One of many inside jokes of the auto industry regards the “wallet flush”. This refers to the extra fluid related services repair facilities want to sell you above and beyond what your car manufacturer recommends.
Read your car’s owner’s manual and it will spell out exactly what should be required to adequately maintain your vehicle. You may also find in your manual a section that suggests additional maintenance items for “severe conditions”
These “severe conditions” are what most service salespeople use to recommend additional items like coolant flushes, transmission flushes or engine flushes.
Truth is there may be times that any of these services may be value-added but I have found it to be the exception rather than the rule.
In today’s vehicles many fluid’s technologies are so advanced they need to be replaced much less often. Dextron III transmission fluid is supposed to last up to 100,000 miles. There is now long-life coolant available that some say last up to five years.
The quality of vehicles continues to increase. As a result the need for routine maintenance has gone down. Owners and operators of repair facilities are always looking for new revenue streams and these services fit the bill.
In many cases they charge an hour or more of labor for a flush when the machine is doing most of the work while the technician does something else. Not all processes are equal but I once saw a oil flush machine in action that took less than 10 minutes to hook up and disconnect. The customer paid $148. Minus the $24 in filters and fluids this still works out to $744/hour.
Follow the guidelines of your owner’s manual and you should rarely if ever need to have your wallet flushed!