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How to Bleed Brakes

Mechanic Adjusting Brake Pad

If there’s air trapped in your car’s brake system, it’s easy to learn how to bleed brakes by yourself, but it can be time consuming if you’re not the DIY type. Over time, as brake fluid breaks down as you drive through Lexington, it begins to absorb water which leads to air getting trapped in the brake system. This will make the brake pedal feel soft or spongy when you press it. When you know how to bleed brake lines, you’ll know how to remove that trapped air and give your brakes a more firm feel. Find out how with the service department at Dan Cummins Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM of Paris. 

How to Bleed Brakes By Yourself 

If you want to learn how to bleed brakes by yourself at home in Georgetown, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Brake fluid—check your owner’s manual to find out which kind you need
  • Box-end wrench
  • Fluid holder such as an empty two-liter soda bottle
  • Plastic tubing
  • An assistant to help you

Step 1

On solid and level ground, jack up your car. Remove all of the wheels. 

Step 2 

Find the four caliper bleeding screws and loosen them. If they don’t loosen immediately, don’t twist hard with the wrench. If they need to be loosened, spray the screw with penetrating oil and wait about 30 minutes before trying again. If the screw strips or snaps, don’t go any further — bring your car to our service center right away.

Step 3 

After the screws are loosened, tighten them again. 

Step 4 

Pop the hood and check the master cylinder reservoir’s brake fluid level. Make sure your car has the appropriate amount of fluid. Leave the master cylinder cap unscrewed but resting on top of the reservoir. Start with the brake furthest from the master cylinder, unless your owner’s manual says otherwise. 

Step 5 

Secure the end of a piece of clear tubing (about 1/4 inches in diameter) over the first bleeder screw. Put the other end of the tubing into your fluid holder. The tubing needs to be long enough that you can place the container above the bleeder screw’s height. Any air caught in the tube won’t move back into the brake caliper. 

Step 6

Turn the car engine 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. 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. Have your helper notify you immediately before the pedal reaches the floor. When they do, close the bleeder screw right away. Inspect the fluid level in the master fluid reservoir. You may need to add fresh fluid. 

Step 7 

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

Step 8 

Repeat steps 5-7 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 9

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. If the fluid is moving only slightly, you’ve bled the brakes fully. 

Step 10 

Before putting the wheels back on your car, tighten each of the bleeder screws. Don’t use all of your strength — just apply enough pressure to make sure they’re secure. 

Get Brake Service at Dan Cummins Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM of Paris

Whether you prefer to learn how to bleed your brakes yourself or have it done professionally, let Dan Cummins Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM of Paris help! Our service department can perform any brake service you need, and much more. Schedule an appointment online, and don’t forget to shop our service specials to get a great price on your brake service or replacement. 

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