Auto repair can be extremely costly and inefficient. Simple things like oil changes can require hours and hours waiting in a shop followed by forking over ever-increasing wads of your hard-earned money. The oil costs very little and it takes almost no time to change, but the labor and convenience fees are expensive.
You’re positive that you could do some of the easy repairs yourself if you just had some guidance and instructions. This has led to you look for instructions for these easy tasks. One of the things that can save you a lot of time and money is bleeding your brakes. This article will show you how you can do this job yourself instead of paying a professional.
Frequently Asked Questions
A couple of questions are regularly asked when it comes to bleeding brakes. Here are some answers to get you started so you’re more prepared to properly bleed. Remember, although it is much cheaper to bleed your own brakes it needs to be done correctly to avoid contaminants from destroying your entire braking system.
How does a brake system work?
Before we look at bleeding the brakes, let’s make sure you understand how the brake system functions. If you’ve been bike riding, you know how the basic concept works. Pedals pull the caliper together. This squeezes the brake pads and discs together and the resulting friction brings the vehicle to a stop.
Automotive brakes are a lot more complex than bicycle systems, but the basic concept remains the same. Kinetic energy is input, which produces heat through the generated friction and causes the wheels to stop and the car to stop as well.
Generally, cars use a brake system that is assisted by a vacuum. This helps create a large amount of friction required to stop a car even at high rates of speed. This function is performed using a caliper, brake pads, and brake rotors.
Why do you need to bleed your brakes?
Bleeding brake is an important part of ensuring a functional system. Bleeding the brakes will help make sure that your brake generates enough force to stop your car on time. When something clogs the hydraulic system, the force your brakes can apply is drastically reduced.
There needs to be a vacuum inside the master chamber and inside of each of the chambers leafing to the individual wheels for brakes to perform correctly. When something blocks the system from forming a vacuum, the vehicle can’t stop as quickly because the process is less severe.
When this happens, your brakes need to be bled. This means you will be emptying the contents of that master chamber and replacing the liquid inside with pure brake fluid instead. This allows for a sustainable vacuum and effective braking with enough stopping force.
Read more: How Does Electric Parking Brake Work?
How to Bleed Your Own Brakes
Now that we’ve answered some of the preliminary questions, here are the best methods for bleeding your own brakes.
Brake Bleeder Kit
You can find one-man bleeder kits for very reasonable prices or make your own from home. This system’s set up is taking a tube from the bleeder screw into a holding container that allows the tube to be submerged in brake fluid.
When you hook up the tube, open the bleeder screw and press the pedal. This will allow air bubbles to escape. When you release the pedal, the submerged tube will only allow fluid to go back inside the system.
If you have a clear tube that fits tightly onto a bleeder screw, an old jar can be used as a holder for your brake fluid and submerged tube. Otherwise, kits are usually around $10 or less. This option is super easy and can be stored for reuse.
Vacuum Pump Kit
Another cheap option for brake bleeding is a vacuum pump kit. This will let you quickly bleed your brake lines by yourself. These kits will hook up to the bleeder screw. Then, you just pump the kit to create a vacuum that will pull out the air bubbles and fluid.
This is the fastest way to bleed your own brakes. The kits usually cost around $30 and are great if you bleed your brakes more frequently than once every couple of years. These kits are also great if you work with multiple cars.
If you have no money to spare and plenty of time to kill, you can gravity bleed your lines. This is the most difficult and dangerous method, but it will do in a pinch. It works, but it’s not the best method for doing the job.
First, remove the cylinder cap and loosen the brake bleeder screw. Gravity will begin pushing out the fluid and air bubbles slowly, allowing the car to self-bleed itself. Keep an eye on your fluid level in the master cylinder because you can’t let it go completely empty.
A puddle of fluid will slowly begin forming under your brake. After a bit of time, close the bleeder screw and move to the next wheel. This will take around an hour to get all the wheels done, and most people don’t want to spend that long on this task. Again, it’s an option if you don’t have any money or supplies but not as recommended.
Pump the Brakes
Another method that takes a lot of time but works in a pinch is to pump the brakes 3 times, then hold the pedal down with a cinder block. When you loosen the bleeder, this can drain them. The goal with this method is to keep pumping the brakes 3 times and holding the pedal down with the block until you get a steady stream going. It’s slow and tedious to continually go back and forth between the car and the lines, but it works well if you’re on your own.