How to Bleed Brakes on Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

Bleeding the brakes on your vehicle is needed after replacing any brake parts that require you to break the seal on any part containing the brake fluid. When the seal is broken in the fluid area, it allows air in the lines that will not let the brakes function properly. Bleeding the brakes can be done by your local mechanic. However, if it isn't in your budget to take your vehicle to your local repair shop, you can bleed the brakes yourself. With a little knowledge and elbow grease this can be accomplished in a short time with ease.

Under The Hood:

 How to Bleed Brakes on Dodge RAM

Break the lugnuts free. Use your lug wrench to break free all of the lugnuts on all four wheels. Place the lug wrench on the lugnuts and turn it counter-clockwise until they break free. Repeat this process on all lugnuts and all wheels.

Jack the vehicle and remove the wheels. Place the jack under the rear of the vehicle and jack it up. Place the jack stands under the vehicle. Let the jack down until the vehicle is sitting on the jack stands. Move the jack to the front of the vehicle and jack it up. Place the jack stands under the front of the car for safety. Let the jack down so the vehicle is sitting on the jack stands.

Remove the wheels. Remove all lugnuts with the lugwrench, turning them counter-clockwise until they come off. Remove the wheels and set them aside.

Bleed the brakes. Remove the brake fluid reservoir lid and pour in brake fluid until it is full. Have your helper sit in the driver's seat of the vehicle, pump the brake pedal three times and then hold it down.

Place the appropriate size socket on the bleeder screw located on the top of the brake caliper, and turn it counter-clockwise a quarter turn; this will release brake fluid and any air that is present. Turn the bleeder screw clockwise until tight. Have your helper release the brake pedal and then pump it again three times. Repeat the bleeding process. This process will be done to all four brake calipers.

Re-install the wheels and let the vehicle down. Place all wheels back on the vehicle and turn the lugnuts clockwise until they are tight. Jack the front of the vehicle and remove the jack stands. Let the front of the vehicle down to the ground. Move to the rear of the vehicle and jack it up, remove the jack stands, and let the vehicle down to the ground.

Tighten the lug nuts. When the entire vehicle is back on the ground, use your lug wrench to re-tighten the lugnuts.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • Socket set and ratchet

  • Lug Wrench

  • Helper

 How to Bleed Brakes on a 77 Corvette

Clean the top of the brake master cylinder with a shop rag. Open the brake master cylinder and top it off. During the bleeding process, you must monitor the level of the brake fluid and keep the master cylinder full, because every time you bleed a caliper, the level will go down. Do not let the master cylinder get empty.

Loosen the lug nuts on the passenger-side rear wheel about one turn. Raise the Corvette with the jack and support with a jack stand. Finish removing the lug nuts and wheel.

Loosen the bleeder screw on the inside of the right-rear caliper. Do not open it yet. Make sure you have safety goggles on. Attach the bleeder hose. Your bleeder hose kit has a small plastic bottle to which the hose is attached. Fill the bottle with brake fluid so that the end of the hose is submerged in the brake fluid about 1 inch.

Instruct your assistant to depress the brake pedal a few times and hold pressure on the pedal until you tell him to let up on the pedal. Open the bleeder screw and allow fluid to flow into the bottle. Your assistant needs to maintain pressure on the pedal until you close the bleeder screw. You may notice air bubbles coming into the bottle. This is air in the system. After you close the bleeder screw, tell your assistant to let up on the pedal.

Check the master cylinder and refill with fresh brake fluid if necessary. Do not reuse old brake fluid. Repeat the above procedure until no air bubbles are seen exiting the bleeder hose. Close the bleeder screw and move to the outer bleeder screw. Repeat the process until no air bubbles are seen. Close the bleeder screw. Remove the bleeder hose. Replace the wheel. Lower the Corvette and tighten the lug nuts.

Repeat this process in the following order: Driver's-side rear caliper, inner bleeder, outer bleeder. Passenger's-side front, inner and outer bleeder. Driver's-side front, inner and outer bleeder.

Items you will need

  • Assistant

  • Safety goggles

  • Jack

  • Jack stand

  • Box-end wrench

  • Brake-bleeder kit

  • Shop rags

  • Brake fluid

 How to Bleed the Brakes on a 2002 Chevrolet S-10

Park the S10 on firm ground. Turn the ignition switch to the "Off" position and allow the brakes to cool completely. Pump the brake pedal until the pedal becomes firm, to release any residual booster pressure. Wipe the brake fluid reservoir cap, using a clean shop rag, then remove the cap and the diaphragm from the reservoir. Add fresh brake fluid until the fluid level in the reservoir reaches the "Full" mark.

Pour a small amount of fresh brake fluid in a small, clean container. Install a box-end wrench and a length of 1/4-inch I.D. clear tubing on the rear passenger-side brake bleeder nipple. Submerge the loose end of the hose in the container of fresh brake fluid.

Instruct your helper to apply and hold steady pressure on the brake pedal. Open the caliper bleeder valve approximately 1/2 turn until the brake pedal bottoms out. Observe the fluid stream in the clear tubing. Close the bleeder valve and instruct your helper to release the brake pedal and allow it to return to the full up position. Allow the system to rest for approximately 15 seconds. Repeat the bleeding procedure until the fluid stream is clear and free of bubbles. Check and top off the fluid level in the reservoir as necessary.

Repeat the bleeding procedure on the remaining calipers in the following order; driver-side rear, passenger-side front, then driver-side front. Top off the reservoir after each wheel. Double-check all four bleeder valves for tightness. Fill the reservoir to the "Full" mark. Install the reservoir diaphragm and cap. Wipe up any spilled brake fluid.

Push on the brake pedal to test the feel of the brakes. Repeat the bleeding procedure if the brakes still feel spongy. Check for leaks. Turn the ignition switch to the "On" position, but do not start the engine. Watch to make sure the brake warning lamp goes out. Have the vehicle scanned and repaired before operating it if the brake warning lamp remains illuminated.

Items you will need

  • Shop rag

  • Delco Supreme 11 DOT 3 Brake Fluid or equivalent

  • Small container

  • Box-end wrench set

  • 1/4-inch inside diameter clear vinyl hose

 How Do I Bleed the Brakes on a Honda Civic Lx?

Park the Honda in an area that will allow you to safely work on all sides of the vehicle. You should be away from passing traffic, on a relatively flat surface, and away from any curbs.

Loosen the lugnuts on each wheel with the tire iron.

Place the lifting jack beneath the frame of the Honda near the rear bumper and lift the vehicle. Place jack stands beneath the frame and rest the vehicle onto the stands.

Remove the lugnuts on the rear wheels and pull the wheels from the wheel bolts.

Open the hood of the Honda. Remove the cap on the master cylinder. The master cylinder is located near the windshield on the driver's side of the vehicle.

Have your assistant sit in the driver's seat, press the brake pedal and keep pressure on the pedal until it is fully depressed.

Attach the tube from the bleed kit to the bleed valve on the right rear caliper of the vehicle. Open the bleed valve with the 10-mm wrench. Place the drip pan below the bleed kit tube.

Monitor the flow of brake fluid through the lead kit tube. Allow the brake fluid to flow from the tube until there are no air bubbles in the stream of brake fluid.

Close the brake fluid bleed valve on the right rear wheel brake. Remove the bleed kit tube from the bleed valve.

Once you have finished the right rear brake, repeat the bleeding process for each brake in the following order: left rear brake, right front brake, and finally the left front brake.

Place the wheels back onto the wheel bolts. Screw on the lugnuts by hand. Lift the vehicle to remove the jack stands before lowering it to the ground. Tighten the lugnuts with the tire iron.

Fill the master cylinder with the DOT-3 brake fluid until the fluid is to within 1/4-inch from the top of the container. Replace the master cylinder cap.

Items you will need

  • Tire iron

  • Lifting jack

  • Jack stands

  • 10-mm wrench

  • Brake bleed kit

  • Drip pan

  • DOT-3 brake fluid

 How to Bleed the Brakes on a Honda Accord

Raise the car and support it on jack stands. Remove the wheels from the car.

Fill the brake bleeder bottle half way with brake fluid. Using a ten millimeter socket and ratchet, loosen the right rear bleeder screw.

Install the brake bleeder hose onto the tip of the brake bleeder screw and place the hose into the bottle of brake fluid. Make sure that the brake bleeder hose is submerged in the brake fluid.

Pump the brake pedal slowly five times. Tighten the brake bleeder screw and remove the brake bleeder hose. Check the brake master cylinder and fill as necessary.

Work on bleeding all the brakes moving from the right rear to the left front to the left rear and finally to the right front. Each time one is bled check the fluid in the master cylinder. Stay in this order as they are bled. Start the engine and pump the brakes five or six times first before driving.

Bleed the master cylinder if the brakes are spongy. Spongy brakes mean air has gotten in the line and worked its way up to the brake master cylinder. This step will require two people to accomplish this job.

Bleed the brake master cylinder by having someone sit in the car and start the engine. Let the car run in neutral. Loosen the front brake line on the master cylinder with the appropriate wrench. Have the helper push the pedal to the floor and hold it there. This is very important. The other person must not let the pedal up until you have tightened the line on the master cylinder because if they do air will be sucked into the master cylinder making it harder to bleed. Once the pedal is to the floor tighten the line and let the helper lift his foot off the brake pedal.

Loosen the rear brake line on the master cylinder and have the helper once again push the pedal to the floor. Tighten the brake line and allow the helper to release the pressure on the pedal. Check the brake fluid in the master cylinder and replace the cap.

Items you will need

  • Set of ¼-inch drive sockets

  • ¼-inch drive ratchet

  • Rubber or plastic bleeder hose

  • Bottle for the brake fluid

  • Can of brake fluid

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Set of ½-inch drive sockets

  • ½-inch drive air gun

 How to Bleed Brakes on a 2004 Toyota Tacoma

Raise the truck with the floor jack at the desired brake by placing the head of the jack onto a frame rail. Pump the lever until the wheel is in the air.

Remove the wheel by turning the lug nuts counterclockwise. Pull the wheel from the hub. Set the wheel aside.

Locate the bleeder nipple on the rear of the brake assembly and turn it in a counterclockwise direction. Collect drained fluid with the drain pan, as brake fluid weeps from the nipple. The front brake bleeder nipples are located on the back of the caliper.

Uncap the master cylinder, located in the engine compartment against the driver side firewall, by pulling the plastic tabs on the black top seal cap. The brake fluid in the two bowls should be a golden yellow color and full to the proper level.

Have someone press the brake pedal while pouring fluid into the master cylinder. Do not let the master cylinder get low on fluid, as this could introduce large amounts of air into the system and cause damage to the power booster. Only one press on the pedal is necessary; it will probably go to the floor without much resistance. The fluid coming out is the proper color with no latent air bubbles.

Turn the bleeder nipple in a clockwise direction to close it.

Release the brake pedal. Fill the master cylinder to the proper level. Cap the master cylinder by pressing the four tabs firmly onto the white plastic. Take care not to bind the internal rubber gasket.

Replace the wheel by turning the lug nuts in a clockwise direction, in an alternating pattern.

Lower the truck from the floor jack by turning the jack's pressure screw counterclockwise. Remove the jack.

Repeat the entire procedure on the remaining brakes.

Items you will need

  • Socket set

  • Drain pan

  • DOT-3 braking fluid

  • Floor jack

 How to Bleed the Brakes on a Toyota Camry

Raise the Camry's passenger rear tire off of the ground with a jack. Place a jack stand under the vehicle's jack point as outlined in the manual or directly beneath the axle. Remove the tire using the lug wrench to loosen and remove the lug bolts. Set the tire aside.

Locate the bleed screw. On drum brakes, the screw usually is on the back side of the drum just above the axle. On disc brakes, the screw is closer to the engine on the back side of the caliper. Loosen the screw with a wrench to make it easier to loosen and tighten rapidly, but don't leave it so loose that fluid drips out.

Attach the rubber tubing to the bleed screw. Submerge the other end of the tubing into a clear plastic bottle partially filled with DOT-3 brake fluid.

Open the hood of the vehicle. Locate the brake fluid reservoir, which usually is on the driver's side of the firewall toward the top of the firewall. Clean the reservoir top and remove it. Fill the reservoir to the fill line with brake fluid. Do not let the fluid level in the reservoir drop beneath half full while bleeding the brakes. Fill the reservoir as necessary. Top off the reservoir and replace the cap when you complete the bleeding process.

Instruct an assistant to depress the brake pedal firmly and hold it in position. Loosen the bleed screw for a few seconds. Watch for air bubbles or fluid flowing in the plastic container. When the flow stops, tighten the bleed screw. Instruct the assistant to release the pedal. Repeat this process until no air bubbles come out of the tube. Repeat the process three more times. Tighten the bleed screw completely.

Replace the tire and lug nuts. Raise the vehicle using a jack to remove the jack stands. Lower the vehicle to the ground with the jack. Tighten the lug nuts to factory specifications.

Repeat steps one through six for the driver rear brake, the passenger front brake and the driver front brake. Check the reservoir and fill it as necessary with DOT-3 brake fluid. Replace the cap on the reservoir. Test your brakes when all four brakes have been bled. If you notice further problems, contact a professional for additional testing.

Items you will need

  • Jack

  • Jack stand

  • Lug wrench

  • Wrench

  • Rubber tubing

  • Clear plastic bottle

  • DOT-3 brake fluid

 How to Bleed the Brakes on a Toyota Corolla

Use a jack to raise the car onto 4 jack stands.

Use a tire iron to remove the bolts on each wheel and then remove the wheels.

Loosen the bleeder bolts on each wheel with a box wrench, being careful not to open the bleeders yet. If the bleeders are very difficult to open, you may need to place some penetrating oil on them and leave them to sit for a few hours or even overnight.

Open the hood of the car and open the brake master cylinder reservoir.

Use a turkey baster to remove as much of the oil in the reservoir as possible.

Clean the inside of the reservoir with a clean rag.

Fill the reservoir with new brake fluid and close it.

Place a piece of clear plastic tubing around the bleed valve of a wheel, starting with the right-rear wheel.

Place the other end of the tubing into a clear plastic bottle that is 1/4th full of clean brake fluid. Make sure the tubing is submerged and stays submerged in the fluid.

Have someone apply pressure onto the brake pedal while you open the bleeder bolt slightly.

Have them press the brake down about 3/4ths of the way and hold it, in the meantime the old brake fluid will be flowing down the plastic tubing.

Close the bleeder bolt with the wrench as soon as the flow of fluid stops, then have your helper release the brake pedal.

Continue doing this until clean fluid flows from the bleeder valve, making sure to refill the master cylinder reservoir every 3 times you complete the process of Steps 10 through 12.

Repeat Steps 8 through 13 for every wheel, starting from the right-rear wheel, then going to the left-rear wheel, the right-front wheel and finally the left-front wheel.

Top off the master cylinder reservoir.

Bolt the wheels back into the place.

Lower the car off of the jack stands.

Items you will need

  • Hydraulic jack

  • Jack stands

  • Tire iron

  • Box wrench for bleeder bolt

  • Turkey baster

  • Clear plastic bottle

  • Clear plastic tubing

  • Brake fluid

 How to Bleed the Brakes on a 1997 Ford Ranger

Raise the front of the truck and support it on jack stands. Raise the rear of the truck by the differential and place jack stands under the axle tubes. Lower the truck onto the jack stands. Place the drain pan under the passenger-side rear brake.

Open the bleeder screw on the back of the wheel cylinder about two turns and leave it open until brake fluid is steadily draining from the wheel cylinder. At this point close and tighten the bleeder screw.

Move to the driver's side front wheel. Place the drain pan under the caliper. Open the bleeder screw on the top of the caliper and leave it open until a steady drip of brake fluid is seen. Close the bleeder screw and tighten.

Check the brake fluid level in the master cylinder reservoir and fill as necessary. Move to the driver's side rear brake and then the passenger side front and perform the same procedure as outlined in Step 2. Fill the master cylinder to the proper level.

Items you will need

  • Floor jack

  • 4 Jack stands

  • Set of line wrenches

  • Drain pan

  • Dot 4 or better brake fluid

 How to Bleed Brakes on a 2000 Ford Explorer

Preparation and Brake Bleeding

Park your 2000 Ford Explorer on flat, level ground. Set the parking brake and securely chock the wheels.

Pull the hood release located on the driver's side kick panel and open the hood by pulling up on the hood latch located above the center of the front grill.

Clean the top of the brake-fluid reservoir and check the fluid level. If the fluid level is low, remove the filler cap and add DOT-approved brake fluid to the appropriate level. During the bleeding procedure, it may be necessary to add additional fluid.

Locate the bleeder screw on the back of the rear-passenger-side brake caliper. Place the clear plastic tube over the end of the bleeder screw. Place the other end of the plastic tube in the clear plastic container. Fill the container with enough brake fluid to fully submerge the end of the tube.

Ask your assistant to pump the brake pedal and then hold the brake pedal down. Use the openended wrench to open the bleeder screw by turning it counterclockwise. Watch the stream of brake fluid as it comes through the plastic tube and note when the brake fluid runs as a smooth stream, free of air bubbles, Close the bleeder screw by turning it clockwise.

Repeat Steps 4 and 5 on the rear driver-side caliper, front passenger-side caliper and front driver-side caliper.

Items you will need

  • DOT-approved brake fluid

  • 1-foot piece of clear 1/4-inch plastic drain tube

  • 1-quart clear plastic container

  • Open-ended wrench

  • Assistant

 How to Bleed the Brakes on a Jeep SUV

Make sure one end of the Jeep is raised (starting with the rear end) and secure on jack stands and the wheels on each side have been removed. If you have been working on the brakes, this should already be done.

Connect a clear rubber tube to the bleeder valve on the right rear brake caliper. Start with this end and side because it is farthest from the master cylinder. Place the tube's other end into a container partially filled with brake fluid.

Open the bleeder valve on the caliper and have an assistant press on the brake pedal inside the Jeep. Look for a mixture of air and fluid to come out of the valve. Once all the air is purged and the fluid runs cleanly from the valve, close the screw and remove the tube.

Repeat the process for all four brakes. Move to the left rear next, followed by the right front and the left front. If you need to, reconnect the Jeep's rear wheels and lower the rear end before raising the front end and removing those wheels.

Check the level of fluid in the master cylinder periodically as you bleed the brakes. If the level drops below the needed fill line, add more fluid. Use fresh fluid, not any that you have bled from the brakes.

Start the Jeep's engine after bleeding all the brakes and press on the brake pedal. You might need to do this repeatedly to seat new brake pads you just installed. Turn off the engine and hold down on the pedal. Bleed the brakes again if the pedal sink within 15 to 20 seconds.

Items you will need

  • Jack stands

  • Lug wrench (to remove the wheels)

  • Clear tube

  • Small container

  • Brake fluid

  • Assistant

  • Vacuum pump (optional)

 How to Bleed Brakes on an Alero

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.

Items you will need

  • Brake fluid

  • Turkey baster

  • Tin can

  • Rags

  • Flashlight

  • Wrench

  • Flexible, clear plastic tubing

  • Clear plastic bottle

  • Piece of lumber

  • Assistant

 How to Bleed the Brakes on a Lexus LX470

Open the engine compartment and prop the hood with the prop rod. Remove the lid from the master brake cylinder by twisting it off. Check the brake fluid level. Add to it as necessary to bring the fluid level to the full mark. Replace the lid on the master cylinder and twist it tightly.

Place a set of wheel chocks in front of the front tires of the Lexus. Raise the rear of the Lexus on the driver side of the vehicle. Loosen the lug nuts with the lug wrench and remove the wheel. Connect the hose to the bleeder valve and place the other end in the drain pan. This will keep the brake fluid from getting on the ground.

Have a helper pump the brakes several times and then hold the pedal down while you open the bleeder valve with a wrench to expel the air in the lines. Repeat the process several times until the air is gone. Replace the wheel on the Lexus and tighten the lug nuts using a lug wrench. Lower the Lexus to the ground.

Check the brake fluid level again and add to it as necessary to bring the level back to the full mark. Move to the rear passenger tire and repeat the process, working until the air is gone from that brake line. Move to the front passenger wheel and repeat the process after you complete the rear passenger tire.

Move to the front driver side last and repeat the procedure. Be sure to check the brake fluid level between bleeding the air from each wheel so that it does not fall below the minimum line.

Items you will need

  • Wheel chocks

  • Automobile jack

  • Lug wrench

  • 3/8-inch hose, 24 inches long

  • Drain pan

  • Brake fluid

  • Wrench set

  • Rags

  • Helper