Brake Fluid Surprise? - Nissan Murano Forum
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post #1 of 38 Old 08-14-2012, 07:11 PM Thread Starter
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Brake Fluid Surprise?

I was planning to replace the brake fluid on our 2009 Murano, mainly because the majority of manufacturers (car & fluid) say to replace it every two years as it absorbs moisture. As far as I can tell, Nissan has no spec for replacing it at all.

So I called the dealer just to see, and the service writer went to ask the parts guy, and he swears that if I want something better than DOT3 (I was thinking 4.1 or 5.1) the use DOT5 "all the time".

Except, I know DOT5. That's silicone and requires a flush AND is generally stated to be incompatible with ABS systems.

Still, the service writer said DOT5.

I'm waiting for word back from Nissan Regional, but has anyone heard of using DOT5 in a Murano with the standard ABS system? Or maybe the parts guy said "5.1" and the service writer is just used to asking "Do you want fries with that?"
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post #2 of 38 Old 08-14-2012, 10:05 PM
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The service writer is half-right; the approved fluid is a "5", but not DOT-5. According to the Nissan Service Manual, the approved fluid is "Genuine Nissan Super Heavy Duty Brake Fluid*5 or equivalent DOT 3".

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post #3 of 38 Old 08-15-2012, 07:26 AM
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You don't really want to use dot 5 anyways because although it does not obsorb moisture, it does let moisture puddle in the system, sometimes leading to faster corrosion.

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post #4 of 38 Old 08-15-2012, 10:32 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, njjoe. I just got a fast callback from Nissan Regional, who confirmed Nissan's "special sauce" is the only thing they recommend and that's a DOT3 rated fluid.

And, oddly, that Nissan only recommends inspecting the brake fkuid periodically, they never call for timed replacements. Unlike most everyone else. So maybe they make the most unique and powerful special sauce on the planet. Damfino. Sears, $35 fluid change. Dealer, $130 fluid change. Special Sauce shouldn't be THAT expensive.

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I'm familiar with DOT5. When I bought it for my primary car, I had to order it directly from the fleet operations branch of Dow Chemical, and it was the same fluid used in the F18 fighters. It has been in that car for 27 years now so you could say I know how it behaves. And, that none of my brake components have rusted or rotted from moisture problems in that time. Yes, I bleed out a spit of it every couple of years just to see what's in there. But I've also seen wheel cylinders (Ford) rusted badly enough to need service after only 5 years with DOT3 unchanged in them.

Of course these days, no one polishes rusty cylinders, they just sell you new one$. Which I hope are made of better metal.

Still, if almost all the other car makers and chemical houses say CHANGE THE FLUID...I have to wonder what Nissan is thinking.

Pass the special sauce, please. Oh, and fries?
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post #5 of 38 Old 08-15-2012, 01:50 PM
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No special sauce just special mark up. Why do you think the dealer have a brake fluid change service? I don't know any vehicle sold for the regular consumer that needed DOT 5. Unless you are racing and modifiying your car there is no need for it. This is a prime example of bigger is better mentality which does not apply. Any DOT 3 will do--I like prestone---change it every brake pad change or so. Good for your brake system--preventive maintenance. I never heard of an accident that was caused by using any DOT 3 brake fluid have you?
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post #6 of 38 Old 08-15-2012, 01:56 PM Thread Starter
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Nitely, consumers may never "need" DOT5 but under repeated braking and heating, it continues to perform with fade. Your car doesn't "need" synthetic oil either, but it can benefit form using it.

That's not the point here. I'm not debating brake fluids, I was trying to find out the Nissan-sanctioned options. And whether my dealer was wrong.

I've seen brake cylinders damaged by the water from DOT3. Nissan's policy of "inspect every xx" is simply a way to drive profits, it would be simpler and cheaper to follow a PM schedule.

Of course for those of us who don't own garages, have no convenient place to lift the car, and don't feel like shelling out every two years for someone else to do it, switching to DOT5 while the car is young and preventing water problems can be a simple matter of economics.

As I said, 27 years and counting. That's also a lot of used DOT3 I haven't had to dump or replace.
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post #7 of 38 Old 08-15-2012, 02:34 PM
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Like I said preventive maintenance. You do not have to change it at all. I run my 90 civic for 180K with no brake fluid change. The fluid was very dark in color but the braking was good--but that car did not have abs or any high tech brake system that demands more attention. Contamination is the enemy here, and when that happens parts starts to fail and there goes the big ticket repair the dealer is waiting for. I feel dealer service schedule, most of them, are formulated to maintain the car for about 5 years only. Just until the warranty runs out. After that, you are on your own. I also get lots of conflicting information from dealer employees that is why I don't trust them.
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post #8 of 38 Old 08-15-2012, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
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"You do not have to change it at all."
That's like saying as long as there's oil on your dipstick, you don't have to change the oil. Might work for you, but there's no way to tell if the oil still meets spec, other than sending it out for analysis. And there's no way to tell if the brake fluid meets spec, without using a moisture meter on it. Oh wait, I've got one around here someplace. (Not.)
Glad to hear it lasts forever for you. Hope you never get a surprise and find out you have to replace the brake cylinders because they've rusted and pitted from the water in the brake fluid. Or, that you've hit the car in front of you on the highway, because there was a little moisture in your fluid, and you stopped two feet further down the road than you should have.

"Contamination is the enemy here, " That's just one of them. And moisture contamination is normal in all brake systems, they suck it in all the time.
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post #9 of 38 Old 08-15-2012, 04:01 PM
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This is very interesting information. I wonder how many folks actually do this to their vehicles? Thinking back over 42 years of car ownership, I cannot recall ever doing this. Of course over that time period I've only replaced brakes 3 or 4 times, so maybe it was done when I had the brakes replaced. I really don't know.

I'm going to check my recommended service intervals for the MO and see if they specify replacing the brake fluid at a specific time or mileage.

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post #10 of 38 Old 08-15-2012, 05:07 PM Thread Starter
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"I wonder how many folks actually do this to their vehicles?"
Oh, how many change their oil? Or antifreeze?

One reason tire pressure systems are mandatory now, is that in the Ford-Firestone investigations they found out that 75% of all drivers don't bother checking their tire pressure. At all. Ever.

And if you've ever seen a car with the paint "burned" off from sun damage, how many folks know that it needs to be waxed once or twice a year to prevent that? can of wax, ten bucks. New paint job? Three or four grand.

Of course that's one reason leasing is popular, use it, give it back, zero maintenance.

Nissan just says to "inspect" the brake fluid at certain intervals. You'd need a moisture meter to actually do that, a visual inspection only tells you it is long past due. And of course, what you inspect under the hood, doesn't say much about what is doing down by the wheels, so you really need to bleed them to inspect them. Once you're doing that...wtf, it isn't much harder to just hold the screw open a little longer and put $20 worth of new fluid in the system, is it?
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post #11 of 38 Old 08-15-2012, 07:04 PM
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I don't know what you are looking for. You were planning to bleed your brake fluid but somehow you were hoping to change to DOT5 that seems to have worked with your other car that never needed bleeding after--for convenience and econmical purposes. But you know that DOT5 will hurt your MOs brake system--incompatible. A dealer confuses you more and suggest you can use DOT 5 so you get excited but in the end was wrong which all the while you know already. Then you question nissans no change just inspect recommendation maintenance for brake fluid. It sounds like you hate changing/bleeding it so this should be good news but at the same time you know many other cars recommends it and you were planning on doing it already because you know that DOT3 sucks in moisture. So, what now?

My regimen to get the most life from my MOs brake system is this.... Bleed your brake fluid every brake pad change or so--50k or so. Always use DOT3 brake fluid--any brand you like--DOT 4 ok if you like but I honestly don't see the need--You buy a brand new car with stock DOT3 and you drive it for a long while until the time comes to change the pads you decide to switching to a DOT 4--its just personal preference but performance wise I'm pretty sure you will not notice any differenceo or need for it. Never use DOT5. I do my own maintenance and repair.

The point of my civic story was that the brakes was performing fine up to 170k without bleeding the DOT3 brake fluid. I did eventually changed the master cylinder on that one but I believe it was my fault contaminating the system when I was doing the right rear shoes--another long story all together. Anyway, that car was in good shape even though I replaced many parts until it got stolen in '07 with 270k on it.
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post #12 of 38 Old 08-15-2012, 11:44 PM
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Here's some info on brake fluid types, compatibility and boiling points.

Different types of Brake Fluid

I have been prone to alternate ATE Super Blue and Super Gold so that I could tell by the color difference when the old fluid was flushed. This stuff is probably overkill for the Murano, but it's good for my 280ZX on track days.

ATE Super Blue Racing Fluid

You can pretty easily find comparison charts to see what the boiling points of various fluids are.

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post #13 of 38 Old 08-17-2012, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
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Pilgrim, your link to superblue seems to generate a list of wheels and tire pressure sensors available on ebay.

Nightly, what I was looking for is what I asked for in the first post. Confirmation or refutation of what my Nissan dealer's service desk told me.

Nissan regional has since told me that the dealer was simply WRONG and that they only recommend their secret sauce for the Murano. Which is a DOT3 fluid.

I don't need or want information about what kind of brake fluids have what kind of property, I know what brake fluids are. I only asked what the Murano needed.

And from everything I know--and have verified--about brake fluids, the Murano can use DOT3, 4, 4.1, 5.1, anything except DOT5, according to all the folks who make all the fluids. Sadly as usual the carmaker and dealer are both full of FUD.
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post #14 of 38 Old 08-18-2012, 12:05 AM
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Hmmm...sorry about that bad link. Must have been the result of the search I did.

Here's a good link that mentions that the ATE Blue and Amber have the same specs.

https://www.pegasusautoracing.com/pr...p?Product=3326

DOT5 is absolutely NOT the correct fluid for any car with ABS.

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post #15 of 38 Old 01-23-2013, 05:28 PM
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So what is the consensus on when to change the brake fluid on the Murano? Lets assume normal duty for the sake of argument....once every 4-5 years?

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