How To Bleed Brakes For Cars: A Step-by-Step Procedure

Sometimes you may have a spongy or squishy feel when you engage the brakes. It happens when the level of the brake fluid in the master cylinder drops too low, and air bubbles get caught in the lines. Bleeding brakes is the process of removing those air bubbles from the brake system and flushing out old fluid and contaminants. Knowing how to bleed brakes for drivers will save your hassle and money.

The Reason Behind Brake Bleeding

When you press on your vehicle’s brake pedal, it’s brake fluid that make it happen. Your foot action moves the plunger in the brake master cylinder whose job is to pump brake fluid through the brake lines and to the brakes. The fluid then creates pressure to the brake pads, which after that squeeze your car’s brake discs and slow all down.

Brake fluid is designed to work properly for several years before needing replacement. It needs to be replaced because over time brake fluid loses moisture resistance and begins to absorb small amounts of water. This not only reduces brake performance but also can corrode key parts of the system. Replacing the fluid after each appropriate interval is a effective and cheap way to ensure that your vehicle is safe enough. You can avoid having to pay for expensive brake repairs later on.

Bleeding Brake
From the reason, we understand that bleeding is so important

An essential part of replacing brake fluid is bleeding the system. The job simply means removing the brake system of trapped air, and expel some of the old fluid as well.

Step-by-step Guideline On How To Bleed Brakes:

You’ll need to have some tools and follow the right procedure to bleed the brakes of your vehicle before learning how to bleed brakes. Let’s take a look:

The Materials Needed For Bleeding Brakes

  • A brake bleeder wrench
  • A clean glass jar
  • A can of brake fluid
  • A helper

Procedures For Bleeding Brakes

Follow the bleeding brakes procedure step by step for how to bleed brakes your car the right way:

Step 1: Prepare Before Getting Into Action

Consult the owner’s manual to know which specific type of brake fluid your vehicle requires, also what intervals the fluid inside need to be replaced. Brake fluid has many different types, and they don’t mix well. Get to the auto parts store or dealer’s parts department to buy the correct fluid before you start working on the bleeding job. Good-quality brake fluid is easily affordable; you may need two or three 12-ounce cans for how to bleed the brake lines.

Step 2: Getting Your Car Ready For The Job

Using some jacks and stands, you can first jack up your vehicle on a level, solid ground. It should be a garage floor or driveway surface. You then support the car with four jack stands placed at the jacking points shown in the owner’s manual. It needs to be safely and firmly on solid footing while in the air. Remember the process of bleeding brakes will have you got partially under the car at times so it should be safe for you. Finally you remove all four wheels to begin.

Step 3: Locate The Brake Bleeder Screw

How to bleed brake
In order to process, the bleeder screw needs to be removed

The first step is to jack up your car and crawl underneath. In order to do that, find the brake bleeder screw located behind each of your brakes. Then driver can use the wrench to loosen but not remove the screw. If it’s stuck, spraying some penetrant around it will make your job easier.

Step 4: Connect And Fill

How to bleed brake
Let it flow and fill the jar

Connect and fill the jar is actually an important step for drivers to know how to bleed brakes. Fit one end of a hose into the end of the screw, and the put the other end in the glass jar or a bottle. Fill the jar with brake fluid at a level so that the hose’s end is submerged. If you can’t find any flexiblehose, keep the jar near the nozzle so that it can catch the liquid squirting out of the nozzle.

 Step 5: Test The Brake Fluid

How to bleed brake
You might need a friend to make this easier

Ask the helper (might be a friend or someone else) to sit in the driver’s seat and push the brake pedal several times. After that, open the bleeder screw while asking the helper to hold the pedal down. Brake fluid will come out of the nozzle, and you’ll see the bubbles (if there’s any) clearly. This is an essential step in how to bleed brakes.

Step 6: Remove The Bubble

how to bleed car brakes
It’s time to remove the bubbles

Now, tighten the screw when the helper is still holding the pedal down. After, tell him/her to release the pedal and repeat this process of loosening and tightening the screw until the fluid contains no more bubble. How to bleed brakes is something him/her does not need to understand, they just need to help with the pedal. Tell the helper to shout “Down” when pressing the pedal and “Up” when releasing it.

Step 7: Bleed The Brakes

How to bleed brakes
Filling up the cylinder with fluid is important

In order to master how to bleed brakes, you have to bleed each of the brakes by repeating the same process. However, it is necessary to fill up the master cylinder with brake fluid before bleeding each of the brakes. If you don’t do it, the cylinder will be drained out of fluid and draw air into the lines. In that case, it is necessary to bleed the master cylinder too.

Step 8: Master Cylinder Checking

After bleeding all four brakes, you ask your helper to apply full effort to the brake pedal followed by an sudden all release. Look closely the motion of the fluid in the master-cylinder reservoir. If there is a substantial fluid eruption, there would be air bubbles still trapped in the system. In that case you have to repeat the bleeding procedure to remove that air.

Step 9: Tighten The Screw

How to bleed brakes
Connect the part again before jumping in the drivers seat

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After bleeding the last time and filling up the master cylinder to the full level, tighten the last bleeding screw. Double-check until all the bleeder screws are tight. Again this time, apply solid pressure but not all of your strength to tightening them – or else you may snap them off – before reinstalling the car’s wheels. Drive the car a while to see if the brakes seem alright when you push the pedal.

Congratulations, it’s all done!

Learning how to bleed brakes is not a complicated task. However, you will need patience and perseverance to complete the project successfully.

Tips For A Successful Brake Bleeding

Knowing and following the instruction of how to bleed brakes is one story. Bleeding brakes successfully and effectively however, is a different story. But worry not, we will help you by providing our greatest tips on bleeding brakes to clean air bubbles from the brakes system.

1# Call Your Friend

How to Bleed brakes
Call for reinforcement to make it easier

In most of the cases, having another hand is always more helpful. When it comes to bleed brakes, 1 friend or two is definitely will shorten the processing time and effort for car owner. Do not forget that you need a person to press the pedal.

Not only that, it can also prevent you from a catastrophe. So a little help doesn’t sound too bad right?

2# Ignore The Bleed Block

How to Bleed brakes
Ignore the bleed block saves quite a lot of time

Bleeding brakes should carry out with the bleed block, however, you can save a lot of time without it. So if you are in a hurry and need to finish the job quickly, ignoring the bleed block can speed things up a lot.

Driver should remember to be very careful when doing the removing bubbles with the brake pads is inside. If brake fluid contacts the pads, it will render them useless. Also, brake fluid is another thing to be looking for. Since the calliper pistons move outwards, the bleeding process can lead to fluid overfilled. You will need to expel the fluid in order for the pistons to be pushed back.

Although containing risks, this time-saving method is quite powerful when you are in a hurry.

3# Protect Your Surrounding

How to Bleed brakes
No one wants this beautiful room getting destroyed

Here comes the bad news for the house cleaner: DOT brake fluid is very aggressive, especially with floor. This corrosive fluid spillages will devour carpets and even laminate wood very quickly. So if you decide to learn how to bleed brakes in the kitchen or living room, be sure to protect your surrounding. A few layers of newspapers or mat will be able to save your bacon.

4# Degas Your Brake Fluid

How to Bleed brakes
Degassing is more important than you might think

In the process of bleeding brakes, degassing or removing tiny air bubbles is essential.

This technique is well-known to mechanics since it can rid most of the air outside new brake fluid. Even though many drivers believe it makes no difference, it is the main reason for bleeding the brakes.

5# Always Remember To Clean Up

How to Bleed brakes
Treat your best buddy like what he deserves

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Last but not least, cleaning up. This is by far the most important tip, since it usually be too late for cleaning.

In order to finish the process smoothly, it is necessary to wipe down the surfaces of the brakes. This will remove the left hanging fluid around. We suggest to use paper towels for lever, along with a wet cloth to wipe away.

To understand more about how to bleed brakes, check out this video!