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The Drive ’ mho editors have bled enough brakes in our day to know our room around both pads and drums, and we ’ ra here to help you get started off on the correct foundation. Find a ally, a flat rate to work, and a few tools, and you ’ ll be bleeding brakes like a pro in no prison term. Let ’ s get rolling. [ Ed. note : The title of this military post was updated March 15, 2021 ]
You do n’t have to completely disassemble your brakes for this job .
What Exactly Is Bleeding Your Brakes?
beginning, we ’ ll note that there ’ s no actual rake involved here and you won ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate be required to use ferocity to fix the problem. The term bleeding brakes refers to the march of removing undesirable atmosphere from the bracken system. Pressing the brake bicycle in your car pushes brake fluid through the lines, which applies the force and hydraulic pressure necessary to slow the vehicle, either by squeezing brake pads onto disk ( phonograph record brakes ) or by pressing brake shoes into the brake drums ( drum brakes ). If there ’ s breeze in the lines, braking performance can be reduced and brake feel can become unpredictable .
How Do I Know When It’s Time To Bleed My Brakes?
If your brakes are working by rights, the pedal should feel firm and barren of shaking or noises as the vehicle slows. When it ’ sulfur prison term to bleed your brakes, you may notice :
- Spongy or soft brake pedal feel
- Inconsistent braking power
- Stopping takes longer
- Brake fluid leaks
Safety Tips When Bleeding Brakes
Working on and around pilfer vehicles can be highly dangerous, so it ’ randomness overriding to take the proper precautions. Follow these tips to keep you in tip-top shape .
- Use jack stands to hold the vehicle while working on the brake system. You’ll be under the car at points during this process, and jack stands are the best way to safely suspend the vehicle off the ground.
- Work on the flattest surface possible to prevent the vehicle from sliding or falling off the jack stands.
- After you’ve finished with bleeding the brakes, test them, both while the vehicle is stationary and while traveling at low speeds. It’s best to make sure that the brakes are working properly before you need to rely on them to save your life.
- Bleeding your brakes won’t be the most dangerous repair job you can do, but you should still take care of your hands and eyes. Any time you’re working underneath your car, wear safety glasses and mechanic gloves. Debris, fluid, and other dirt or grime can fall off the underside of your car at any time.
- Make sure you dispose of used brake fluid and other waste properly. You can’t just throw it in with your kitchen trash or pour it down the drain. Your town may have a waste recycling center or program, and many local auto parts stores offer disposal services.
If you ‘re uncertain of what you ‘re doing, let the pros take over .
Everything You’ll Need To Bleed Your Brakes At Home
Check your vehicle ’ second sustenance manual for any model-specific tools or supplies you ’ ll want .
- Basic automotive tool kit
- Brake bleeding kit (optional)
- Clear tubing (.25-inch diameter)
- A friend (just don’t call them a tool to their face)
- Brake fluid
- Paper towels
Organizing your tools and gear so everything is easily approachable will save valued minutes waiting for your handy-dandy child or four-legged benefactor to bring you the sandpaper or blowtorch. ( You wo n’t need a blowtorch for this job. Please don ’ thymine have your kid hand you a blowtorch—Ed. ) You ’ ll besides need a flat workspace, such as a garage floor, driveway, or street parking. Check your local laws to make indisputable you ’ re not violating any codes when using the street because we aren ’ t getting your ride out of the chink.
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Here’s How To Bleed Your Brakes At Home
Bleeding your brakes at home is a fairly straightforward serve, but you ’ ll need a ally to help you at points. It ’ sulfur besides significant to remember that the work below is outlined in very general terms. We can ’ triiodothyronine possibly know the ins and outs of every vehicle ’ s braking arrangement, so you ’ ll indigence to refer to a care manual for your make and model to fill in the adjective gaps here. Let ’ s do this !
Lift Vehicle, Secure It Onto Jack Stands, And Remove All Four Wheels.
- Be sure to set the stands in the manufacturer’s recommended locations.
- If you don’t know how, here’s The Drive’s guide on How To Properly and Safely Lift a Car.
Locate Bleeder Screws On Brake Caliper Body
- Find the bleeder screw. It should be located somewhere on the backside of the brake caliper. If there’s a rubber or plastic cover, remove it and store it safely.
- Loosen the screw but don’t go yanking away at it. Stripping or breaking the screw is a big no-no. If it’s tough to break loose, apply some oil and let it penetrate for a half-hour or so before trying again.
- Once you’ve broken the bleeder screw free, gently re-tighten it for now. We’re not trying to completely secure them at this point.
- Start with the wheel furthest from the driver and work your way around from the right rear wheel to the left rear wheel, and finish by working on the right front and then the driver’s side front.
You do n’t need expensive equipment to do the speculate right .
Check Brake Fluid Level
- Check your vehicle’s maintenance manual to make sure you’re using the right fluid.
- If the fluid level is low, add fresh fluid to bring it to the appropriate level.
- Once you’ve checked the fluid and added any if necessary, put the cap back onto the reservoir, but don’t tighten it down yet.
Place One End Of Tubing Over Bleeder Screw End
- This is to safely drain and store used brake fluid.
- The other end of the tube should drain into a container to dispose of the oil.
- It’s best to hold the oil catch container above the bleeder screw to prevent trapped air from re-entering the system.
Grab a Friend To Help Press Brake Pedal
- You’ll need an extra set of hands (and feet) to help depress the brake pedal while you’re under the car.
- Have your friend press the pedal a few times and let you know when they’ve depressed and held it. That brake pedal pressure should press fluid through the system, out into your tubing, and on into the catch can.
- As your helper holds the pedal down, it should start moving toward the floor. Tell your assistant to alert you when the pedal is almost all the way to the floor, which is your signal to quickly close up the screw.
- Repeat this process at each wheel, gently re-tightening the bleeder screw on each wheel after bleeding is complete.
Have Your Friend To Depress Pedal Once More
- Once all four corners have been bled, have your friend press the brake pedal one last time while you keep an eye on the fluid reservoir. This time ask them to quickly take their foot off the pedal. If there’s a big commotion and the fluid churns around violently, you’ve likely still got air bubbles in the brake system. When this happens, you’ll need to re-bleed the brakes following the process above.
- A small bit of movement in the reservoir is normal and means that you’ve done the job correctly.
Check Bleeder Screws And Finish The Job
- Before replacing each wheel, check the bleeder screws to make sure you’ve tightened them all the way this time. They don’t need to be torqued down with the force of an American Gladiator here, just tight.
- Reinstall the wheels, making sure to tighten the lug nuts completely.
Sometimes You Need a Certified Mechanic
a much as The Drive loves to put the “ you ” in do-it-yourself, we know that not everyone has the proper tools, a safe workspace, the fifth wheel time, or the assurance to tackle major automotive repairs. sometimes, you good need quality repair ferment performed by professionals you can trust like our partners, the certify mechanics at Goodyear Tire & Service .
Pro Tips For Bleeding Your Brakes
here are a few pro tips we ’ ve learned along the way .
- Have all of your equipment ready to go. Having a friend to press the pedals and help you along the way is great, but don’t waste their time flailing around without the tools you need to do the job.
- The key to working with bleeder screws is to be gentle and patient. A broken or stripped screw will not only stop your brake bleeding project in its tracks, but it’ll also make for one heck of an annoying trip to a mechanic.
- Your friend doesn’t need to stomp the brake pedal each time. They should apply steady, even pressure.
FAQs About Bleeding Your Brakes
You ’ ve got questions, The Drive has answers !
Q: Do I Have To Bleed The Brakes At All Four Corners?
A: Yes, the brakes function as a system, so skipping a corner will not help completely remove the publicize from the bracken lines .
Q: I’m Not Comfortable Bleeding My Own Brakes. How Much Does It Cost To Have Done?
A: Your local bracken patronize should be able to bleed your brake lines quickly and reasonably cheaply. Most brake bleed jobs cost between $ 70 and $ 100, depending on the type of vehicle. Materials costs are minimal hera, so the huge majority of the expense is labor cost .
Q: Can I Drive With Air In My Brake Lines?
A: You shouldn ’ metric ton ignore publicize in your bracken lines. It may seem like you can stop, and that there ’ second nothing improper with having vent in your brake lines, but your brakes won ’ t affair properly and may not stop the fomite when you need it to .
Q: How Do I Dispose Of Brake Fluid?
A: You can ’ thyroxine affluent brake fluid or pour it down a drain, and you should absolutely keep it out of the reach of children and pets. Brake fluent is toxic and must be disposed of cautiously. many car parts stores offer recycling services, as do most town and city neutralize management departments. If you ’ ve spilled bracken fluid, kitty litter is the best direction to dry it up, but you can use composition towels or other absorbent material material to soak it up if there ’ s no litter on hired hand .
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