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How to Bleed Brakes on an Alero

by Trevor Scott; Updated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Brake fluid

  • Turkey baster

  • Tin can

  • Rags

  • Flashlight

  • Wrench

  • Flexible, clear plastic tubing

  • Clear plastic bottle

  • Piece of lumber

  • Assistant

An Alero was a vehicle model in the Oldsmobile line manufactured from 1999 to 2004. Brake pads on an Alero or any other vehicle will wear thin. This causes the brake fluid level to drop, allowing air bubbles into the brake lines. Bleeding the brakes will flush the air out. Also, when any work is done on a vehicle’s brake system, air can get trapped in the brake lines. Bleeding the brakes will eliminate these air bubbles. Your brakes need to be bled when you step on the brake pedal and it feels spongy and low.

Hoist the vehicle up in the air so that it is safely supported. Remove all the wheels.

Hang a flashlight under the car so you can see well. Loosen the bleeder bolts with a wrench, but don’t take them off completely.

Locate the brake fluid reservoir under the hood. Remove the cap and suck out the old fluid using a turkey baster. Empty the old fluid into a tin can. Wipe dirt out of the reservoir with a rag.

Slide one end of plastic tubing completely over the bleeder bolt at the right rear of the vehicle. Place the other end of the plastic tubing into a clear plastic bottle with an inch or two of new brake fluid. This will stop air from being sucked back into the brake cylinder.

Slide a piece of lumber under the brake pedal to stop the pedal from automatically traveling when pressure on the line is released.

Fill the brake fluid reservoir with new brake fluid and screw the cap on.

Remove the piece of lumber from under the brake pedal. Have your assistant depress the pedal while you turn the bleeder bolt 1/4 turn. Old brake fluid will dribble down the plastic tubing into the plastic bottle. When it stops, close the bleeder bolt. Your assistant will then ease up on the brake pedal. Repeat this step until clear brake fluid comes out of the bleeder bolt. Tighten the bolt.

Repeat the entire process for the left rear, right front and left front brakes. Follow this with fresh brake fluid on all four brakes to complete the process.

Tips

The bleeder bolts can be difficult to remove. Don’t force them off – you may end up rounding off the bolt heads. Instead, lightly tap them with a hammer or drip some penetrating oil on them and leave them overnight. Be careful with brake fluid. It will remove paint almost immediately. While bleeding the brakes, never let the brake fluid reservoir get more than half empty, otherwise air will be sucked into the brake cylinder. Brake fluid must remain well above the bottom of the reservoir. Take old brake fluid to a recycling depot that accepts hazardous materials. This is a very technically challenging procedure. If you feel uncomfortable performing this task, take your vehicle to a trained automotive mechanic.

Warnings

Don’t work under a vehicle unless it is properly supported on a hoist.

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

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