How to Bleed Brakes
If you’re a do-it-yourselfer in the Mobile, Prichard, or Saraland areas, our team of experts at Nissan of Mobile have created this step-by-step guide on how to bleed your brakes. Read on to learn all about why and how to perform this important aspect of vehicle maintenance, and if you need a helping hand, just contact our service team!
The Supplies You’ll Need to Bleed Your Brakes
While this is a pretty straightforward procedure, there are a few items you’ll need to get it done. Make sure you have the following materials before you get started:
- Turkey baster
- Two disposable bottles or jars
- Brake fluid
- A clean, lint-free rag
- Clear plastic tubing (such as from an aquarium)
- One assistant
- A box-end wrench
Be sure to consult your owner’s manual for which brake fluid to use in your vehicle. Also, it is generally recommended that the following steps be performed every three years or so.
Bleeding Brakes Steps
- Empty and Refill the Master Cylinder Reservoir
Under the hood, the reservoir should be aligned with the brake pedal and usually has a black cap. Use the turkey baster to suck out the old fluid and pour it into the bottle. After the old oil has been removed, use the clean rag to wipe out the reservoir. Then, pour the new brake fluid to the fill line.
- Pump the Brake Pedal
Pumping the brake pedal about 15 times will get the new fluid flowing through the system.
- Jack Up Your Car
The bleeder valves are usually located behind each tire’s brake system. In order to access them, you’ll need to jack up your car. Have your assistant get into the car before you lift it.
- Prepare to Drain Bleeder Bolt
Once your car is jacked up, hook the tube to the bleeder bolt farthest away from the reservoir. Place the other end of the tube into the second bottle with two to three inches of clean brake fluid already in it.
- Drain Bleeder Bolt
Have your assistant step on the brake pedal. Next, give the bolt a one-quarter turn. This will bring all of the old fluid into the tube. Once the old fluid has stopped dripping into the jar, you can close the valves. Have your assistant take his/her foot off the brake. It may take several attempts to clear the entire line.
Repeat the process until you start to see clean brake fluid running out of the tube. Throughout this process, make sure there is plenty of fluid in the reservoir, so air doesn’t get sucked into the master cylinder.
Repeat steps four and five for the remaining three tires.
- Finish Up
Secure all parts and lower car gently to the ground.
Bleeding Brakes: What It Is and Why It’s Important
Brake bleeding is what it’s called when the pipes and hoses that make up your brake lines are opened up in order to free the air that’s been trapped inside the hydraulic brake fluid. When air is present within the brake lines, the effectiveness of your brakes is greatly reduced. The issues this condition causes can range from a soft or spongy reaction when the brake pedal is applied to total brake failure.
How Air Gets Into the Brake Lines
As you can probably imagine, there aren’t many ways air can enter the brake line. One way it can happen is when there is a compromise in sealing after the system has been serviced. However, a more common way air gets trapped in the lines is in the form of fluid vapor that is created when conditions inside the hydraulic brake system get hot enough for the fluid to boil.
Visit Us for Your Regular Maintenance
If you’re in Mobile, Prichard, or Saraland and you have any questions about the above steps or would like to have your brakes bled, contact Nissan of Mobile to schedule your appointment.