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So the dealer says maintain schedule is to change the brake fluid at 3 years. I have never had this with my other trucks? so can someone enlighten me ?
 

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The dealer is correct. Honda instructs changing the Ridgeline's brake fluid every 3 years regardless of mileage.

Brake fluid doesn't "wear out" or "expire", but it does become contaminated over time which could reduce braking performance or damage expensive components like the VSA modulator.

For comparison, here are the brake fluid maintenance intervals for other mid-size trucks:

Colorado - replace every 5 years (automatic), 3 years (manual - brake fluid is shared with clutch)
Tacoma - inspect condition every 15,000 miles or 18 months
Frontier - replace every 20,000 miles or 24 months (normal), replaced every 10,000 miles or 12 months (severe)
 

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Brake fluid is hydroscopic ( tending to absorb moisture from the air )

VW, Audi and most other German vehicles recommended changing every two years back in the 80's & 90's. Not sure if they still do?
 

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Brake fluid doesn't "wear out" or "expire", but it does become contaminated over time which could reduce braking performance or damage expensive components like the VSA modulator.
Absolutely agree. In my humid part of Texas it's amazing how much atmospheric moisture brake fluid absorbs from the small head space over the master cylinder reservoir, and how that moisture can collect and promote rust in the least convenient crannys of the brake system (not to mention cause issues due to it's relatively low boiling point and relatively large temperature-related expansion characteristics).
 

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What I don't understand is how they can make blanket intervals for brake fluid as I would think that the climate you are in must be a factor. Some talk about test strips to check fluid condition. Still what's most important and you will never know unless you DIY is if they actually break the bleeders loose at the dealership. I would think that here in rusty NY there would be no incentive to even touch the bleeders and risk a caliper replacement or wasted time. They can simply vacuum out the reservoir, collect their $120 and call it a day. From what I understand is the fluid never circulates so the rusty stuff will just stay where it its.
 

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What I don't understand is how they can make blanket intervals for brake fluid as I would think that the climate you are in must be a factor.
Most all "guidance" for vehicle PM is based on considerations of 'typical' ('average'?) situations with 'conservatism' applied if the atypical situation presents significantly greater risk (a form of sensitivity analysis). That guidance is much better than nothing and is protective for the vast majority of situations encountered by the vast majority of consumers.

Sure, most any PM routine can be 'optimized' through procedures like testing to determine case-specific conditions, but that has to be done correctly to be effective and imposes both an effort and cost that, in balance, isn't practical or more efficient (in terms of time and/or effort and/or life-cycle cost) for most consumers. Those sorts of things are efficient and offer long-term payback for fleet operators.

Put yourself in the position of a vehicle manufacturer with genuine best interests of your total pool of consumers in mind .... what would you do when it comes to making PM recommendations (recognizing that most vehicle owners in the real world still don't even keep-up with the simple task of maintaining proper tire inflation)?
 

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I have to chime in here and it won't be a popular. I'm 59 years old and have owned/leased everything from a 1976 Vega ( GT) to 911's,Vette's and everything in between. I am as anal as it gets about maintaining my vehicles from washing and claying/waxing them regularly to mechanical maintenance and I think the latter is way over thought these days and on these forums. Oil is 0 times better that it was 30 years ago. The components of most modern cars follow the same pattern so why are we overly concerned about changing every fluid every 01k miles? It's not necessary. Brake fluid every 3 years? Maybe if you live in New York City and use your ride for an Uber and put 60k miles a year on it.

I have a friend/ ex-business associate who even though he makes a huge amount of money buys ( never leases) Infiniti's and Acura's and drives them until the wheels fall off at 200k miles doing minimal if no maintenance other than gas,oil and tires. He ticks me off when he says " yep I drove this 2001 Acura for 200k miles and never did anything but change the oil and new tires. Either he is lying of we are all nuts???
 

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I have a friend/ ex-business associate who even though he makes a huge amount of money buys ( never leases) Infiniti's and Acura's and drives them until the wheels fall off at 200k miles doing minimal if no maintenance other than gas,oil and tires. He ticks me off when he says " yep I drove this 2001 Acura for 200k miles and never did anything but change the oil and new tires. Either he is lying of we are all nuts???
One might wonder about his tolerance for the effects of miles and age. Some folks genuinely don't care as long as it 'drives' (and that's fine for them :)).

There's a lot of ground between no-PM and "overly concerned"; everyone just needs to find their comfort zone and hopefully not be too pedantic or condescending to others who might have a different one. IMO.
 

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If safety isn't an issue for normal driving, I think it really doesn't matter and would go the test strip route.. I always get the fluid changed every 3 years, that may not be often enough. Sometimes it looks dirty anyway. Is it because they don't break the bleeders loose on the flush or they don't grease the sliders and change the brake hardware on the pad change? I seem to have a problem getting calipers to last past 10 years. Usually I go 50-60k then pads and rotors. Usually after the second pad and rotor change a caliper seizes and back to pads and rotors and calipers. When I do the math it's just cheaper to have calipers, rotors and pads changed at the 50-60k mark if on a 10-12 year 120k ownership cycle. I finally changed pads and rotors last summer on a crv perhaps I should develop some confidence to break the beeders loose and do a flush/bleed so I can take away all the guesswork of dealers cutting corners.
 

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OK, I'm an old geezer (just retired last week in fact), and I remember back in the late 1960's or early 70's reading about a new-fangled DOT-4 brake fluid, which was silicone-based, non-hygroscopic, had a higher boiling point, and would basically last the life of the vehicle. Anybody know what happened to that stuff, and why it's not being used today?
 

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DOT 5 is silicone-based. DOT 3 and DOT 4 are glycol-based.

DOT 5 will damage the Ridgeline's braking system.

Honda Heavy Duty DOT 3 is the specified brake fluid.

DOT 3 or DOT 4 can be used temporarily, but the system must be flushed with Honda Heavy Duty DOT 3 as soon as possible.
 

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Well, I was close :). Hard to remember from so long ago. The question still persists: why are mfr's still building brake systems to DOT 3 and 4 fluids if DOT 5 is so much better? Is there some drawback to DOT 5 that is restricting its adoption?

EDIT: Found the answer. In short, DOT 5 is incompatible with ABS systems because of its non-hygroscopic nature, which allows trapped water in the ABS to remain separated and to boil when things get hot.
 

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One might wonder about his tolerance for the effects of miles and age. Some folks genuinely don't care as long as it 'drives' (and that's fine for them :)).

There's a lot of ground between no-PM and "overly concerned"; everyone just needs to find their comfort zone and hopefully not be too pedantic or condescending to others who might have a different one. IMO.
Agree. He might just be lucky.( He seems to be in other areas of life as well. )He is not a "car guy" by any means. He does enough research to stick to reliable Japanese brands and just literally drives them until the wheels fall off with little to no maintenance. His last car was a 2007 Infiniti G35 which he finally got rid of last year at 220k miles and claims he did absolutely nothing but change the oil and tires at the highest mileage limits. Now has an Acura MDX.

I just find it odd that on a new Honda vehicle like the Ridgeline the recommendation for replacing transmission fluid, transfer case fluid, rear differential brake fluid and even a timing belt at 60k miles are so short. I should have done more research. The 10 year old Toyota Tundra I had never needed these items addressed. This will probably end up being a 3 year vehicle for me as much as I like it.
 

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I just find it odd that on a new Honda vehicle like the Ridgeline the recommendation for replacing transmission fluid, transfer case fluid, rear differential brake fluid and even a timing belt at 60k miles are so short. I should have done more research. The 10 year old Toyota Tundra I had never needed these items addressed. This will probably end up being a 3 year vehicle for me as much as I like it.
Transmission fluid
With the exception of the 10-speed, Honda automatic transmissions aren't like others. Instead of using planetary gears that are engaged or held with clutches and brakes, Honda's automatic transmissions resemble manual transmissions internally in that they use parallel shafts, but with friction clutches between gears. In order to maintain shift quality and longevity targets, specific fluid must be used and changed when prompted by the Maintenance Minder which calculates transmission fluid life based on actual operating conditions.

Transfer case fluid
Because the Ridgeline is an AWD vehicle instead of a part-time 4WD vehicle, the transfer case is always working so it needs more frequent fluid changes. On part-time 4WD vehicles, the transfer case isn't doing much, so the fluid doesn't require maintenance as frequently.

Rear differential
The magic behind the Ridgeline's capability on low-traction surfaces and sports car-like handling due to torque vectoring comes from a unique "differential" that technically isn't a differential. It's actually a right-angle gear drive with clutches between each output shaft and each rear wheel that can be modulated from completely off to fully engaged. Because it's always driving the rear wheels even on dry pavement, it's always generating heat and loading up with clutch material. The open or locking differentials on part-time 4WD vehicles don't have friction clutches that are always in use, so they don't require maintenance as frequently.

Brake fluid
Already discussed.

Timing belt
The 60,000-miles replacement interval is recommend only when driving regularly under specific, extreme conditions. Otherwise, replacement is per the Maintenance Minder which tends to be about every 105,000 miles.

Because of the Ridgeline's more advance AWD drive system, it requires more maintenance than a part-time 4WD system.
 

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Please repeat that part about the rear diff. Admittedly I ASSumed it operated like my early Pilot, in the sense that the rear isn't driving at cruise unless needed. So the new system is always driving the rear wheels?
Thx
 

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Because of the Ridgeline's more advance AWD drive system, it requires more maintenance than a part-time 4WD system.
All well worth it to me, the occasional cost and effort pales in comparison the the enjoyment returned by the RL day-in-day-out, just as the overall features of the competition pale in comparison to the RL.

But, I fit the RL niche (or it fits me) to a "T", maybe less-so for @montanaman, that's why choice in the market is good IMO, no worries! :)

(nope, one size does not fit all ;))
 

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Please repeat that part about the rear diff. Admittedly I ASSumed it operated like my early Pilot, in the sense that the rear isn't driving at cruise unless needed. So the new system is always driving the rear wheels?
Thx
"The clutch packs and their friction material are carefully designed to withstand the small amount of continuous slip between front and rear axles created by the 2.7-percent speed differential—all while delivering the durability expected of a Honda product."


The Ridgeline doesn't have a display showing the commanded torque like the current Pilot and Passport, but if you watch the torque display in those vehicles you'll see that some torque is always sent to the rear wheels any time the accelerator pedal is pressed regardless of the vehicle's speed.
 

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Transmission fluid
With the exception of the 10-speed, Honda automatic transmissions aren't like others. Instead of using planetary gears that are engaged or held with clutches and brakes, Honda's automatic transmissions resemble manual transmissions internally in that they use parallel shafts, but with friction clutches between gears. In order to maintain shift quality and longevity targets, specific fluid must be used and changed when prompted by the Maintenance Minder which calculates transmission fluid life based on actual operating conditions.

Transfer case fluid
Because the Ridgeline is an AWD vehicle instead of a part-time 4WD vehicle, the transfer case is always working so it needs more frequent fluid changes. On part-time 4WD vehicles, the transfer case isn't doing much, so the fluid doesn't require maintenance as frequently.

Rear differential
The magic behind the Ridgeline's capability on low-traction surfaces and sports car-like handling due to torque vectoring comes from a unique "differential" that technically isn't a differential. It's actually a right-angle gear drive with clutches between each output shaft and each rear wheel that can be modulated from completely off to fully engaged. Because it's always driving the rear wheels even on dry pavement, it's always generating heat and loading up with clutch material. The open or locking differentials on part-time 4WD vehicles don't have friction clutches that are always in use, so they don't require maintenance as frequently..

Brake fluid
Already discussed

Timing belt
The 60,000-miles replacement interval is recommend only when driving regularly under specific, extreme conditions. Otherwise, replacement is per the Maintenance Minder which tends to be about every 105,000 miles.

Because of the Ridgeline's more advance AWD drive system, it requires more maintenance than a part-time 4WD system.

Great information and well laid out.Thank you. So based on that would the Suburu's, Audi's and the new Highlander that have similar AWD systems need that same amount of fluid changes for the drive train? Also interesting is why Honda's 6 speed that has been around since around 2011 and in hundreds of thousands of Honda's and Acura's comes under such scrutiny in this and other forums as being a problem child? This 6 speed auto is in vehicles that have tons of miles on them with few if any issues right?
 
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