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I was quoted $280 by the local dealer for the 10k service - no wonder smart is loosing the market if this type of gouging goes on by the Mercedes. In contrast, I have spent about $100 on my Honda in two years of required service - and that includes rotating the tires.

I think this is pretty sad. I shudder at the thought of having to get REAL repairs from these guys after the warranty is up. Right up there with the Wall Street crowd.....
 

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Even so, Smarts consistently comes up with the lowest cost of ownership over 5 years.

I too was a bit sticker shocked, but then I realized I have never gone to a dealer for "recommended" service before.

I got my first service done at the dealer, and have since done the next two on my own less the 20K break fluid change. I have never heard of a car needing that and it seemed excessive.

You may think this may kill the brand, but it also may be the only thing that keeps the dealers door open. They have to make money somehow and they ain't making it from selling the cars
 

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... less the 20K (sic) break fluid change. I have never heard of a car needing that and it seemed excessive. ...
Brake fluid absorbs atmospheric water as a contaminant. The water lowers the fluid’s boiling point and thus its ability to fully pressurize the hydraulic brake system. The brake system absorbs just as much moisture sitting in the driveway as on the road, so changing it should be time-based, not mileage-based.

Recommendations vary:
Independents seem to recommend changing at 2 years.
MEMA – analyze ev. 18 mos/change if at or below DoT standards.
GM claims to have special hoses that do not absorb moisture so no change is scheduled. ??
Chrysler says nothing about it.
Ford - 3 yrs/36k mi
BMW - 2 yrs
Honda - 25-30k mi
Subaru - 30k mi
VW - 2 yrs

Smart doesn’t seem to be too far off.
 

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And the biggest issue with brake fluid appears to be the amount of copper that's dissolved into solution. It's the copper that damages the iron in the major functional parts of the brake system (as detailed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology).

While I'd prefer to see the litmus-type strips used to judge the copper content of the fluid, I'm happy to do a flush on occasion rather than replace a master cylinder or calipers when the brakes start to go bad on me.
 

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ive heard that its the moisture the fluid adsorbs that causes rust in within the fluid system? either way some drivers did the old school of 100,000 miles. i dont reccommend that but is 20,000 really necessary?
 

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I think MEMA's approach has merit - testing before changing. Humidity and heat conditions are much different in the Desert SW than in the PNW or the SE. As the moisture content approaches 3% one can judge its remaining lifespan (it should be changed before 3%). The test is simple, either an electronic hygrometer or test strips like litmus or diabedes test strips - only requires a dip in the reservoir to get a visual reading.
 
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