Bleeding your brakes is an essential maintenance step. If your brakes are feeling squishy or you need to repair your brake line, find out how to manually bleed your brakes. Find a wrench, a jar or other container, a bleeder hose and a friend to assist you with this maintenance routine. Discover where you can go to find the best brake fluid, power steering fluid and other fluids you need for your vehicle.
Prepare Your Work Area
It’s easy to make a mess with brake fluid. Most of your brake fluid will drain into the container you’ve prepared for the project, but it’s common to leak fluid on the floor and on your clothing. Put down the newspaper, be sure you have plenty of light and wear clothing that you can work in without worrying about stains.
Loosen the Bleeder Screw
Locate the bleeder screw of your brakes. This small screw is located behind your brakes, so you’ll need to crawl under your vehicle to access it. Have your container and bleeder line ready as you prepare to loosen the screw.
One common mistake when working on a bleeder screw is rounding the screw head. The hex head of a bleeder screw requires careful tightening and loosening. If you round out the screw, it may be difficult to remove without professional tools.
A stubborn screw may need a little penetrant to loosen it. Spray some around the screw and then check again to see if it’s loose enough to adjust.
Connect the Jar and Bleeder Hose
Once loosened, place the flexible bleeder hose over the screw and a jar at the other end. This will contain much of the mess and give you a chance to inspect your brake fluid. It’s normal for old brake fluid to be dark, but unusual colors in the fluid may be a sign of another issue.
Pump the Brakes
You’ll need a friend to assist you with this part. While you keep the bleeder hose in the jar and monitor the amount of fluid coming out of your brakes, you need someone to push on the brake pedal a few times to force all the fluid out.
It’s very important that you make sure your vehicle is secure before someone climbs into it or pushes on it, particularly if you have your vehicle lifted with a jack. Block the wheels and ensure it’s on safe, flat ground before you begin. Have your friend continue to slowly push until all the fluid is out of the brakes.
Repeat for Every Brake
Repeat the process for any brake that you need to work on, or for all of them to be sure you have brand-new brake fluid. Check the price for new brakes and rotors and swap them out while you’re working on your brake system.
Learn More About Brake Maintenance and Repairs
Find out how to safely add new brake fluid, replace brake pads for cars and other helpful maintenance steps today. Search online for more information on these essential maintenance steps or stop by your local auto parts store to talk to an experienced customer service agent.