How to Bleed Brakes by Yourself: Basic Car Maintenance for Novices

Car maintenance is one thing that is costly, but something that you should not ignore. It is one of those expenses that should be part of your budget, especially considering that it will provide an assurance of your safety. While there are many things that are important to make sure that your vehicle will perform at its best all the time, the brakes are amongst the most critical. In some instances, you will feel that the brakes are squishy. When this happens, you have to bleed the air out to restore the functionality of your brakes.

In this guide, we will tackle how to bleed brakes by yourself. It may not be the easiest task for novices, but it is possible to do it on your own. The tools that you will need are pretty much basic and the steps will be relatively easy.

Step-by-Step Guide to Bleed your Brakes

Here are the simple steps that you have to follow in bleeding brakes on your own:

  • Start by taking off the top part of the reservoir of the master cylinder. From the engine compartment, in most car models, you can find it on the same line as the brake pedal.
  • Take out the old fluid from the cylinder. A turkey baster will help you to do the job. Make sure to take out as much fluid as possible.
  • Using a clean cloth, wipe the reservoir so that it will be dry and clean. Make sure that the fluid will not spill on surfaces with paint as this can cause instant damage.
  • Find a new brake fluid and fill the cylinder. Again, be careful in doing this so as it would not create splatters on the other part of the engine. Put back the cover of the cylinder.
  • Go inside the car and pump the brake for at least 15 times.
  • Look for a box-end wrench and use this for loosening the bleeder valves. Remember, your goal is to loosen it, but you do not have to completely remove the valves. Sprinkling oil will help to make it easier for the valves to loosen.
  • Connect the bleeder bolt to a tube. An aquarium or plastic tubing will perfectly do the job. Insert one end of the tube on the brake bleeder bolt. On the other hand, place the other end on a bottle with about an inch of brake fluid.
  • By now, you have to pump the brake pedal several times again. You need to do this carefully, making sure that you do not push too hard. It will be good to place a block of wood under the brakes so that you will be able to easily control the pumping.
  • Refill the cylinder with brake fluid. Throughout the process of bleeding, make sure that there is fluid in the cylinder so that air will not be able to get through.
  • Depress the pedal once again and hold it into such a position. You need to have a friend to help you do this. When the pedal is fully depressed, your friend should immediately notify you so that you can proceed with the next step.
  • Turn the bleeder bolt to the left side, turning at about a quarter. The old air and fluid will flow from the tubing. Close the valve when the flow of the fluid stops.
  • At this point, ask your friend to take out the foot from the brake. Repeat the process until you see that there is a clean and new fluid on the bleeder tube. Tighten the bolt. Repeat the last two steps on the rear, right front, and left front wheel.
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