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

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

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

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.


Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.


More related articles

Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Idaho
The state of Idaho offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the...
P2422 OBD-II Trouble Code: Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2422 P2422 code definition Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed Related Trouble Codes: P2441: EVAP Vent Valve Stuck Open EVAP trouble...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...

Related questions

Q: Brakes are squealing

I would first recommend having a brake inspection performed by a certified technician. This inspection will include checking the brake pads, rotors, hoses, lines, calipers, master cylinder, fluid level, etc. Once the location of the squeal has been found, determine...

Q: Front brakes rattling going downhill and steering wheel shakes.

Despite having the disc brakes and brake pads replaced on your Dodge Durango, there can be other reasons that could be producing these concerns. With the front brake rattling and steering wheel shaking, it is possible there was a part...

Q: My brake light is blinking for some reason

I'm not sure whether you're talking about the brake warning light on the dash or the brake lights themselves. If you're referring to the brake warning on the dash, this indicates a problem with the braking system. If the...