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2016 Malibu 1LT
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey had a question, the dealership is recommending a fuel system cleaning and brake flush on my 16 Malibu. I checked the maintenance schedule and it says I should be good on the brake flush for another year and nothing on the fuel system. I heard the direct injection vehicles need the cleaning but wanted to check in here first.

They recommended this at 34k
 

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2017 SS Sedan 6.2L
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At 34,000 miles, they're just trying to milk you for money. Just do the brake service when you need new pads.
 
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2016 Malibu 1LT 1.5T
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Brake fluid is recommended every 5 years, I'd just do with front pads when time. Fuel system, nah but depends on what they actually do and charge.
 
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Even with using only Top Tier fuels in my fleet I put injector cleaner, ones with PEA like Gumout or Techron in the gas tank at every oil change.
Overkill, maybe but this practice hasn't hurt anything in the fuel injected vehicles I've had in the last 20 yrs. .
Dealer ''up selling'' services is normal. Just like air filters that most can do themselves for a 1/4 of the price.
It's a matter of wallet size and ambition...
 

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I will say it seems like my fuel mileage isn't what it used to be, but the wife does have a heavy foot
 

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Well we're just coming out of summer heat and it's not unusual to lose several MPG during those months if you're running 87 octane gas. Now that it's getting cooler out, see what sort of average fuel economy you're getting out of your "last 50 miles" read out and then full tank of gas.

It's also important to note that the problem with direct injection isn't the fuel system, it's carbon build up in the intake ports and the back of the intake valves. This happens because in old-style port injected engines, the fuel sprays the ports and valves clean, direct injection doesn't. Over time, the soot, carbon, and consumed oil builds up nasty crud that screws up airflow.

At 37k miles, I'm skeptical that you already have major carbon issues, but the only way to know is to look at them with a scope. The process for cleaning the ports and valves is called a walnut shell blasting treatment and it tends to cost $300-400.
 

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Brake fluid is recommended every 5 years, I'd just do with front pads when time. Fuel system, nah but depends on what they actually do and charge.
I would add that brake fluid changes would likely be needed before you change the pads. A 2016 could well be at 5 yrs or right near it. If the pads hold up in this vehicle like they did in my wife's 2010 Equinox, you'd need to drive 20k/yr to coincide pad and brake fluid replacement.

My wife's previous vehicle, a 2010 Equinox, was still on the OE pads front and back at 95k with still quite a bit of life left on them, same experience with other of the General's marques. The GM cars I've owned since the late 90s seem to go at least 100k on the OE pads.

Fuel cleaning? If you run top tier I can't see needing any fuel system cleaning I have no idea if these 1.5L and 2L engines have issues with intake valve carbon build-up. That's not necessarily addressed with a fuel system cleaning.
 

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2016 Malibu 1LT 1.5T
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I would add that brake fluid changes would likely be needed before you change the pads. A 2016 could well be at 5 yrs or right near it. If the pads hold up in this vehicle like they did in my wife's 2010 Equinox the first time you'd need to drive 20k/yr for new pads
You are of course welcome to have a lube tech hook up and drain that fluid at 50k but I'd wait and have it done all at once by a full tech doing a brake job. Or DIY I suppose but not many here would attempt that.
Fuel cleaning? If you run top tier I can't see needing any fuel system cleaning I have no idea if these 1.5L and 2L engines have issues with intake valve carbon build-up. That's not necessarily addressed with a fuel system cleaning.
Fuel system cleaning (likely just a dump into the tank), won't do anything for intake valves. So far, even with some gen9 cars over 100k now, we have seen zero reports of rough idle, power loss, or significant drops in mpg tied to carbon build up on intake valves. Both the 1.5 and 2.0 have totally different PCV and catch can implementations than previous GM direct injection engines. Even under gen8 you will find lots of recommendations to check or clean intake valves but never/rarely an actual confirmation or positive result. Sometimes rough idle or mpg drop is just rough idle like any car could experience for any number of reasons and needs to be diagnosed accordingly.
 
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Fuel system cleaning (likely just a dump into the tank), won't do anything for intake valves. So far, even with some gen9 cars over 100k now, we have seen zero reports of rough idle, power loss, or significant drops in mpg tied to carbon build up on intake valves. Both the 1.5 and 2.0 have totally different PCV and catch can implementations than previous GM direct injection engines. If you search this forum under gen8 you will find lots of recommendations to check or clean intake valves but never/rarely an actual confirmation or positive result. Sometimes rough idle or mpg drop is just rough idle like any car could experience for any number of reasons and needs to be diagnosed accordingly.
Good to know. The old Equinox had the 2.4L SIDI 4 banger in it and it either had carbon build-up on the valves or an issue with the cat converter ( GM extended the warranty on it for all owners of that year and engine), which I have no idea. The engine acted like it was just 'out of breath' way, way to easily after 95k on it. Fuel mileage dropped from a typical 25-26mpg to no better than 20mpg (combined city/freeway). It was also anemic on acceleration, it was shifting to lower gears to climb modest hills to boot (like 3-4kRPM, where the same local hilly streets would never command such high revs when it was newer). But, it also never exhibited the issues of a clogged converter or badly carboned valves either (no rough idle), nor were any codes thrown either so I have no idea what was amiss. I wasn't willing to spend big $$ on a fishing expedition.

The wife got jealous of my Premier with all of it's goodies and acceleration which is how she ended up with a red 2020 Terrain with the 2L turbo....
 

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Up sell charges they make money to do that. Read the owners manual, it tells you what and when to do it at what mileage or time Period. If they do a brake fluid drain and fill the fluid will be clear, In the reservoir. If they
take the time they should bleed all lines from the front to the back of the car. Just check around the bleeders they should be clean at the bleeder and maybe a little brake fluid.if the didn’t wipe it off.this helps to keep any condensation in the metal lines from breaking down the fluid. Follow the owners manual. Fuel system use cleaner that don’t hurt parts. Fuel filters some you can change other are built into fuel pump assemblies. Knowledge is power. So read.
 

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Even more, have them dip a test strip into it before they do anything, then again after.

The reason for flushing the brake fluid is not to ensure that there isn't any air in the system, but to replace the fluid from stem to stern. Brake fluid will absorb moisture from the humidity in the air. That leads to it becoming a little more acidic. The additives in the fluid that help control corrosion are depleted just by sitting in the lines. As it does so, it works on ruining the lines from the inside out.

The proper way to do it is to remove as much fluid from the reservoir as possible (a turkey baster works nicely), then refill with new fluid that has never been opened, or just recently opened.

Next, go to the right rear wheel and use a vacuum pump on the bleeder to draw the dirty fluid into the container, emptying it as needed. When you see new fluid, stop when you're comfortable that no old fluid is present and shut off the bleeder. Note: Some air may bypass the threads of the bleeder and appear as tiny bubbles in the stream of fluid. Don't worry about those. (Reminds me of an old song about a drunk.)

Make sure not to let the fluid run dry up front! When pouring in more fluid, do so very slowly so you don't mix any remaining old fluid with the new. You want to add it so the old stays at the bottom as much as possible and can then replaced by the new.

Move to the next 3 wheels: left rear, right front, left front. Check the fluid often.

When I paid $100 for my dealer to do it, the test paper started out pink and turned a dark purple. After the job, it turned purple again. When asked why, the service writer shrugged her shoulders. I knew why — it was because they didn't remove the old fluid first, or worse, all they did was make sure that there was no air in there, so all they did was add a little squirt of new fluid.

I did it completely by myself the next year. It's that easy!
 

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like many are saying about brakes do it yourself. I have several cars my procshe wants it done every other year. I do and also on my bmws. I never really did it on my chevy and toyotas. the 09 Malibu had 50k on it when we changed front pads no fluid change. at 98k and 9 years old a rear pad had delaminated. when bleeding brakes the fluid was black. we flushed the system. I can only think that the crap in the system in not good for the ABS systems in the newer cars. I even flushed the system and replaced the rubber lines on the 85 celica. That was the most sludge I have ever seen. In short flush your lines your self about every 4 years. there is a lot riding on your brakes.

fuel system. I put a can of sea foam in every car once a year. I put it in evereything tractor, chain saw, weed wacker.... it keeps them all running nice. try it first.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yeah I read the maintenance schedule and am waiting until next year before I mess with the brakes, recharge the AC at that time also.
 

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Even more, have them dip a test strip into it before they do anything, then again after.

The reason for flushing the brake fluid is not to ensure that there isn't any air in the system, but to replace the fluid from stem to stern. Brake fluid will absorb moisture from the humidity in the air. That leads to it becoming a little more acidic. The additives in the fluid that help control corrosion are depleted just by sitting in the lines. As it does so, it works on ruining the lines from the inside out.

The proper way to do it is to remove as much fluid from the reservoir as possible (a turkey baster works nicely), then refill with new fluid that has never been opened, or just recently opened.

Next, go to the right rear wheel and use a vacuum pump on the bleeder to draw the dirty fluid into the container, emptying it as needed. When you see new fluid, stop when you're comfortable that no old fluid is present and shut off the bleeder. Note: Some air may bypass the threads of the bleeder and appear as tiny bubbles in the stream of fluid. Don't worry about those. (Reminds me of an old song about a drunk.)

Make sure not to let the fluid run dry up front! When pouring in more fluid, do so very slowly so you don't mix any remaining old fluid with the new. You want to add it so the old stays at the bottom as much as possible and can then replaced by the new.

Move to the next 3 wheels: left rear, right front, left front. Check the fluid often.

When I paid $100 for my dealer to do it, the test paper started out pink and turned a dark purple. After the job, it turned purple again. When asked why, the service writer shrugged her shoulders. I knew why — it was because they didn't remove the old fluid first, or worse, all they did was make sure that there was no air in there, so all they did was add a little squirt of new fluid.

I did it completely by myself the next year. It's that easy!

I agree with this method of brake fluid replacement; my concern is that this doesn't replace the fluid in the ABS pump and lines which possibly may be the most vulnerable component in the system. Isn't a scan tool required to allow purging of the ABS portion of the system for a complete fluid service/replacement?

.
 

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I agree with this method of brake fluid replacement; my concern is that this doesn't replace the fluid in the ABS pump and lines which possibly may be the most vulnerable component in the system. Isn't a scan tool required to allow purging of the ABS portion of the system for a complete fluid service/replacement?

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Thanks for mentioning that point!

From what I've read by others here on CMF, it takes a scan tool to cycle the ABS motor. I don't have one, but if I did I'd certainly include that in the service.
 

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You almost need a scan tool for almost any new car repair. Brake fluid in the brake lines and calipers will have Moisture in them if they was not bleed out. Save for a scan tool. Launch maybe one sold by Amazon. On daily deals. In your price range. to do bio directional Controls . Or pay a mechanic so he can buy a new upgrade scanner. You have choices.
 

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I gravity drain brake fluid when doing a brake job. I drain and refill reservoir with fresh and crack open bleeders and let them drip out the old while doing the rest of the job. Just don't let the reservoir run dry. Been doing it this way for decades without issues, even before ABS. It all depends on bleeder screws not being frozen or breaking off.
Do not worry if is little old is retained in the system, how many 200k mile vehicles are out there with the factory fluid in them stopping just fine ? Quite a few...
 

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I gravity drain brake fluid when doing a brake job. I drain and refill reservoir with fresh and crack open bleeders and let them drip out the old while doing the rest of the job. Just don't let the reservoir run dry. Been doing it this way for decades without issues, even before ABS. It all depends on bleeder screws not being frozen or breaking off.
Do not worry if is little old is retained in the system, how many 200k mile vehicles are out there with the factory fluid in them stopping just fine ? Quite a few...
I also do the gravity bleed when doing a brake service; is is quite effective in purging the old fluid.

I guess after doing a fluid change, and not including the ABS system; one could then activate the ABS system by driving on a slippery surface and braking hard enough to activate the ABS system, thus exchanging some fresh fluid through the pump, lines, and into the system.

.
 
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Some fresh goes through the ABS pump as it's integral to the system.
I always make it a point several times every winter to cycle the pump when I get some snow on the ground.
 
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