I read a post you had the other day talking about power steering fluid flush recommendations by an oil change place to their customer. Last week I was at my oil change place and they recommended I do a fuel system flush as “good maintenance”. What are your thoughts on that?
Hey there Mike,
That too is a great question. First off, about oil change places. They are in business to sell you stuff, hopefully stuff you need…hopefully. They offer you a cheap oil change while you wait, and in many cases they break even on the oil change service itself when you add in all their overhead and costs involved in changing oil…it’s a small profit margin to say the least.
So what they have to do is find other repairs to sell you once you are there, fluid changes, wiper blades, air filters etc. etc. simple stuff that just about any mechanic can do and do quickly and be profitable.
Rarely will you go to one of these places without them trying to upsell you on something, or show you some old looking fluid and recommending fluid changes etc. This is fine, but as long as you actually NEED that service and they don’t just NEED to make payroll this week…on you.
Flushing the fuel system in my honest opinion is a great money making repair, and in most cases you don’t need to do it. Does it help with overall maintenance, that is debatable. Can it help if you are experiencing loss of power, poor starts or poor idle speed…it might, and that is debatable too.
Now, with that said cleaning the throttle body on most vehicles IS something I would recommend you do every 30,000 miles or so as part of good maintenance and you can usually feel the difference once it is done.
A dirty throttle body can contribute to poor idle speeds or erratic idle speeds, dying while at stop signs and slow speed stops etc. Over time dirt/gunk/carbon buildup inside the opening of the throttle body and need to be manually cleaned away.
This is a simple and inexpensive repair and in many cases is included in the “fuel system flush” package but the throttle body clean is really all that is needed. Today’s fuels are much cleaner and have many additives to help keep the injectors and the fuel system clean without having to interfere with them manually like we used to 15 years ago.
So if you want to clean the throttle body and pass on the balance of their fuel system flush package that is probably my recommendation here. When I clean a customers’ throttle body (even when they have no signs of needing to clean it as mentioned above) they usually tell me “wow, my car idles so much smoother now, what did you do”.
Over time you become accustom to the slight changes to the idle speed performance and do not realize that the idle is rough or erratic….until you clean the throttle body and realize what you have been missing.
Here is a short video of me cleaning my throttle body so you understand what it is and you might want to try to do it yourself as well.