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Change brake fluid

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Old 03-11-2012, 05:12 PM   #1
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Change brake fluid

I am coming up on the 15000 mi service and was looking at the things that should be done, One thing caught me by surprise, "Changing brake fluid " granted it is only due on the "More severe" items, but wondering why Nissan wants the brake fluid changed every year or 15000 mi.
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Old 06-24-2013, 08:50 PM   #2
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Bump....


I was curious about the same. I picked up my '12 S with 15k on it. The previous owner had it for 11 mos and put that much on it, another 200 miles or so came from dealer/test drive.

My assumption, the previous driver did some heavy driving in high heat climate(Hemet, Ca)

Dealer pre-owned inspection report said breaks were F60% R70%

Reading the threads I don't see anyone that replaced fluid at 15k, this being somewhat of an older thread - has anyone done it yet, was it really necessary, would it prolong break life or just provide a smoother feel...??
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Old 06-25-2013, 05:36 AM   #3
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Many manufacturers are now indicatating brake fluid replacement at certain intervals and it's pretty obvious why...the stuff does degrade over time.
I'm at about 25K and will perform this service (myself of course) likely sometime this summer. I just changed out the fluid in my truck after replacing the front rotors and pads and the BF looked almost milky in color.
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Old 06-25-2013, 06:55 AM   #4
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Flushing is becoming more and more common in owner's manuals.

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/auto-p...-necessary.htm
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Old 06-25-2013, 08:11 AM   #5
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They changed the requirement a year or two ago. Earlier 7G Maximas didn't require it so soon...perhaps a few years of repair data indicated that it's best to replace at 15K. I refused to do it at 15K though...as that sounded really premature.

I just did it a few weeks ago at like 22K. The dealer told me Nissan only required a parial flush, where they only replace like half the fluid for $90. A full flush cost me $120, and I told them to do the full flush. I can afford $30 more dollars.

I should be good for another 22K miles. I don't care what Nissan says
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Old 06-25-2013, 08:17 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by PalmettoFellow View Post
They changed the requirement a year or two ago. Earlier 7G Maximas didn't require it so soon...perhaps a few years of repair data indicated that it's best to replace at 15K. I refused to do it at 15K though...as that sounded really premature.

I just did it a few weeks ago at like 22K. The dealer told me Nissan only required a parial flush, where they only replace like half the fluid for $90. A full flush cost me $120, and I told them to do the full flush. I can afford $30 more dollars.

I should be good for another 22K miles. I don't care what Nissan says
Yeah, I believe the partial flush is just R&R of the fluid in the master cylinder. Smarter to go with the full meal deal.
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Old 06-25-2013, 10:04 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by gizzsdad View Post
Flushing is becoming more and more common in owner's manuals.

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/auto-p...-necessary.htm
Very good article, thanks! This surely reinforced the idea that its now a routine maintenance action, like changing oil.
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Old 07-10-2013, 05:14 PM   #8
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Got my fluid changed today on the house courtesy of Nissan not fully inspecting my vehicle during the Certified inspection process. A placard in the dealership said thy charged $150 for this.

Car has 16k on it and I can notice the difference right away with the new fluid. I don't need to compress the peddle as far and it's much smoother overall.

Def recommend this maintenance for anyone that feels they belong in the premium category.
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Old 07-11-2013, 10:28 AM   #9
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They only time I have ever flushed Brake Fluid is when I changed the pads/shoes. But then again, I have never boiled my fluid and generally go about 100 to 200K between needing shoes/pads. I am at 210K now and have yet to replace my pads on my 7th Gen. But then again, with the exception of some British and Italian cars I owned in the 70s and 80s, my driving style has been one of NOT using the brakes as much as possible.
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Old 07-11-2013, 11:27 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LtLeary View Post
They only time I have ever flushed Brake Fluid is when I changed the pads/shoes. But then again, I have never boiled my fluid and generally go about 100 to 200K between needing shoes/pads. I am at 210K now and have yet to replace my pads on my 7th Gen. But then again, with the exception of some British and Italian cars I owned in the 70s and 80s, my driving style has been one of NOT using the brakes as much as possible.
I noticed you have an '09 and I can't comment on what your service manual states. However, for my '12 Premium Service asks for a change at every 15k, regular service asks to do it at 30k. Not sure if this was changed from the '09-'12 years.

Nevertheless I noticed a huge difference in the feel of the peddle.

I can't speak about boiling points but I assume it boils every time as a result of friction. Check the link another member provided to this thread of you haven't already. It will certainly change your perspective on break fluid being a routine maintenance change.
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Old 07-11-2013, 01:14 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Boslax6123 View Post
It will certainly change your perspective on break fluid being a routine maintenance change.
LMAO...I am from Missouri!!!! I would have to see it to believe it!!!

I don't doubt it helped you but in 40 years I haven't seen or felt the difference unless there was a systemic underlying cause (Note I own the phrase "with my driving style and maintenance routines." I have no doubt that others may indeed benefit...it is just that I never have.



(shoot...just jinxed myself!!!!)
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Old 07-12-2013, 10:54 AM   #12
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What individual dealers do is up to them, but 15k brake fluid changes is pretty short and I doubt most owners are not changing the fluid out until a brake pad change.

Can someone post this new 2012 maintenance guide
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Old 07-12-2013, 01:19 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STARR View Post
What individual dealers do is up to them, but 15k brake fluid changes is pretty short and I doubt most owners are not changing the fluid out until a brake pad change.

Can someone post this new 2012 maintenance guide
Not individual dealers its now Nissan providing this.

I suggest reading the very informative link another provided, it may help explain it better.

Then here you go....http://www.nissan-techinfo.com/refgh...san-Maxima.pdf
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Old 07-12-2013, 02:08 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LtLeary View Post
LMAO...I am from Missouri!!!! I would have to see it to believe it!!!

I don't doubt it helped you but in 40 years I haven't seen or felt the difference unless there was a systemic underlying cause (Note I own the phrase "with my driving style and maintenance routines." I have no doubt that others may indeed benefit...it is just that I never have.



(shoot...just jinxed myself!!!!)
I agree and with your initial response as well.
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Old 07-12-2013, 02:36 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boslax6123 View Post
Not individual dealers its now Nissan providing this.

I suggest reading the very informative link another provided, it may help explain it better.

Then here you go....http://www.nissan-techinfo.com/refgh...san-Maxima.pdf
I read that link, nothing new and I don't see a page in the owners manual listing a brake fluid change, is it in the maintenance manual, I was a tech back in 96, worked on Nissans and BMWs for way to long, but after seeing cars go 200k with all factory fluids, with an occasional oil change I realized not to over react when owners have not changed anything, fluids are under rated because owners will far exceed the useable life before changing anything
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Old 07-12-2013, 02:48 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STARR View Post

I read that link, nothing new and I don't see a page in the owners manual listing a brake fluid change, is it in the maintenance manual, I was a tech back in 96, worked on Nissans and BMWs for way to long, but after seeing cars go 200k with all factory fluids, with an occasional oil change I realized not to over react when owners have not changed anything, fluids are under rated because owners will far exceed the useable life before changing anything
Sorry here is the correct link - https://owners.nissanusa.com/content...ance-guide.pdf

The thing I took from the link provided by another member is that break fluid absorbs water and breaks down over time, causing performance issues.

From first hand experience my car fell under the premium service and as a result I got it changed. I noticed an immediate difference.
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Old 07-14-2013, 04:39 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boslax6123 View Post
Sorry here is the correct link - https://owners.nissanusa.com/content...ance-guide.pdf

The thing I took from the link provided by another member is that break fluid absorbs water and breaks down over time, causing performance issues.

From first hand experience my car fell under the premium service and as a result I got it changed. I noticed an immediate difference.
No problem, I just use the old school BMW maintenance guidelines, and they always recommended 2 years or 24 months for break fluid, but Im gonna flush out my brake fluid and fill it up with dot 5 after I do some more research, its suppose to not absorb moisture like 3&4
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Old 07-14-2013, 08:50 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by STARR View Post
No problem, I just use the old school BMW maintenance guidelines, and they always recommended 2 years or 24 months for break fluid, but Im gonna flush out my brake fluid and fill it up with dot 5 after I do some more research, its suppose to not absorb moisture like 3&4
Do not use DOT 5! ESPECIALLY on a system the uses DOT 3/4! Dot 5 is compressible and will leave your brakes with a "squishy" feel, it can also damage seals! You're right DOT 5 is hydrophobic and doesn't absorb water, it's a silicone based fluid unlike DOT 3/4, which is polyethylene glycol. If you're looking for performance get a Racing DOT 3/4.

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Old 06-24-2015, 08:03 AM   #19
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How can I go about changing the brake fluid myself? just open the cap and suck as much fluid out as possible? What is the best tool to do this? then what kind of fluid do I put back in?


as I am looking around for a pump, I got to thinking, couldn't I use a pump from a shampoo bottle?

Last edited by andremike; 06-24-2015 at 08:20 AM..
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Old 06-24-2015, 08:51 AM   #20
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How can I go about changing the brake fluid myself? just open the cap and suck as much fluid out as possible? What is the best tool to do this? then what kind of fluid do I put back in?


as I am looking around for a pump, I got to thinking, couldn't I use a pump from a shampoo bottle?
Do yourself a great big favor and have this job done professionally. The brake system is the most important safety feature on your car and from the sound of your post your are a total novice at doing this.

Even if someone comes on here and gives you a step by step process there is still a good chance that you wont get it done correctly.

If you want to learn how to do this job yourself then you should find someone with experience and have him show you how to do it. There is more to changing the brake fluid than just sucking out the reservoir.
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Old 06-24-2015, 09:21 AM   #21
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A flush I can't do, but there is no reason I couldn't do a simple drain(suck) and fill.. Not as good as flushing and bleeding the brake lines.. but it should help extend the life of the brake fluid by adding new stuff. Anyone know how much you can suck out of the reservoir tank?


I performed a drain and fill on my coolant last year.
I also do my own brake jobs... minus the bleeding..
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Old 06-24-2015, 09:39 AM   #22
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I believe the service interval increase was cause from moisture contamination damaging the ABS control module.

A suck and fill does almost nothing. You aren't getting the majority of the fluid, that has been sitting in the lines.
Just google how to do a proper brake flush. It is pretty simple, and will take you and a friend 20 minutes.
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Old 06-24-2015, 10:28 AM   #23
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four

I'd have to echo the previous comment about having it professionally done. The brake fluid system is nothing like coolant or oil. Sucking fluid out of the reservoir is not going to draw fluid out of the car-length brake lines. At best you'd probably just be replacing whatever fluid is in the reservoir, which is not the fluid that's actually being used to stop a moving car.


I've heard of people bleeding the each brake line multiple times to flush fluid out through the bleeder valves on all 4 brakes, continuously pouring more into the reservoir until they have effectively replaced all the fluid, but I don't know how that compares to a professional job.
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Old 06-24-2015, 11:46 AM   #24
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I still don't understand this, I have never changed the brake fluid on any vehicle I have ever owned, not once. I have also never had to change anything brake related for that matter and I usually trade my cars around 105-120k miles. I have never had any issues with brakes not working right.

My Maxima has 48k on it and the first couple times I took it in for oil changes (bought it with 22k on it) they said I needed to change it and I laughed at them, sounded so absurd to me that I could not help it. They still work fantastic, barely have to touch them to stop.

I do know how to properly drive though, you don't need to use your brakes half as much as most bad drivers seem to think you do.
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Old 06-24-2015, 01:34 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Bossman150 View Post
I still don't understand this, I have never changed the brake fluid on any vehicle I have ever owned, not once. I have also never had to change anything brake related for that matter and I usually trade my cars around 105-120k miles. I have never had any issues with brakes not working right.

My Maxima has 48k on it and the first couple times I took it in for oil changes (bought it with 22k on it) they said I needed to change it and I laughed at them, sounded so absurd to me that I could not help it. They still work fantastic, barely have to touch them to stop.

I do know how to properly drive though, you don't need to use your brakes half as much as most bad drivers seem to think you do.

I agree 100%, just another way for the dealer to make $$ IMO. If your brakes ara working fine chances are the fluid is fine
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Old 06-24-2015, 02:25 PM   #26
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so many opinions... here is mine.
Brake fluid has a boiling point, as brake system heats up (from applying brakes) the temperature of brake fluid will rise. When the temperature will reach boiling point of the fluid, fluid will turn into gas and consequently your will suddenly realize that when you press the brake pedal NOTHING will happen.
Now brake fluid itself does not go bad, it just sits there in your brake system. However the Dot3/4 fluid is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs moisture from the air. As it absorbs moisture (water) it gets diluted. As it gets diluted, the boiling point decreases, so the chances of it boiling increase over time.
This is the reason why manufacturers recommend changing brake fluid based on time and not miles driven. Brake fluid will absorb moisture regardless of whether the car is driven or not. Additionally high water content may corrode the steel brake lines.
Thats the theory anyway.

In practice, many people drive their cars 10-15 years without changing brake fluid and nothing happens. That's because ordinary driving does not stress (heat up) fluid to the boiling point. If you go down Mt.Washington, with old fluid and use brakes while going down hill, I can pretty much guarantee that 10 yo fluid will boil, but ordinary driving is nothing like it. As your car is moving, the brake system gets cooled down by passing air.

I think changing brake fluid every 3-5 years is a good compromise. If you love your car, do it more often, but there is absolutely no reason to change it every year. Just like 3k oil changes, it does nothing for your system, but wastes brake fluid.

For those looking to do their own brake flush, look into Motive power bleeders. One man job, no risk of tearing up MC seals. Pushes fluid top down. I also bought Power probe MC master adapter set, which includes brake cup adapters for most brands.
Its expensive, but I do alot of car work, so it paid for itself.

A quick run down of the job:
Remove as much old fluid out of reservoir, but not 100% or you can introduce air to MC and ruin your day.
Refill MC reservoir with fresh fluid.
Attach power bleeder and pressurize to 15 psi
Open each bleeder valve in order recommended by your car manufacturer
Let the fluid flow from the bleeder valve until you feel comfortable that all old fluid has been drained from the line and only clean fluid is coming out.
Close the valve, repeat 3 times on other calipers.
Make sure you are not running low on brake fluid in the reservoir and add as necessary.
Final warning, if you run reservoir empty of fluid, you will introduce air into master cylinder. This will require bleeding of master cylinder, which is much more complicated and have weak or no brakes.

I typically buy 1 32oz bottle of Valvoline synthetic Dot3/4 fluid and flush entire contents of the bottle. ATE makes blue brake fluid, which is not only high performance
but also will be plainly obvious when flushing brake system. When yellow turns blue,
you are pushing new fluid and can stop. Thats what I put in my Max.

Finally, Boslax6123, if you had properly functioning brakes, you should have felt absolutely no difference after brake flush, unless you are tracking your car. You must
have had air in lines in order to FEEL the difference. It could also be a placebo effect, you feel more confident in using your brakes and it feels good.

Knowledge is power, don't blindly follow Nissan or Dealer. Learn the facts and make your own choices. Details described above apply to every car make, not just Nissan. Clearly Dot 5 and Dot 5.1 fluids are different, so use whatever fluid type manufacturer recommends.

good luck
Max
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Old 06-24-2015, 06:37 PM   #27
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Everything you said is great, except super blue is not longer sold in stores. DOT said all break fluid needs to be yellow, so it is now Super Blue-Gold.
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Old 06-24-2015, 08:20 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaximaDrvr View Post
Everything you said is great, except super blue is not longer sold in stores. DOT said all break fluid needs to be yellow, so it is now Super Blue-Gold.
well, I will be...... thanks for the heads up, had no idea this happened!
government is meddling in fluid colors, oh well, I still have blue in my Max and next time was going to do yellow ATE or Valvoline.
I only ever put ATE Blue in my own car, as the price is about double of Valvoline.
Max
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Old 06-25-2015, 06:17 PM   #29
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I've been doing DIY brake fluid flushes for the last 20 years. I hope I'm not wasting my time, but I feel better and sleep better )

Now with ABS and stability systems are standard, the OEM's have some obligation to err on side of caution to advise fluid flushes for the rare event that a 10 year old car has the system fail to function due to boiling of the fluid from water contamination.

I have the Motive bleeder system, the Maxima uses the same resevoir adaptor as my wife's Flex = saved me some coin.
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Old 06-25-2015, 07:51 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KGMtech View Post
I've been doing DIY brake fluid flushes for the last 20 years. I hope I'm not wasting my time, but I feel better and sleep better )

Now with ABS and stability systems are standard, the OEM's have some obligation to err on side of caution to advise fluid flushes for the rare event that a 10 year old car has the system fail to function due to boiling of the fluid from water contamination.

I have the Motive bleeder system, the Maxima uses the same resevoir adaptor as my wife's Flex = saved me some coin.
Motive power bleeder makes this a 15 minute task with the wheels already off! Money well spent sir, especially if you have the one wiht the metal fitting connection which is much sturdier
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Old 06-26-2015, 06:58 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxud View Post
so many opinions... here is mine.
Brake fluid has a boiling point, as brake system heats up (from applying brakes) the temperature of brake fluid will rise. When the temperature will reach boiling point of the fluid, fluid will turn into gas and consequently your will suddenly realize that when you press the brake pedal NOTHING will happen.
Now brake fluid itself does not go bad, it just sits there in your brake system. However the Dot3/4 fluid is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs moisture from the air. As it absorbs moisture (water) it gets diluted. As it gets diluted, the boiling point decreases, so the chances of it boiling increase over time.
This is the reason why manufacturers recommend changing brake fluid based on time and not miles driven. Brake fluid will absorb moisture regardless of whether the car is driven or not. Additionally high water content may corrode the steel brake lines.
Thats the theory anyway.

In practice, many people drive their cars 10-15 years without changing brake fluid and nothing happens. That's because ordinary driving does not stress (heat up) fluid to the boiling point. If you go down Mt.Washington, with old fluid and use brakes while going down hill, I can pretty much guarantee that 10 yo fluid will boil, but ordinary driving is nothing like it. As your car is moving, the brake system gets cooled down by passing air.

I think changing brake fluid every 3-5 years is a good compromise. If you love your car, do it more often, but there is absolutely no reason to change it every year. Just like 3k oil changes, it does nothing for your system, but wastes brake fluid.

For those looking to do their own brake flush, look into Motive power bleeders. One man job, no risk of tearing up MC seals. Pushes fluid top down. I also bought Power probe MC master adapter set, which includes brake cup adapters for most brands.
Its expensive, but I do alot of car work, so it paid for itself.

A quick run down of the job:
Remove as much old fluid out of reservoir, but not 100% or you can introduce air to MC and ruin your day.
Refill MC reservoir with fresh fluid.
Attach power bleeder and pressurize to 15 psi
Open each bleeder valve in order recommended by your car manufacturer
Let the fluid flow from the bleeder valve until you feel comfortable that all old fluid has been drained from the line and only clean fluid is coming out.
Close the valve, repeat 3 times on other calipers.
Make sure you are not running low on brake fluid in the reservoir and add as necessary.
Final warning, if you run reservoir empty of fluid, you will introduce air into master cylinder. This will require bleeding of master cylinder, which is much more complicated and have weak or no brakes.

I typically buy 1 32oz bottle of Valvoline synthetic Dot3/4 fluid and flush entire contents of the bottle. ATE makes blue brake fluid, which is not only high performance
but also will be plainly obvious when flushing brake system. When yellow turns blue,
you are pushing new fluid and can stop. Thats what I put in my Max.

Finally, Boslax6123, if you had properly functioning brakes, you should have felt absolutely no difference after brake flush, unless you are tracking your car. You must
have had air in lines in order to FEEL the difference. It could also be a placebo effect, you feel more confident in using your brakes and it feels good.

Knowledge is power, don't blindly follow Nissan or Dealer. Learn the facts and make your own choices. Details described above apply to every car make, not just Nissan. Clearly Dot 5 and Dot 5.1 fluids are different, so use whatever fluid type manufacturer recommends.

good luck
Max
This guy is on point on this subject!!!
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Old 06-27-2015, 05:17 AM   #32
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Just buy some break test strips and that will tell you if your brake fluid needs to be changed!!
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Old 06-27-2015, 05:17 AM
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