If there’s air trapped in your vehicle’s brake system and it’s causing your brake pedal to feel mushy or reducing your stopping power, you might be curious how to bleed brakes to release that air. The process is relatively simple but quite time-consuming, especially if you’re not particularly “handy” around cars. While we here at the Nyle Maxwell GMC service center recommend that you schedule service now, knowing how to bleed brakes lines is still good information for Round Rock drivers like you if you’re committed to learning how to bleed brakes by yourself.
Over time, your brake fluid’s moisture resistance starts to wear down, and the fluid begins to absorb water. Air can also enter the brake system and cause the brake pedal to feel “soft” or “squishy” when you press down on it. Bleeding the brakes helps to remove any trapped air in your brakes and makes your brake pedal feel firmer while driving on Cedar Park streets.
If you want to bleed brakes by yourself at home, you’ll need to gather the following: brake fluid, a box-end wrench, a fluid holder and tubing, and someone to help you. Then, follow these steps:
Review your owner’s manual to make sure you have the correct brake fluid for your make model. There are many different kinds of brake fluid, so it’s crucial to know which is the right one for your vehicle. Your owner’s manual will also tell you what the correct replacement intervals are for brake fluid.
Make sure you are on solid and level ground. Then, jack up your car and remove all of your wheels.
Next, locate the four caliper bleeding screws and loosen them. (If they don’t loosen easily, don’t twist hard with the wrench. Instead, spray the screws with penetrating oil and wait about 30 minutes and try again. If the screw strips or snaps, do not go any further. Bring your GMC to our service department right away.)
Bleeding your brakes by yourself is a slow process, and you need to bleed one brake at a time. To do so, the other three screws must be tight to avoid air bubbles, so tighten the other screw again
Pop your hood and check the master cylinder reservoir’s brake fluid level. Make sure your car has the recommended amount of fluid. While you bleed the brakes by yourself, leave the master cylinder cap unscrewed but resting on top of the reservoir. To start, you’ll want to bleed the brake furthest away from the master cylinder, but your car may require a different order. Check your owner’s manual or ask the service team at Nyle Maxwell GMC for guidance.
Find a clear tubing piece (about 1/4 inches in diameter) and put it over the first bleeder screw. Put the other end of the tubing into a receptacle, like a plastic bottle. You can also purchase a cheap brake bleeding kit from the Nyle Maxwell GMC parts center with these items. The tubing needs to be long enough that you can place the catch container above the bleeder screw’s height so that any air caught in the tube won’t move back into the brake caliper.
You’ll need someone to help you with this next step. Turn your car off, and ask your assistant to pump the brake pedal several times until they feel resistance pushing back against the pedal. Ask them to keep pressure on the pedal. Meanwhile, open the bleeder screw a little. Fluid will move through the tube, and the pedal will start dropping closer to the floor. Make sure your friend continues to apply pressure to the brake pedal.
Ask your helper to notify you immediately before the pedal reaches the floor. When they do, close the bleeder screw right away. Then, inspect the fluid level in the master fluid reservoir. You may need to add a little fresh brake fluid.
Repeat the previous two steps about five times for the same bleeder screw until the fluid stream no longer has any bubbles in it.
Then, repeat steps 7, 8, and 9 on the other three bleeder screws in the correct order, starting with the screw further away from the master cylinder and moving towards the one closest to it.
After you’ve finished bleeding your brake lines, ask your helper to step on the brake pedal, then quickly release the pedal. While they do that, watch the fluid in the master cylinder reservoir. If the brake fluid is bubbling, there’s still air in the system, you’re not finished. However, if the fluid is moving only slightly, you’ve bled the brakes fully.
Before putting the wheels back on your GMC, tighten each of the bleeder screws. Again, don’t use all of your strength; just apply enough pressure to make sure they’re secure.
Now that you’ve learned how to bleed brake lines, if you’d prefer to leave this auto service task to the professionals, the team at Nyle Maxwell GMC near Austin is happy to help! Schedule brake service online, or give us a call if you have questions about bleeding brakes, or even other questions like “How often should I rotate my tires?“. While you’re here, be sure to browse our service specials for opportunities to save money. We are conveniently located not far from Cedar Park, so contact us today!
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