3 Steps To Bleeding Your Brakes

Posted on: 17 September 2015


If you have noticed that your brake pedal feels squishy when stepping on it, it might be due to excess air in the brake lines. When this happens, you need to bleed the brakes. An auto repair shop can do it, or you can try bleeding them yourself. Here are the steps involved in bleeding brakes.

Find the Brake Bleeder Screw

The first step to bleeding your brakes is accessing them, particularly the brake bleeder screw. Start by jacking up your vehicle so you can easily get to the brakes. If you have a lifted SUV or truck, you might not need to do this, depending on where the brakes are located. For most cars, you do need to use a jack to lift the vehicle slightly. When you find the brakes, look for a screw that looks like a nozzle and is behind the brakes. This is called the brake bleeder screw. You want to loosen this screw in order to bleed the brakes of excess fluid and air.

Use a bleeder wrench, which you can find at any auto repair shop. This will help you to loosen the screw without affecting the screw's head. The problem with using a regular screw is that there is a risk of damaging the screw, which would then require a professional to replace it with a new one. Use the bleeder wrench to loosen the screw, using lubricating oil if you need it. Don't remove it, but just allow it to loosen to let the air escape.

Add the Fluids

When the brake bleeder screw is loose, you will be able to add fluids, which help to bleed the brake lines. To do this, you need a flexible hose that is long enough to get fluid inside. One end of the hose should be placed over the screw on one of the brakes, while the other end goes into a large container. Fill the container with brake fluid until it covers the hose that is placed in the container. A smaller container is better, as not as much fluid will be needed.

Pump the Pedals

The final step is to actually bleed the brakes, which is done by pumping the pedals. Grasp the container and the hose, and have someone else enter the vehicle and pump the brake pedal a few times. Make sure the wheels are blocked so it doesn't roll, and be extra careful if the vehicle is still jacked up when the pedals are used. The best option is to park on a flat surface if you don't have it jacked up, so it doesn't actually roll while you are attempting this.

After pumping the brake pedal a few times, instruct them to hold the pedal down all the way. This is when you open the bleeder screw all the way, letting the brake fluid bleed out of the brake lines. Don't be surprised if you see air bubbles, as this indicates excess air in the brake lines. Once it is drained, return the screw and tighten it. Dispose of the brake fluid properly and add more brake fluid.

For more information, contact Schwabe's Auto Service or a similar location.