Replacing Brakes – How to Bleed Brakes

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 256,874
    ASE certified master automobile techinician Richard Cottingham demonstrates how to replace the front brake pads and rotors on a 2004 Chevy Silverado including how to bleed the brakes.

    Richard Cottingham: My name is Richard Cottingham, from Tysons Auto Specialties. Today we are going to show you how to replace the front brake pads and rudders on this Chevy pickup truck. Next we are going to bleed the brakes.

    Alright, next we are going to bleed the brake system, now that we have the pads and rudders and calipers installed back on the vehicle. First thing you want to do is check the fluid level on the reservoir, verify that it's full or has enough fluid in it. And it looks like we got enough fluid in it to do what we need to do, bleeding the brakes and we will check it when we are done and add fluid if necessary.

    So Rolando is going to grab a wrench, 10mm wrench, he is going to open the open the bleeder, he is going to tell me when to push the brake pedal down. I will be in the truck, pushing down on the brake pedal and holding that forward. Alright, what Rolando has done is he has removed the air from that side of the truck, from the caliper. What you want to do is you want to open the bleeder, have somebody push it down, so you open it, tell him to push it down, as they are pushing it down and the fluid starts coming out, close off the bleeder. You will see the air pop or kind of spit at you when it comes out of the brake bleeder. When he quits doing that and it comes out in a smooth flow, you should have all the air out, you want to go around and do that same procedure to each wheel.

    Now we are going to bleed the right side of the vehicle, Rolando is going to open the bleeder, he is going to ask me to push down on the pedal and I am going to push it down but not all the way forward. Down, up, now he has closed the bleeder off and then I will let off the pedal. And now I am going to push down, he is letting the fluid flow out and then I will close it off, close the bleeder and then I am going to let off the pedal, down.

    So now that we have bled the brakes, we are going to check the level in the reservoir. These reservoirs have a maximum and a minimum line on them; fill it up the maximum line, which Rolando is going to do right now. Make sure that you use the proper brake fluid in your car, some are DOT-3, some are DOT-4, it will say so on top of the reservoir. And now you are ready to test drive your vehicle after you put the wheels back on. Alright, now the fluid level is full, we will put the wheels back on and test drive our vehicle. When bleeding your brakes, you should always bleed all four wheels; you should start at the wheel farthest from the master cylinder. In this case you should start at the right rear, bleed the right rear then bleed the left front then bleed the left rear and then bleed the right front, just like we showed you on bleeding the front brakes.

    You probably didn't get air in the rear brakes, but you still want to open it one time, make sure you don't have any air, that way you are going to have a safe hydraulic system and a good brake pedal and wheel to stop. If you have problems stopping after you apply the brakes, you may want to consult a professional to help you get the air out of your brakes. Before driving let's say you don't have an accident.

    When you done bleeding the brakes, pump the brake pedal several times to make sure the pads are in complete contact with the rudder that way when you backup, number one you won't go driving through garage door. Number two, you want to make sure that all the air is out of the system, you want to make sure that the brake pedal was firm, with the engine off it should be a pretty hard brake pedal. Then you want to go out and test drive the vehicle, make sure that you feel comfortable with the way it stops. I personally, when I am driving a customers vehicle with anti-lock brakes which most of them have, I would like to go about 10-15 miles an hour through the parking lots, slam on the brakes and ensure that the anti-lock brake system actually does work. Where you feel the pedal pumping back at you and you hear the anti-lock brake system actuating in and out.

    Now this completes our brake job on our Chevy pickup truck. Should you have any problems, if you don't have a good a brake pedal or you don't feel comfortable with the job you did, certainly contact a professional and get help.