How to Bleed Brakes by Yourself

Brake fluid check


In a broad sense, brake servicing, like the kind performed by our service center near Edmond, encompasses a variety of smaller, individual repairs. These are geared toward keeping your brakes working at optimal levels of efficiency and safety. One such item of brake servicing is known as brake bleeding, or ‘bleeding the brakes.’ In short, this process is done to remove trapped air pockets in your vehicle’s brake fluid, ensuring that there aren’t any ‘soft spots’ in your brake pedal application during your Shawnee drives.

Brake bleeding itself isn’t terribly complicated, but it can be a little time-consuming, especially if it’s one of your first times doing it. That being said, we always recommend having any type of automotive service performed by a certified technician, but if you’d prefer to bleed the brakes on your vehicle yourself, we’d love to help you with the following information and guided steps on how to bleed brake lines! Please reach out to us if you have any questions!

How to Bleed Brakes by Yourself 

If you’re ready to have a go at bleeding brake lines on your vehicle without having a shop take care of it for you, then there’s a couple supplies you’ll need to source first:

  • Proper Brake Fluid (Check Owners Manual)
  • Correct Size Box-End Wrench (Test For Fitment)
  • Empty Fluid Container (Cut in-Half Bottle?)
  • Appropriate Size Tubing (Can Be Specifically Purchased at Auto Parts Store)

Step 1

On level and solid ground, carefully jack up your car and remove all of the wheels once you have secured the vehicle on jack-stands or a lift. 

Step 2

Now, find the four caliper bleeding screws and proceed to loosen them. If the screw strips or snaps you’ll likely need to contact a service center, so be careful with the amount of force you apply.

Step 3

After all four of the screws are loosened, return and tighten them again.

Step 4

Open your vehicle’s hood and check the brake master cylinder reservoir’s fluid level. Gently top off if needed. While you’re bleeding the brakes, leave the master cylinder cap unscrewed but still resting on top of the reservoir. 

Step 5

To start, you’ll want to bleed the brake furthest from the master cylinder, but your vehicle may require a different order. You can check your owner’s manual or ask a technician for guidance. 

Step 6

Take the end of a piece of the tubing and secure it over the first bleeder screw. Place the other end of the tube in the cut-in-half bottle. (You can also purchase a brake bleeding kit from an auto parts store!) The tubing needs to be long enough that you can place the container above the bleeder screw’s height. This way, any air caught in the tube won’t move back into the brake caliper, as this would negate the effect of bleeding air from the brakes. You’ll need an assistant for the next step!

Step 7

Make sure the car engine is off, and ask your assistant to pump the brake pedal several times until they feel resistance pushing back against the pedal. Instruct them to keep pressure on the pedal. Meanwhile, open the bleeder screw a bit. Fluid will move through the tube and the pedal will start dropping closer to the floor. Make sure your assistant continues to apply pressure until you instruct them to release the brake pedal!

Step 8

Have your helper notify you immediately when the pedal reaches the floor. When they do, close the bleeder screw right away. Then, inspect the fluid level in the master fluid reservoir. You may need to add fresh fluid. 

Step 9

Repeat the previous two steps about five times at the same bleeder screw, or until the fluid stream no longer has any bubbles. 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. 

Step 10

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, and without bubbles, you’ve bled the brakes fully. 

Step 11: 

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 Post Oak Toyota!

If your vehicle is showing signs of poor braking, it may be time for brake service beyond brake bleeding, which will likely require the help of the ASE certified professionals at our Toyota service center near Norman. Schedule an appointment through this page!

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