DIY Service: How to Bleed Brakes

Mechanic Working On Brakes


Brake servicing involves a host of smaller repairs that assist in keeping the overall brake system in top shape to ensure safer Mobile and Pensacola commutes. Removing any air bubbles from the brake fluid in the system, also known as brake bleeding, is one such operation. The process itself isn’t overly complicated, but it can be time consuming. If you don’t consider yourself a very “handy” person, it may be a good idea to seek the assistance of a trained professional like those in our fully equipped Service Center. Don’t forget to contact us if you have any questions about what you’ve read here, or anything else automotive related, we’d love to chat with you!

How to Bleed Brakes: Why Do It?

Brake-bleeding might sound like a fairly serious undertaking, but it’s really just another important part of caring for your vehicle’s brake system. Air can eventually get into your vehicle’s brake system, causing the brake system to feel “spongy” when you press the pedal. Bleeding the brakes removes any trapped air in the brake fluid, giving your brakes a firmer feel and more reliable performance.

How to Bleed Brakes By Yourself 

If you are interested in learning how to bleed brakes by yourself, you’ll need a few things at your disposal. You’ll need brake fluid, a box-end wrench, something to hold fluid, and some tubing, as well as a neighborly feeling assistant to help you. After you have gathered what you need, follow these steps:

  1. Check the owner’s manual to ensure you’ve got the correct brake fluid.
  2. On solid and level ground, jack up your car. Remove all of the wheels.
  3. Find the four brake caliper bleeding screws and loosen them.
  4. After bleeding screws are loosened, tighten them down again. This was simply to ensure that the screws could be removed. You’ll be bleeding the brakes one at a time.
  5. Under the hood, check the master cylinder’s brake fluid level to ensure it is full. Leave the master cylinder cap gently resting on the unit during the bleeding process.
  6. Bleed the brakes in the order of longest to shortest distance to the brake master cylinder.
  7. Secure bleeder tube (about ¼ inches in diameter) over the bleeder screw. Put the other end of the tubing into your fluid holding container. Remember to hold the fluid container at a height above the caliper during bleeding.
  8. Ask your assistant to pump the brake pedal several times until they feel resistance pushing back against the pedal. Keep pressure on the pedal.
  9. Fluid will start to move through the tube and the pedal will start dropping closer to the floor. Make sure your assistant continues to apply pressure.
  10. Have your helper notify you immediately before the pedal reaches the floor. When they do, close the bleeder screw right away. 
  11. Inspect the fluid level in the master fluid reservoir. You may need to add fresh fluid. 
  12. Repeat the previous two steps about five times at the same bleeder screw, or until the fluid stream no longer has any bubbles. 
  13. Then, repeat steps 7, 8, and 9 on the other three bleeder screws in the correct order — starting with the screw further away from the master cylinder and moving to the one closest to it. 
  14. After you’ve finished bleeding your brakes, instruct your helper to apply the brakes, then quickly release the pedal. While they do that, watch the fluid in the master cylinder reservoir. If the fluid is bubbling significantly, there’s still air in the system and you’re not quite done. However, if the fluid is moving only slightly, you’ve bled the brakes fully. 
  15. Before putting the wheels back on your car, tighten each of the bleeder screws. Again, don’t use all of your strength — just apply enough pressure to make sure they’re secure. 

Get Brake Service at Southern Chevrolet, Inc.!

If you looked up “how to bleed brakes by yourself” or “how to bleed brake lines” then hopefully we’ve steered you in the right direction! However if you require assistance from a professionally trained and certified technician, the crew at Southern Chevrolet, Inc. is here to help! Make the quick trip from Daphne to our modern and clean showroom in Foley and relax while we take care of the brake bleed job for you! Check out our rotating cycle of service specials for extra savings while you’re here!

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