How to Flush Car Brake Fluid

The brake system is one of the most critical systems in any vehicle. The brake system relies on the brake fluid to allow the vehicle to stop at the right moment. The brake fluid is pumped by the brake pedal and master cylinder which operates the disc brakes.

Brake fluid attracts moisture and air can form bubbles in the system in turn causing brake fluid contamination. When this occurs, you will need to flush the brake system of your car.

This article shows you how to perform a brake flush on your vehicle. The locations of various parts may be different on your vehicle but the basic procedure will be the same.

  • Warning: Always check your owner's manual for the procedure for your exact vehicle. Brakes can fail on a vehicle if the flush is not done properly.

Part 1 of 3: Lift the vehicle and prepare to bleed the brakes

Materials Needed

Step 1: Test drive the vehicle. First, you will need to check the brake performance by taking your vehicle out for a test drive.

Pay close attention to the pedal feel as this will improve with the brake flush.

vehicle with front wheels removed and jacked up

Step 2: Lift the vehicle. Park the vehicle on a level ground and apply the parking brake.

Use wheel chocks on the rear wheels while the front wheels are being removed.

Break the lug nuts loose on each wheel but do not remove them.

Using a jack on the vehicle's lift points, raise the vehicle and place it on the jack stands.

Part 2 of 3: Bleed the brakes

brake fluid master reservoir shown

Step 1: Locate the fluid reservoir and drain it. Open the hood and locate the fluid reservoir on top of the brake fluid master cylinder.

Remove the cap of the fluid reservoir. Using the turkey baster, suck all of the old fluid out of the reservoir. This is done to push only the fresh fluid through the system.

Fill the reservoir with new brake fluid.

  • Tip: Refer to the owner’s manual of your car to find the right brake fluid for your specific vehicle.

Step 2: Remove the tires. The lugs nuts should already be loose. Remove all the lug nuts and set the tires aside.

With the tires removed, look at the brake caliper and locate the bleeder screw.

brake bleeder screw seen with arrows pointing to it

Step 3: Start to bleed the brakes. This step will require a partner.

Read the procedure in its entirety before you attempt to follow it.

Begin with the brake bleeder furthest from the master cylinder, typically the passenger rear one, unless otherwise noted in the manual. Slip the clear tubing onto the top of the bleeder screw and run it into the fluid container.

Get your helper to press the brake pedal several times and then hold it down. Ask them to hold the brake pedal down until you close the brake bleeder screw. While your partner is holding the brakes down, loosen the bleeder screw. You will see brake fluid come out and some air bubbles, if any.

bleeding the brakes

Bleed the brakes at each wheel until the fluid comes out clear and free of air bubbles. This may take several attempts to accomplish. After several attempts, check the brake fluid and refill, if needed. You will also need to check and fill the brake fluid after each corner is bled.

  • Warning: If the brake pedal is released while the bleeder screw is open this will allow air in the system. The brake bleeding procedure will need to be restarted if this occurs.

Part 3 of 3: Complete the process

Step 1: Check the pedal feel. Once all the brakes are bled and all the bleeder screws are tight, press the brake pedal several times and hold it. The pedal should stay firm as long as the pedal is pressed.

If the brake pedal sinks, there is a leak in the system somewhere that must be addressed.

Step 2: Put the wheels back on. Install the wheels back onto the vehicle. Tighten the lug nuts as much as possible keeping the vehicle raised.

Step 3: Lower the vehicle and torque the lug nuts. With the wheels installed, lower the vehicle by using the jack at each corner. Remove the jack stand at the corner and then lower it down.

Once the vehicle is fully on the ground, you will need to torque the lug nuts. Torque the lug nuts in a star pattern at each corner of the vehicle. * Note: Refer to the owner’s manual of your car to find the torque specification for your vehicle.

Step 4: Take the vehicle on a test drive. Before driving your vehicle, check and make sure that the brake pedal works properly.

Take the vehicle for a test drive and compare how the current feel of the pedal to how it felt before. The pedal should feel much more firm once the brakes are flushed.

Now that your brake system is flushed, you can rest easy knowing that the brake fluid is in good shape. Performing your own brake flush can save money and allow you to get to know your vehicle better. A brake flush will help to ensure that the brakes last a long time and will avoid any issues due to moisture in the system.

Bleeding the brakes can cause issues if it is not done properly. If you do not feel comfortable performing this service on your own, get a certified mechanic from YourMechanic to flush the brake system for you.


Next Step

Schedule Brake System Flush

The most popular service booked by readers of this article is Brake System Flush. YourMechanic’s technicians bring the dealership to you by performing this job at your home or office 7-days a week between 7AM-9PM. We currently cover over 2,000 cities and have 100k+ 5-star reviews... LEARN MORE

SEE PRICING & SCHEDULING

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Recent Brake System Flush reviews

Excellent Rating

(2,227)

Rating Summary
2,096
77
16
8
30
2,096
77
16
8
30

Paul

25 years of experience
224 reviews
Paul
25 years of experience
Nissan Altima - Brake System Flush - Las Vegas, Nevada
I was pleasantly impressed with Paul's service. he communicated when he was on his way. he was courteous and attentive, answered my questions and suggested future services with a reasonable time frame, without pushing to seell, right there and then.
Dodge Journey - Brake System Flush - Las Vegas, Nevada
Thank you so much Paul. You were great and through. You made me comfortable that my car was in good hands ;) Smile

Fernando

11 years of experience
19 reviews
Fernando
11 years of experience
Nissan Frontier - Brake System Flush - Lake Stevens, Washington
Fernando was very professional, polite and showed a genuine care for our vehicle and offered several times to answer any questions regarding our repairs.
GMC Terrain - Brake System Flush - Lake Stevens, Washington
Fernando was absolutely amazing. My wife's car came out great. He went above and beyond to make sure the right parts were right and explained every step.

JOHNNY

33 years of experience
96 reviews
JOHNNY
33 years of experience
Toyota Camry - Brake System Flush - Sacramento, California
He was very fast with his work and kept me informed about everything he did i would recomend him to a friend
Dodge Ram 1500 - Brake System Flush - Roseville, California
Johnny is an amazing mechanic. Very professional, very knowledgeable, and very courteous. I couldn't be happier to have found Johnny and yourmechanic.com. I highly recommend!

Adam

17 years of experience
126 reviews
Adam
17 years of experience
Honda CR-V - Brake System Flush - Delray Beach, Florida
Very happy with Adam. Third time I have used his service. On time, easy to talk to, knowledgeable, and I trust him. Love not having to go to the dealer, and wait hours for the car. The price is given in advance and is less than I pay at the dealer.
Mercedes-Benz S550 - Brake System Flush - Fort Lauderdale, Florida
An excellent knowledgeable mechanic with perfect disposition n attitude. A dedicated joy to meet.

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

Related articles

How Long Do Brake Pads Last?
How How long can brake pads last? Brake pads last from 25,000 miles to 70,000 miles depending on their design and material. Brake pads are part of the braking system of every vehicle. Designed to handle high friction, when the...
How Do I Prepare My Car for the Rainy Season?
Rain Rain doesn’t typically require making major modifications to your car, but following a few precautions at the start of any rainy season can make driving easier and safer. Check your tire tread to detect wear: Try the...
Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Power Brake Booster
If you notice the brake pedal is difficult to push, causes the engine to stall, or takes longer to stop the car, the power brake booster is failing.

Related questions

What causes brake fluid leaks?

There are many factors that can lead to brake fluid leaks. Let’s begin at the start of the system, with the master cylinder. This is a sealed unit with a reservoir to hold the brake fluid needed to operate...

Engine stalls. Then after 5 minutes or so it will start back up.

Either there is an issue with the brake system or the transmission. If the brake system is free and you can push the vehicle is neutral, then the issue lies with the transmission. The transmission may have a clutch that...

Warning lights after ABS brake flex lines replaced

The rear lights, including the brake lights, all go through the light control module and should have nothing to do with the ABS system. You may have bad bulbs. Have them checked to see if one or more brake lights...

How can we help?

Our service team is available 7 days a week, Monday - Friday from 6 AM to 5 PM PST, Saturday - Sunday 7 AM - 4 PM PST.

1 (855) 347-2779 · hi@yourmechanic.com