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There are four bleeder valves on your vehicle. That is one for each wheel and you'll find them where the flexible hose joins the metal brackets holding the brake assembly together. They look like this:
[Sorry but Fixya won't provide enough space to include the picture]I reduced the size and slipped it through.
The final step in any proper brake repair is to bleed your brake lines. Bleeding removes any air in the lines, which can result in poor braking performance. The primary symptom of air in the brake lines is that your brake pedal feels spongy or soft. This is because air, a gas, can compress while brake fluid, a liquid, is incompressible.
There are other times you might need to do this. Anytime your brake fluid gets excessively hot can introduce air into the system. You should also use the same technique to completely replace you brake fluid every couple of years. Brake fluid can absorb moisture from the air that, under extreme braking conditions, can boil, creating steam bubbles, which will give you the same symptoms as having air in the line.
Tools and materials required;
- Wrench for bleeder valves
- Short length of clear plastic tubing to fit bleeder valves
- Turkey baster (I know, it sounds weird, but it comes in handy)
- Container for old brake fluid (an old soda bottle with cap is ideal)
- Brake fluid
- Jack (maybe)
- Jack stands (maybe)
- Lug wrench (maybe)
- Vacuum bleeder (optional)
The traditional way of bleeding brakes is to use a helper. Anyone who can clearly follow, and repeat back, instructions can provide this assistance. And, they won't get dirty so there's no need for them to even get into their work clothes.
If you have access to a vacuum bleeder you can do this job by yourself. Many auto parts stores will loan this tool with a small deposit.
Whichever technique you're going to use many steps remain the same.
First, locate the bleeder valves on the brakes. These look like small bolts with a nipple for attaching a piece of plastic tubing. They will be on the brake calipers near where the brake hose enters on disk brakes or on the backing plate in a similar location on drum brakes.
Once you have located the bleeder valves you can determine whether the vehicle must be lifted and the wheels removed to get to them. If you can easily reach the bleeder valves by turning wheels and or reaching under the vehicle adequately to put a wrench on them you may not need to lift the vehicle or remove the wheels.
To begin bleeding the brakes start with the wheel that is furthest from the master cylinder. Usually that is the passenger rear wheel for almost any vehicle, on American cars that would be the right rear. Bleed the brakes in the order of the distance from the brake master cylinder. If your master cylinder is located, as is usually the case, in front of the driver, you would go from passenger rear, driver rear, passenger front and finally driver front.
If you have decided that you need to lift the vehicle and remove the wheel, now is the time to lift the rear of the vehicle. Always use proper jack stands to support any lifted vehicle and never get underneath a vehicle that is only supported by the jack. When the wheels are lifted and the vehicle is safely on jack stands remove the rear wheels.
Open the hood of the vehicle and the brake fluid reservoir. Using the turkey baster, or similar device for sucking the old fluid out of the reservoir, remove as much of the old brake fluid as possible. Refill the reservoir with new fluid and leave the hood and reservoir open.
If you are bleeding your brakes without a vacuum bleeder you need to get your helper into the drivers seat. The vehicle won't be started so this person doesn't even have to be a licensed driver. In fact, this is a good first job for a young teen to get started working on vehicles.
Place a length of plastic tubing onto the bleeder valve on the first wheel you will be working on. Tell your helper "Down" to have them press the brake pedal and have them repeat that back when they've done that. With the brake pedal held down you will now slowly open the bleeder valve with your wrench. Fluid will start to flow out the tube. When the fluid flow has slowed or stopped, close the bleeder valve. Tell your helper "Up" and have them release the brake pedal and repeat back when the pedal is up.
Repeat the "Down" and "Up" sequence until clear fluid with no bubbles comes out of the valve. Every half dozen times, or so, check the level of fluid in the reservoir and bring it back up to full. If the fluid in the reservior gets too low air will get into the system requiring a restart from the beginning.
If you're using a vacuum bleeder you will attach it to the bleeder valve again using plastic tubing. Open the bleeder valve with your wrench and, following the instructions with the bleeder, pump the fluid from the valve. Every so often close the valve and top off the fluid in the reservoir. It will take a fairly short time to drain the reservoir so check it often. Continue pumping fluid from the line until clear fluid enters the tubing.
After you have clear fluid coming out of the valve on the first wheel go to the next wheel and repeat. When the back is done, replace the wheels, and lower the rear of the vehicle. Lift the front and bleed those in the same manner as the rear.
That's all there is to bleeding your brakes. The first time might take as long as a couple of hours but, after you've done the job a couple of times, you can likely complete the whole thing within a half hour or so.
All the best,