully be aware of it if I happen to be in the car at that moment?

A: I have two NOCO jumpstart units and, although they don’t recommend storing and charging in temperatures above 120 degrees, according to their website, it is more about damaging the batteries and shortening the unit’s useful life.

Concerning my vehicles, I keep one under the rear floor in our little SUV and one in a bag in the trunk of our Volkswagen Beetle convertible. I have yet to see any problems.

Car Doctor:If every 7,500-mile maintenance worked in the past, why change it?

Q: I have a 2008 Toyota Highlander with the V-6 engine and 74,000 miles. The vehicle runs great, however, I have never done a tune-up on it. Is a tune-up necessary? If so, would I need to change out the ignition wires also? Are there telltale signs when a tune-up might be necessary? If a tune-up is needed, what should an honest mechanic charge for that service?

A: At 15 years old, it is time to replace the spark plugs and at the same time evaluate the additional ignition components.

Replacing spark plugs is a bit labor-consuming, since the upper half of the intake manifold needs to be removed. Spark plugs can also get pricy. Toyota spark plugs are almost $16 each, and it takes about three hours of labor to replace them.

In addition, the oil seals on the spark plug tubes may also need replacement.

A basic “tune-up” could cost $600 or more, depending on the parts needed.

John Paul is the AAA Northeast Car Doctor. He has more than 40 years of experience in the automobile industry and is an ASE-Certified Master Technician. Write to John Paul, The Car Doctor, at 110 Royal Little Drive, Providence, RI 02904. Or email [email protected] and put “Car Doctor” in the subject field. Follow him on Twitter @johnfpaul or on Facebook.

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