Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

What Does It Mean to Bleed Your Brakes?

Bleeding Brakes

While it sounds like a medical procedure, bleeding the brakes is a common maintenance procedure that needs to be done on a regular basis in order to keep a vehicle operating safely.

Bleeding the brakes falls under the routine maintenance category, and should be performed over the life of a vehicle. Most experts recommend bleeding your brakes every 2 to 3 years to keep them in tip-top shape.

What exactly is bleeding your brakes?

Over time, small amounts of air become trapped within the brake line. This can lead to spongy brakes or a brake pedal that goes almost to the floor before engaging. This can create a dangerous condition and should be addressed as soon as it becomes apparent. If the braking system ends up with large amounts of air in it, a complete braking failure is possible.

How does the air get into the system? Severely worn brake pads can let air into the system, as can poor servicing of the brake pads. It is also possible for a leak in the brake line to let air sneak into the brake system. Poor driving such as constantly slamming on the brakes can also lead to air in brake line. Regardless of how air made its way into the system, purging it is necessary to ensure the vehicle is safe to drive.

Basically, bleeding the brakes means removing the air from the brake line. This ensures that the brakes are in excellent condition and will work properly every time you hit the brake pedal.

How brake pedals are bled

Bleeding a brake line can be difficult and should be left to a professional. The following is a quick rundown of the steps involved when bleeding brakes:

  1. The brake bleed screw behind each brake is loosened and then tightened again, but not super tight. Special bleeder wrenches are required to loosen these screws.

  2. A flexible rubber hose will be placed over the end of the bleeder screw and the other end of the hose will be put in a jar. The jar will be filled with brake fluid to cover the end of the hose.

  3. A second person will pump the brake pedal a few times and then hold the brake pedal down while the bleeder screw is opened again.

  4. Brake fluid will squirt out and air bubbles will be visible in the fluid. While the brake pedal is still depressed the bleeder screws will be retightened. The brake pedal will now be released.

  5. This process will be repeated until no air bubbles are visible in the fluid. The entire process will then be repeated on each wheel.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

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

More related articles

P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...
P0222 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input
P0222 code definition Throttle/Pedal Position Switch/Sensor B Circuit Low Input What the P0222 code means The manufacturer specifies a range of acceptable voltage to be produced from the throttle position...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...


Related questions

Q: My car makes a really annoying noise and sometimes dies right after

Hi there. From the description you have provided your vehicle's moaning noise and intermittent stalling problem could be any number of things. It could be a failed alternator diode making the moaning noise and affecting the idle. A failed...

Q: Brake and turn signal lights out

With the brake lights and turn signals not functioning properly, this vehicle should not be driven until the lighting system is repaired. If all the lights in the back are out the most common cause would be a broken wire...

Q: 1995 Lexus ES 300 won't stay running

Based on the symptoms listed, I suspect an electronic or computer issue. Mainly because of the part about the brake pedal. I would recommend having an inspection performed on your vehicle to determine why your car is starting and then...