If you've ever wanted to try your hand at some at-home car maintenance, then you may have thought about bleeding your brakes. This helpful maintenance can release any air that may be caught in the brake lines and can improve overall brake performance.

Here at Key Chevrolet, we want to keep our clients in Middletown, Manchester, or Hartford, Connecticut, informed about types of vehicle maintenance to equip them with further knowledge on different processes that occur. To learn how to bleed brakes, keep reading! If you'd like some advice from a trained technician, you can contact us today!

Tools To Bleed Brakes

As you prepare to bleed your brakes, you will want certain tools on hand. The following equipment will prove necessary throughout this process:

  • Car jack and stands
  • Box-end wrench
  • Bottle of brake fluid
  • Clear brake tubing
  • Plastic bottle (will catch old brake fluid)
  • Gloves (optional)

It will also be helpful to call a friend over to assist you with this. During the bleeding process, someone needs to step on the brake pedal to help push out the old fluid. Your friend can do this for you while you keep an eye on the fluid coming out of the tubing. This way, you can ensure the process is working and that the fluid is running clear and without additional air. 

Also, we note that gloves are optional but still recommended. You don't want brake fluid touching your skin-or anything, for that matter-as it contains highly corrosive properties. Gloves can help ensure your skin will be protected if any fluid leaks out.

How To Bleed Brakes

We'll now outline several steps you can take to bleed each brake. You will want to consult your owner's manual to verify the correct order of bleeding. Often, you start with the furthest wheel from the master cylinder and gradually move closer.

This means you'll start with the passenger side rear wheel, then driver side rear, then passenger front, and then driver front. However, in vehicles with an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), that system now serves as your point of origin and may lead to a different bleeding order, so make sure to check first.

1. Jack up the truck and remove wheels

To begin, you will want to use your car jack and jack stands to lift the vehicle. By choosing this method, it will help you remove each tire easily so that you can more clearly see the different brake components.

2. Drain old brake fluid

Next, you will want to lift your hood and open the cap of the master cylinder, where you will see the old brake fluid. You will want to siphon some of the old fluid out and add fresh fluid.

3. Find the bleeder valve

Move to the wheel you will be starting with and find the bleeder valve. You may have to consult the owner's manual or do some research to ensure you've found the correct component. You will then remove its cap and place your box wrench over it.

4. Attach tubing to the bleeder valve

Then, you need to take your tubing line and attach it to the bleeder valve. The other end of the tubing line should be in the plastic bottle, where the fluid will drain into. You will want to place the bottle on a higher point than the valve (such as the brake drum) and then hold it in place.

5. Apply brake pressure

Next, ask your friend to pump the brakes a few times and then hold them in place. Have them inform you when they are holding them in place.  

6. Open and close the valve, then release brake pressure

As they hold the brake down, you will open the bleeder valve slightly with the box wrench. Fluid will begin to flow through the tube. The valve does not need to stay open long. You can tighten it back up after only a few seconds. Then, inform your friend to release the brake.

7. Repeat and replenish brake fluid

You will repeat this process several times (around five to ten times) at just one wheel location to produce clear fluid that's free of air bubbles. When finished at that wheel, tighten the valve, remove the tubing, and replace the valve cap.

Throughout this entire process, you will want to repeatedly check the brake fluid in the master cylinder to see if it's running low. If so, add additional brake fluid.

8. Repeat for each wheel

After you finish one wheel, you will then work your way around the vehicle, going to each tire and repeating this process. You can then completely refill the master cylinder after this task.

9. Take it for a test drive

After lowering your vehicle and replacing the tires, you will want to inspect how the brake feels. Then, you can take your vehicle for a short drive around the neighborhood to ensure the braking system is working as designed.

Schedule Brake Service in Middletown, CT, Today!

Bleeding your brakes can be a fun way to engage in car maintenance right at home. However, if you'd prefer to leave brake bleeding to the professionals, our team at Key Chevrolet can handle it for you. We also offer plenty of other brake services, like pad and rotor replacements, so your entire braking system will receive comprehensive coverage.

You can easily schedule this service on our website. For additional information about brake bleeding or to find the supplies you'll need, you can contact us today!

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