« Back to Automotive News

How To: Bleeding Brakes Without Bleeding Out

The process of bleeding your car’s brakes can seem complicated, but with the right instructions, a few tools, and the help of an assistant, it can be accomplished right from your driveway.  

DIY car owners in Greenville, Washington, and New Bern, NC, who don’t mind popping under the hood to tinker can follow the steps below to successfully bleed their car’s brakes.

Do I Need to Bleed my Brakes?

The preliminary step to bleeding your car’s brakes is having a reason to do so. The most common reason why you’d need to bleed your brakes is if you recently got your brake pads replaced, but are noticing a spongy or soft feeling when you press down on the brake pedal.

When the fluid in your brake system’s reservoir gets too low, air bubbles feed into the brake lines, which causes a spongy feel or the notion of having to “floor it” to get the same brake response.

The process of bleeding your brakes will let this air escape and restore the feel of your brake pedal. Let’s take a look at how you can bleed your brakes at home:

Gather the Following Items

  • Two unopened, eight-ounce cans of fresh brake fluid
  • Turkey baster
  • Small bucket
  • Clean, lint-free cloth
  • Box-end wrench (5/16”)
  • Small, clear squeeze bottle with a small amount of clean brake fluid in the bottom
  • Piece of clear aquarium tubing
  • Piece of 1×4 plywood
  • A trustworthy helper
  • Your vehicle’s owner’s manual

How To Bleed Your Brakes: The Steps

1. Locate and loosen the bleeder valves to your brakes using the box-end wrench. You want to loosen the bolts while leaving the valves closed.  

2.Locate the master cylinder reservoir and remove the cap.

3.Use the turkey baster to draw out as much of the old brake fluid as possible, and then dispense it into the bucket. Be careful not to drip it on your car’s painted surfaces. If you do, clean immediately with soap and water.

4.Once the reservoir is empty, remove any remaining sediment with your clean cloth.

5. Fill the master cylinder with clean brake fluid and replace the cap.

6. Fasten one end of your piece of aquarium tubing to the bleeder bolt at the right rear of the car. Attach the opposite end of the tubing to the small plastic bottle with clean brake fluid in it.

7. Position your piece of plywood underneath the brake pedal.

8. Ready your assistant in the driver’s seat and ask them to press the brake pedal with normal pressure. When the pedal is down as far as it can go, have them shout out a signal to let you know.

9.Turn the bleeder bolt to the left one quarter turn. Old brake fluid should trickle down into the bottle. When the trickle stops, close the valve and ask your friend to remove their foot from the pedal.

10.Repeat the step above until fresh brake fluid comes through the bleeder tube. Remember to consistently add fluid to the master cylinder reservoir during the bleed process. If it gets too low, air will make its way back in.

11.Repeat steps 8, 9, and 10 for the left rear wheel, right front wheel, and left front wheel.

Get Help with Bleeding Your Brakes

Bleeding your brakes can be quite the undertaking for the first-time mechanic. If you have any questions along the way, reach out to our service team. Better yet, save time and ensure a job well done by scheduling a service appointment online with the Pecheles Automotive service center location near you in Greenville, Washington, or New Bern.

Our certified technicians know your brakes inside and out, and can get them evaluated and fixed in a jiffy!