What is brake bleeding all about?
Brake fluid maintenance is essential for good, safe brake performance. Without brake fluid, brakes will not function. When you push the brake pedal, the brake fluid causes the brake pads to press against the rotors, making the car slow down and stop. Overtime, the brake fluid absorbs air and moisture from the atmosphere and gets contaminated. For smooth operation, the brake fluid should be pure liquid and free from air bubbles. Air in brake fluid causes braking to feel spongy and reduces braking efficiency, significantly.
Flushing brake fluid removes the existing fluid and moisture out of the system. Mechanic will fill the brake system with new brake fluid. After a brake fluid flush, the brake performance should significantly improve. You will immediately notice that pushing the brake pedal is harder.
Keep in mind:
If you are a car expert and wondering how a mechanic will flush the brake fluid outside your home/office without the big pressure bleeder machine, take note: the mechanic will use a handheld vacuum pump and/or atmospheric pressure to remove the fluid. Yes, it is not as powerful or efficient as the pressure bleeder machine, but it is effective.
How it's done:
- Remove contaminated brake fluid
- Add new brake fluid
- Clean any surfaces where brake fluid is present
- Check for fluid leaks
- Inspect brake pads, rotors and hoses
- Ask your mechanic to check the brake fluid (using a testing strip) every time you get an oil change.
- Please follow the manufacturer's maintenance schedule and guidelines regarding fluid maintenance. It is a good practice to change brake fluids every 50,000 miles or 36 months.
- Always use the fluid recommended by the manufacturer (e.g., do not use silicone-based brake fluids if your car needs regular brake fluid).
What are the common symptoms indicating you need to bleed your brakes?
- Brake pedal goes all the way to the floor
- Brakes don't work
How important is this service?
Your brake system depends on brake fluid to function efficiently and safely. When you press your brake pedal, brake fluid is sent from the reservoir to the brakes, where it applies pressure on the brake pads. This pressure forces the brake pads against the brake rotors, which slows down the wheels, and allows the car to slow or come to a stop. If the brake system is not bled regularly, it will get contaminated with air, moisture, and dust. These contaminants keep the brake fluid from applying pressure as forcefully and consistently as required, and thus impact your braking ability.