Are your brakes acting up as you drive around Jacksonville? If you’ve had to press down harder on the brake pedal to come to a stop, it may be time to bleed the brakes. Learn how to bleed brake lines below from the service team at Gwatney Chevrolet Company. Keep in mind that although the process is fairly straightforward, it can be time-consuming, especially if DIY isn’t your thing. If you rather let the experts in our service center take care of it, then schedule an appointment today, and we’ll do the heavy lifting for you. But if you’re ready to get started on learning how to bleed brakes by yourself, then continue reading.
Bleeding brake lines is a necessary part of caring for your car’s brakes. As you drive around Cabot, the moisture resistance of brake fluid degrades, and the fluid begins to absorb water. Air also starts to penetrate the brake system, causing the brake pedal to feel squishy when you press it. Bleeding the brakes helps remove trapped air and causes your brake pedal to feel firmer, making stopping easier and more responsive.
If you want to learn how to bleed brakes by yourself, you’ll need a box-end wrench, the proper brake fluid (check your owner’s manual), a container to hold the fluid, some clear 1/4 inch diameter tubing, and a friend or family member to help you. You can also purchase an inexpensive brake bleeding kit from the Gwatney Chevrolet Company parts center that contains these items. Then, follow the steps below to learn how to bleed brakes by yourself:
Park your car on solid and level ground and set the parking brake.
Jack up your vehicle and remove all the wheels.
Locate the four caliper bleeding screws and loosen them. If they are too tight and won’t loosen immediately, don’t twist hard with your wrench. Instead, spray the screws with some penetrating oil and wait about 30 minutes before giving it another try. If the screw is stuck, strips, or snaps off, don’t go any further. Instead, contact our service center near Sherwood.
After the screws are loosened, gently tighten three of them again, but don’t over tighten them. Bleeding your brakes is a slow procedure, and you’ll need to bleed one brake at a time. The other three screws must be tight enough to avoid air bubbles.
Pop your hood and check the brake fluid level in your master cylinder reservoir. Make sure it has the appropriate amount of fluid. While you’re bleeding the brakes, keep the cap to the master cylinder off and resting on top of the reservoir (so you don’t misplace it). Usually, it’s best to start with the brake that is the furthest away from the master cylinder but check the recommended order in your owner’s manual.
Put the end of your clear tubing over the first bleeder screw. Put the other end of the tubing into a container, such as a plastic bottle. The tubing must be long enough to place the catch container above the height of the bleeder screw. This will keep any air caught in the tube from moving back into the brake caliper.
This is where you need your assistant. Make sure your engine is off, and ask your friend to pump the brake pedal several times until they feel some resistance pushing back against the brake pedal. Ask them to keep pressure on the pedal while you open the bleeder screw a bit by unscrewing it a little. Fluid should start moving through the tube, and your friend should feel the pedal beginning to drop closer to the floor. Ask them to keep pressure on the pedal.
Your assistant needs to tell you immediately before the pedal reaches the floor. Then, close the bleeder screw immediately. Then, inspect the brake fluid level in the master fluid reservoir. You might need to add fresh fluid.
Repeat the previous two steps about five more times on the same bleeder screw, or until the brake fluid stream in the tubing no longer has any bubbles.
Then, repeat steps 7, 8, and 9 on the other three bleeder screws starting with the screw further away from the master cylinder and moving to the bleeder screw closest to it.
Once you finish bleeding your brakes, ask your assistant to apply the brakes, then quickly release the pedal. While they do, watch the fluid in your master cylinder reservoir. If the fluid is bubbling, there’s still air in the brake system, and you’ll need to do it all again. However, if the fluid is still or moving only slightly, congratulations! You’re finished! And now you know how to bleed brakes by yourself.
Before putting the wheels back on your car, check your bleeder screws to make sure they are secure, but not overly tight.
Now that you know how you can bleed a brake line yourself, you’ll be able to take care of this process at home near Little Rock. But if you find yourself in need of any help, you can contact us today, or browse our selection of service tips and tricks for additional ways you can take care of your car at home.
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