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The Complete Guide to Bleeding Your Brakes

Bleeding Your Brakes

Brakes are an integral part of your vehicle and more importantly your driver safety. Without proper brake maintenance and management, things can go awry very quickly. At Car Cash Buyers, one of our goals is to empower our readers to learn tips, tricks, and techniques on how to perform maintenance techniques by yourself. What an amazing feeling knowing you don’t have to take time off of work to help the auto shop when you can master these skills right at home with the help of Cash Car Buyers. As always, if you want to learn even more give our blog a read to start mastering other automotive maintenance skills. In this article, we will discuss the many techniques one can use to bleed your brakes. Read on and let’s get learning!

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


Why Are My Brakes So Important?

Great question! We are glad you asked! Let’s take a step back and review the function and necessity brakes provide to your vehicle. The brake system in your car is akin to the cardiovascular system for stopping your car. It may seem like a no brainer, but having a brake system that is working correctly is paramount to creating a safer driving environment for you and everyone around you. Whether it is a pedestrian or a semi-truck, you as the driver need to have confidence in your ability to stop on a dime. If something were to go wrong out on the open road or even in a parking lot due to your brakes there are many financial and legal woes that may come knocking at your door due to an inept braking system.


How Does The Brake System Work?

 The brake system is an integral part of your vehicle’s ecosystem that contains many pieces and parts. Here is a quick and simple illustration of how the entire brake system works from a diver’s perspective. When you press your foot on the brake pedal, it is actually the brake fluid that is doing all of the work for you. Your leg action moves a plunger in the brake master cylinder that pumps brake fluid through the brake lines and out to the brakes. This is one of the big reasons why adding brake fluid routinely is important to the overall health of your car and your driver safety. (more on brake fluid in a moment) The brake fluid applies pressure to the brake pads, which squeeze your vehicle's brake discs. This is the action that slows you and your vehicle down. Now that we can see the big picture of how the brake system works, let’s quickly elaborate on a few key descriptions of important terms. Once we understand these key terms of the braking system it will give us an even clearer picture of what we will be working with when we start to bleed the brakes.


Three Main Components of the Braking System

Brake Fluid

Brake fluid is the lifeblood of the entire brake system. One perk of using brake fluid is once you add it to the brake system it may not need to be touched for potentially, up to a few years. That number depends on the quality of the brake fluid, what type of vehicle you drive, and how often you drive your vehicle. What is clear though is the importance of routinely checking how much brake fluid is left and then adding more when the time is right. The key, in order to add more brake fluid, is to bleed the brakes, hence why knowing how to bleed the brakes is so, so important. Not adding more brake fluid can potentially cause corrosion to integral parts of the braking system and could cost you a pretty penny in the future if your brakes go untreated with the proper brake fluid.


Brakes Lines

In conjunction with the brake fluid, we have the brake lines. Molded from polymer, brake lines are the tubes that carry the brake fluid to the places it is needed in order for your vehicle to stop moving. These brake lines are akin to arteries in the heart system so it is essential they be maintained in order for the brake system to properly function. If the brake lines are not properly cared for they may start to erode or crack. With this erosion, precious brake fluid may leak not only causing a health hazard but also losing the substance that makes the entirety of the brake system to seamlessly work together. As is the central theme of this article, the best way to maintain and properly care for the brake lines is to bleed the brakes every so often.


Brake Master Cylinder

The brake master cylinder is the center of the brake system. This piece of the brake system is activated when the driver presses down on the brake pedal. It serves as the main valve that pushes brake fluid through the brake lines so the brake calipers can squeeze the brake pads against the rotors of your vehicle. The brake master cylinder functions by pushing a metal rod through a cylinder to force brake fluid through the braking system to the wheels. The brake master cylinder is incredibly important to the brake system and should be carefully maintained to ensure your driver's safety and the safety of others on the open road.


How Do I Bleed My Brakes?

Now that we have done a deep dive into these three key components of the brake system, we can now start talking about how to bleed the brakes! Keep in mind, the terms we discussed above are not the entirety of the brake system in its full glory. If you want to fully understand every piece of the brake system and how they fully function in tandem there are wonderful automotive resources like Edmunds, HowStuffWorks, and more for you to read, review, and learn from. Back to bleeding the brakes!  Like any other automotive project, there are numerous techniques to get the job done but here at Cash Car Buyers, we are going to take the solo route for this one. Since bleeding the brakes is such an incredibly visual process we scoured the internet and found three fantastic Youtube videos that displayed the process from beginner to intermediate, to expert. Grab your favorite snack, a notepad, and let’s get to watch!


Three Youtube Videos to Help Instruct Bleeding Your Brakes

In the age of the internet, we at Cash Car Buyers know you can find just about anything online these days. We found three informative Youtube videos that we feel will help you in your quest to bleed your brakes in a solo fashion. CarsNToys, TheDaninator, and 1A AutoParts are the three Youtube videos we will be watching and learning from today.


1. Bleed Brakes Yourself with OR Without Special Tools By CarsNToys


Have seven minutes to spare? Then this video from CarsNToys is the video for you to learn how to bleed your brakes solo. The producer of this video uses and suggests viewers obtain a vacuum pump to complete the job. Specifically, the MV8000 model which can be found on Amazon for a mere $26.00. Further along in the video, this producer does a fantastic job of explaining the purpose of bleeding the brakes, to remove air from the brake lines. Also, he creates a visual of air bubbled within the brake system, showing just how important it is to remove these in order for your braking system to properly function. Lastly, the producer illustrates a way to bleed the brakes without using the vacuum pump, this time using a dumbell to press down the brake pedal, removing the air from the brake cylinder. A short and sweet video that offers two timely solutions is a must-watch for someone who wants to learn the ins and outs in a timely fashion.


2. Bleed Brakes By Yourself – DIY Brake Bleeder Tool – Brake Flush By The Dominator

The Dominator offers a unique methodology for bleeding the brakes using a soda bottle and some vinyl tubing. This seven-minute informative video offers a timely solution showing viewers you don’t need fancy tools to solve the most intimidating automotive problems. One small but key point the producer tells viewers is if any brake fluid is spilled it must be cleaned up immediately. Though this point may seem like a trivial piece of information it is imperative to keep brake fluid off of any parts of your vehicle as brake fluid can be extremely corrosive. Make sure to have towels or a rag on hand during every step of the brake bleeding process. This home-made video is perfect for someone who is strapped for cash but wants to successfully bleed the brakes in a safe and timely manner.


3. How to Bleed Your Brakes By Yourself By 1A AutoParts

1A AutoParts presents a glossy packaged video with the heart of the matter is bleeding the brakes. Similar to the Daninator’s video 1A AutoParts also uses a plastic soda bottle and a rubber vacuum hose, about two feet of it for this automotive project. A key piece of information the producer shared was these tools can be used on almost any size, make, or model of vehicle which as a viewer is fantastic to know! Proper brake bleeding technique begins at the furthest wheel from the master cylinder which will make sure any air or dirty fluid will be cleaned out from the longest brake line ending with the shortest. This is an informative video aimed at beginners so even without a ton of experience you can easily bleed your brakes with this Youtube video acting as your guide throughout the entire process.


Bleeding Your Brakes: Final Thoughts

That’s a wrap, folks! We hope you as a driver feel more empowered to tackle bleeding your brakes solo by reading this article from Cash Car Buyers. As we learned from recapping why brakes are so important, dissecting key components of the brake system, to watching Youtube videos of the process in action, bleeding your brakes is an attainable project you CAN do. As illustrated specifically in the Youtube videos, this automotive project can be completed without breaking the bank or needing a second pair of hands. As always, if you have further questions or want to explore any automotive topics further don’t hesitate to contact Cash Car Buyers today. Till next time!

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