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Bleeding the Brakes

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Air in the hydraulic brake lines is a very bad thing. Liquid cannot compress - gas can. If any air pockets are in your system the brake fluid will not transfer all pressure from master cylinder to the calipers. So if your brake pedal feels "spongy" or you changed your brake calipers, you must bleed your brakes. Two people are required to do the bleeding.

First locate the bleeder valves. They should be located on the top of the inside side of the calipers.

Bleeding is done from the farthest wheel from the master cylinder. If it's on the drivers side (Left), then - Right rear -> left rear -> right front -> left front.

Clean the bleeder valve, connect a drain hose from bleeder to a some kind of container. Then ask someone to pump the brake pedal several times and then hold it down with moderate pressure. While someone is holding the brakes, slowly open the bleeder valve. After fluid mixed with air has stopped flowing, close the bleeder valve. Ask the guy who's holding the pedal to slowly release the pedal. Repeat this procedure until fluid that flows from the bleeder is clear and free of bubbles.

Repeat everything for all wheels.

Some warnings:

Always refill the brake system with fresh brake fluid. DO NOT reuse fluid that was drained.

DO NOT allow the master cylinder to run out of brake fluid during bleeding.

Clean master cylinder and cover before adding fluid.

DO NOT spill brake fluid on the car's body! It will REMOVE the paint.

Only use approved brake fluid.

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I forgot. DON'T pump the brake while bleeder valve is open. It will suck air again to the hydraulic system. When pedal drops - close the valve and only then you can repeat the procedure.

And more.


a.k.a. brake fluid change.

It's similar to brake bleeding, except you have to force ALL brake fluid out the brake system while adding new fluid to the master cylinder reservoir. One wheel at a time. Always watch brake fluid level inside the reservoir. Refill before it becomes empty. If you pump brakes with reservoir empty, air will get into the hydraulic system. "Bleed" the brakes until you see your fresh, clear brake fluid coming from the bleeder valve.

Brake fluid should be changed according to your manufacturers recommendations. If you don't now the recommendations you should change the brake fluid at least once in a 50 000 mile period.

Never use engine oil, auto tranny oil or power steering oil in your brake system. It will cause leaks from hoses and master cylinder will start to develop lower pressure because of the leaking piston seals.

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