How An Amateur Mechanic Can Bleed Brake Lines While Alone In Their Garage


You have to bleed brake lines after doing certain repairs on a car like changing rusted and corroded brake lines. Bleeding the brake lines means that you are making sure that they are full of brake fluid and the fluid is free of air bubbles. Air bubbles in the brake fluid can cause the brakes to fail since the brakes will lose the hydraulic pressure needed to stop the car. Normally, bleeding the brake lines is a two-person job, but there is a way you can do it on your own. If you are an amateur car mechanic who needs to bleed the brakes lines on your car, here is how you can do it alone in your garage.

You Will Need:

  • Brake Fluid
  • Clear Plastic Tubing
  • Wrench
  • Catch Basins

Set Car

Make sure your car is placed in the park setting if it has an automatic transmission or in neutral if it's a manual transmission. Put on the emergency brake in both cases and put chocks around both sides of one of the back wheels to prevent the car from rolling back or forth.

Place Tubes on Brake Cylinders

There is a bleeder valve screw that you turn to open the drain valve on each brake cylinder to drain the brake fluid from the brake lines and cylinders. Cut four lengths of clear tubing about three or four feet long. You want clear tubing so you can look at the brake fluid to make sure it doesn't have air bubbles in it. The tubing should be large enough to fit snugly over the screw on the bleeder valve. Place a piece of plastic tubing on the bleeder valve screw on each brake cylinder.

Catch Basins

Place a small catch basin under each brake cylinder and place the other end of the tubing into it. The catch basin will collect the brake fluid as it drains out of the bleeder valve. You should make sure each catch basin is clean and free of impurities so you can reuse the brake fluid later. Open each bleeder valve on the cylinders with a wrench.

Open Brake Fluid Reservoir

The brake fluid reservoir is connected to the brake's master cylinder in the engine compartment of the car. Look for the cap that says "brake fluid" on it. Take the cap off of the reservoir. Removing the cap allows releases the pressure in the system. Once the pressure is released, gravity to force the brake fluid down through the lines and out of the bleeder valve. As the brake fluid drains down, add more brake fluid to the reservoir. Do not let the reservoir drain completely out as this will let more air into the brake lines.

Make sure you purchase a brake fluid that is appropriate for our vehicle. There are a number of different grades of brake fluid available on the market, but they are not all the same. Check your owner's manual or ask the auto store personnel what type of fluid is right for your car.

Check Drainage

Watch each tube as the brake fluid drains through it and into the catch basin. Close the bleeder valve once you no longer see air bubbles coming out of the line. Repeat this process for each brake cylinder. Fill up the reservoir with brake fluid and put the cap back on it.

Test Brakes

Get in the car and press down on the brake pedal. The brake pedal should only go down about a third to halfway to the floor if you did everything correctly. 

Contact a center like Elkhart Auto Center for professional help.


8 June 2016

maintaining the brakes on your car

When is the last time you had your brakes checked? Are you waiting until you hear the brake pads grinding into the rotors before you do anything to replace them? Does your car pull to one side when you press on the brakes? Do you feel a shimmying in your steering wheel and brake pedal as you press the pedal to stop? If you have any of these issues, it is time for you to learn how to care for the brakes on your car effectively. Taking preventative measures and getting repair work done before serious problems arise will save you money over the years.