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I have an 03 Sebring Convertible, bought at 27,000 miles, which went into the shop yesterday for its PA inspection and routine 63,000 mile service. It is a car which has *hit wood* never required anything beyond routine maintenance, and was serviced entirely at the dealership where I bought it since I bought it. I just moved between states, and despite the major service performed at the old dealership at 60,000 miles, the place I went to managed to find over $300 of recommended work:

Replace the Brake Fluid
Replace the Power Steering Fluid
Clean the Throttle Body

None of this is recommended in the owners manual, and being in a new town trust has not yet been established, so I naturally declined and decided to get second opinions.

Under what circumstances are those services necessary?
Under what circumstances are those services desirable?

Many thanks for your help!

Cheers,
madmikeyd
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No. of Recommendations: 3
Hydraulic fluids (brake, power steering, etc.) tend to be hygroscopic, that is, they collect moisture over time. That generally degrades the performance of the fluid.

With brakes, this lowers the fluid's boiling point (probably not an issue for MOST passenger cars), leads to a soft pedal feel and reduced braking performance. It also removes contaminants that can degrade seals, etc. I tend to flush my brakes with fresh fluid every couple of years, primarily for the performance benefits. No idea what it should cost at a shop, I have always done it myself - brake fluid's cheap, <$10 even for the highest quality. I do my hydraulic clutch at the same time.

Power steering fluid is probably less critical, but you probably extend the system's life a little by keeping clean fluid in there. That said, I've never done this on any car I've owned (though my current car doesn't even have ps fluid, using an electric assist instead of hydraulic).

Cleaning the throttle body is almost completely unnecessary in modern cars if you're burning clean gasoline from a reputable source. This is probably a nice money maker for the shop.
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They do sound bizarre to me, but a little googling reveals...

BRAKE FLUID

Ford apparently recommends replacement every 36,000 or 3 years, and whenever the brake pads are changed.

BMW apparently recommends replacement every 2 years.

Honda apparently recommends replacement every 25,000-30,000 miles.

Subaru apparently recommends replacement every 30,000 miles.

Volkswagen apparently recommends replacement every 2 years.

http://www.aa1car.com/library/bfluid.htm


POWER STEERING FLUID

The state of Utah recommends replacement every 24,000 miles.
http://www.cleanair.utah.gov/summer_driving.htm

AASTRO recommends replacement every 2 years or 30,000 miles.
http://www.aastrotransmission.com/repairs_services.html


THROTTLE BODY CLEANING

I can't really find anything on the throttle body cleaning, but I like jeffbrig's answer.
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Replace the Brake Fluid
Four years old, 63K miles - cashectomy - open the brake fluid fill on the master cylinder - is it still relatively clear? Is the level normal? Thank you for playing.

Replace the Power Steering Fluid
Four years old, 63K miles - cashectomy - see reference for brake fluid, do same for power steering fluid fill. Is it still relatively clear? Is the level normal?

Clean the Throttle Body
Four years old, 63K miles - MAYBE - are you happy with mileage and throttle response? If you answer yes, you buy quality gasoline, thank you for playing. If you're feeling like some grumpf, especially of the line is gone, mileage has gone down, or that the throttle doesn't "respond" as well when you plant it, then may be worth while. Should cost between $60 to $100 depending on where you live.

I say run from your life from this dealer WITHOUT seeing the fluids - this sounds like a load of poop to me; but if the fluids are dirty, or if the brake fluid smells "burned" when you pull the cap, ya, then maybe it needs to be done. But I'm always, ALWAYS, leary of these kind of services.
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Four years old, 63K miles - cashectomy - open the brake fluid fill on the master cylinder - is it still relatively clear? Is the level normal? Thank you for playing.

I don't agree on the brake fluid, it's one thing that many car owners neglect. I used to have a Camry that I did routine maintenance on everything....but never flushed the brake fluid. By the time I got rid of the car, I had one stuck caliper and brake fluid that actually boiled due to some aggressive driving. The brake fluid was perfect normally.......but that one day I drove like a bat out of hell and cooked the stuff to boil.

These days I add brake fluid to my list.......2-4 years sounds about right.

FYI: When I boiled the fluid....the pedal went to the floor when I stopped at a light.
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Many thanks for all the responses. Seeing as there are 0 performance issues at this point (mileage, in fact, is the best it has ever been) I am going to wait until the 66,000 mile service, go to a different shop, and get an official second opinion.

Cheers,
madmikeyd
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It's probably fine for you to wait until your next service to have those fluids change, but I do suggest changing them. They certainly are NOT life-of-the-car fluids. I personally change my brake and clutch fluid three times a year. That's way overkill for normal street usage, but they should be changed at least every three or four years.

Cleaning the throttle body? Not unless it's dirty!

xtn
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