Vehicles require constant maintenance to ensure that they’re working all the time optimally. You don’t want to be exposed to any unsafe elements while you’re driving, especially when it comes to brakes. When you’re looking to maintain your vehicle efficiently and work for a long time, you have to look after the brake system.

Not all cars require the same amount of car maintenance, so you might feel like your car doesn’t require constant upkeep. However, when it comes to the brake systems, you need to be constantly vigilant, as even a tiny slip-up can cause a serious accident when you’re on the road.

How Do Brakes Work?

Most cars utilize a hydraulic brake system today, requiring multiple components to keep running efficiently. Hydraulic brake systems require brake fluid to keep functioning. Every time you press the brake pedal, a piston is pressed into a brake fluid reservoir (also known as a master cylinder). The fluid then puts pressure through brake lines that go to each wheel, activating the braking system.

When your car has disc brakes, the fluid pushes through the brake caliper, which ensures the brake pads are clamping on the rotor and slowing the car down.

Depending on the model and age of your car, you can find several variations to the conventional braking system. Depending on your car model, there might be a different type of fluid compartment, bleeder screws, and other components.

The braking fluid is the lifeline of any good braking system, and you need to ensure that it’s properly maintained at all times. It is designed to work for many years before you would require a replacement. When you’re constantly driving around in your car, your brakes will naturally start losing some of their functionality.

The brake fluid will lose its moisture resistance and start to absorb water, decreasing the performance of the brakes. The higher water content in the brake fluid can also end up corroding crucial elements of the braking system.

Replacing your brake fluid at regular periods is a great way to ensure that your brake system is optimized and can run all the time efficiently. The other crucial aspect you must also take care of is bleeding the brake system.  

Why Do Brakes Need Bleeding?

If an expert or a mechanic has suggested you bleed your brakes, it is probably a good idea to do so. However, you must first ensure that you know what bleeding your brake system does to your car’s performance.

You might have noticed that your brake pedal doesn’t work as effectively as it used to and that you need to press down on it quite hard for the brakes to kick in. It is known as a soft brake pedal, and the reason behind it is the air trapped in your braking system.

The pedal will start to feel spongy, and you might not be able to tell when the brake starts to kick in. It can be incredibly dangerous when you’re on the road since you have no idea how to control the power of your brake when you’re unable to tell when it starts working. When you have air in brakes, it’s better to take action immediately.

There can be a lot of trapped air accumulated in your brake system over time, and when you need to remove all the trapped air, bleeding is the main way to do it. Some of the old brake fluid can also be removed through this process.  

What Do You Need

If you’re wondering how to bleed brakes by yourself, as it isn’t a complicated procedure that requires you to head over to a mechanic, there are some items you will need. Fresh brake fluid is required to replace the old fluid that may be expelled when you’re letting out the trapped air.

A Ratcheting Open End wrench kit is required to loosen the bleeder valves, and some oil might be required if rust has begun gathering on your valves to make it easier. You will need a fluid extractor or a food baster, a catch pan, and a rag as well. Clear plastic tubing, a spacer (or some wood), and a helper who can aid you throughout the process are all you need to start bleeding your brakes.

You might have a hydraulic braking system that doesn’t come with a bleeding valve; in this case, you can opt for bleeder screws. Bleeder screws create temporary openings that can let the air out through pressure.

How to Bleed Brakes?

Regardless of whether you’re bleeding brakes after replacing lines or anything else, the process remains the same. Most car manufacturers prove a separate bleed valve is used just for bleeding brakes. If you have trouble locating the bleeding valve, look up your car model online and see where it is.

Once you’ve located the valve, take your open-end wrench to open it. Once it has been opened, you need to put your catch pan to collect the brake fluid that comes out of the vehicle. Any other fluid left in the compartment can be removed by using a fluid extractor or food baster.

Clean out any sediment remains or excess fluid using a rag. Once the whole compartment is clean, you can start filling it up again with new brake fluid. Ensure that you’re using a fluid compatible with your car and has been recommended by the manufacturer.

Shut off the valve and make sure it is secured tightly. You can also find complete DIY kits that have all the tools required for bleeding your brakes. It is optimal to use when you don’t want to replace your brake fluid constantly. The plastic tubing available in the kit will take out the air from the fluid while circulating it back to the master cylinder.

Drive Safely When You’ve Fixed Your Brakes

When you’re looking for an optimal time to bleed your brakes, it’s crucial to remember never to do it straight after you’ve driven the vehicle. The brake lines and fluid can be extremely hot, and you can be at risk of injuring yourself when you decide to work on it then.

Remember that brake fluid can be carcinogenic, so always have gloves and other protective gear on when you’re handling it. If you’ve taken the brake fluid out of the valve, it’s better not to reuse it as well.

If you’re getting a brake line replacement, the chances are that your fluid compartment will be checked as well. It is optimal to get the fluid replaced during this time and bleed your brakes. You can avoid constant brake repair when you’re ensuring that the fluid is replaced regularly and you are bleeding your brakes when required.

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