Bleeding your brakes on your own can be a tricky and time consuming process. You will need a space in which you can jack your car up off the ground and you are likely to get very messy in the process. That’s why most people leave it to the professionals who have all the essential kit, but if you would like to bleed your brakes yourself then this guide will tell you everything you need to know to get the job done.
Firstly, you will need a brake bleeder of some sort. One of these machines will speed up the job enormously and could even mean that you don’t need someone else to help you. Brake bleeders work by exerting pressure on the bleed valve which helps the fluid to come out more easily. Normally, you would need to have someone sat in the car to pump the brake pedal whilst you drain the fluid from the wheel end. The brake bleeder will take away this necessity and you will be able to perform the whole job by yourself, without it taking you too much longer.
How to bleed the brakes
- First you will need to raise your car using a jack. Make sure that the car is fully secure before attempting to work on it. Giving it a gentle push will allow you to check this. Be careful not to push too hard though, if the car is not stable then it could dislodge the jack and cause a lot more damage.
- Once the car is raised and secure you will need to remove the wheels using a lug wrench. Next you should take the cover off the master cylinder reservoir. If the level of brake fluid looks low, top it up with new brake fluid before you bleed the system.
- Start with the bleeder valve furthest from the master cylinder and attach the hose to the valve.
Open the bleeder screw carefully.
Repeat this process at each other brake bleeder valve until all four have been bled properly. Make sure that the level of brake fluid in the master cylinder reservoir does not fall below ¼ at any time as this could cause air to be sucked back into the braking system.
Put the tyres back on and make sure that they are tightened securely.
Check that there is enough brake fluid left in the master cylinder and top it up if necessary. Put the master cylinder cover back on.
Lower the car using the jack.
Test your brakes.
Brake fluid is a dangerous chemical and should be handled with extreme caution. Make sure you wear gloves when you are bleeding the brakes and wash your skin and clothes carefully if you make any contact with the fluid. Whenever you handle brake fluid make sure to read the label first and follow all of the instructions carefully.
If you have any worries about safety whatsoever then you should get a workshop to service your brakes for you. Once you have bled the brakes it is essential that you test them. If anything at all seems wrong, or the brakes seem to be less effective than they were before, don’t try to fix them unless you are absolutely sure what the problem is. Driving with faulty brakes is extremely dangerous, so if you have even the slightest doubt about their safety, take your car into a workshop to get them looked over.
All about the Brakes
- Brakes repair and replacement
- How to paint brake calipers
- How to make your brakes last longer
- Which brake problems can you get
- How to change brake discs
- Where to Get Cheap Car Batteries
- Why a service of brake fluid and hydraulics is so important
- How to change brake fluid
- What are backing plates?
- How to diagnose your brake problems
- How to change brake pads
- How to use a Brake Bleeding Kit
- What is a Brake Bleeding Kit