How to Bleed Brakes

Nissan mechanic checking brakes

Brake service is crucial to keeping your car running safely on Boca Raton streets. When you get brake service from the Sheehan Cadillac service department, you’re actually getting a variety of smaller repairs and updates to your brake system. One of those tasks is bleeding the brakes, which removes trapped air from the brake lines. It’s a relatively easy job but can be time-consuming if you don’t have a lot of automotive DIY experience. We recommend you schedule an appointment with our service department when it’s time to bleed your brakes. However, if you’d like to how to bleed your brakes by yourself, we can help! 



How to Bleed Brakes By Yourself 

Pompano Beach drivers who notice that the brake pedal feels soft or spongey are due to bleed their brakes. The feeling comes from the breakdown of brake fluid, or air getting trapped in the brake lines. When you know how to bleed brake lines the trapped air is removed and your brakes will return to having the firm feel they need. Here’s how to bleed brake lines: 

What You’ll Need to Bleed Brake Lines

You’ll need brake fluid (see owner’s manual for the correct type), a box-end wrench, a fluid holder, and tubing, and an assistant to help you. You can also purchase a cheap brake bleeding kit from any auto store that’ll have these items.

Step One 

Park your car on solid, level ground. Jack up the car and remove the wheels. 

Step Two

Find the four caliper bleeding screws and loosen them. Don’t twist hard with the wrench. If the screws don’t loosen by hand, spray the screw with penetrating oil like WD-40 and wait about 30 minutes before trying again. If the screw strips or snaps, don’t go any further. Bring your car to our service center right away. If the screws are fine, tighten them again. Bleeding your brakes is a slow process and you need to bleed one brake at a time; the other three screws need to be tight to avoid air bubbles. 

Step Three 

Check the master cylinder reservoir’s brake fluid level under the hood and make sure your car has the right amount of brake fluid. Leave the master cylinder cap unscrewed but still resting on top of the reservoir. 

Step Four

Most cars need the brake furthest from the reservoir bled first, but check your owner’s manual as some cars are different. Starting with the appropriate tire, secure the end of a piece of clear tubing (about 1/4 inches in diameter) over the first bleeder screw. Put the other end of the tubing into a receptacle such as a plastic bottle. 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. 

Step Five

You’ll need an assistant for this next step. Make sure the car engine is off, and ask your assistant to pump the brake pedal several times until they feel resistance pushing back against the pedal. Tell them to keep pressure on the pedal, then open the bleeder screw a bit. Fluid will move through the tube and the pedal will start dropping closer to the floor. Make sure your assistant continues to apply pressure. Have your helper notify you immediately before the pedal reaches the floor. When they do, close the bleeder screw right away and inspect the fluid level in the master fluid reservoir. You may need to add fresh fluid. 

Step Six

Repeat the previous two steps about five times at the same bleeder screw, or until the fluid stream no longer has any bubbles. 

Step Seven

Repeat steps 4,5, and 6 on the other three bleeder screws in the correct order, starting with the screw further away from the master cylinder and moving to the one closest to it. 

Step Eight

After you’ve finished bleeding your brakes, have your helper apply the brakes, then quickly release the pedal. While they do that, watch the fluid in the master cylinder reservoir. If the fluid is bubbling significantly, there’s still air in the system and you’re not quite done. If the fluid is moving only slightly, you’ve bled the brakes fully. 

Step Nine

Tighten each of the bleeder screws. Don’t use all of your strength — just apply enough pressure to make sure they’re secure. Put the wheels back on the car and lower it from the jack. 

Find Out More About Brake Health with Sheehan Cadillac

Now that you know how to bleed brakes by yourself, you might be inclined to learn more DIY service tasks you can handle in your Fort Lauderdale driveway. Pay a visit to the service tips at Sheehan Cadillac, where we’re always updating with articles about car maintenance and service. 


More from Sheehan Cadillac

  • 2024 Cadillac XT4 Towing Capacity

    The new Cadillac XT4 is an SUV that gives you the power you’re looking for near Boca Raton. Even though it’s a compact model, the 2024 Cadillac XT4 towing capacity is surprisingly robust. How much can a Cadillac XT4 tow? It can get an impressive 3,500 pounds of towing capacity when properly equipped. What can a…

  • 2023 Cadillac Escalade MPG

      The 2023 Cadillac Escalade is a strikingly beautiful force to be reckoned with on Boca Raton roads. The full-size luxury SUV dons an alluring exterior and a huge and cozy interior packed with top-of-the-line infotainment features. But what about the 2023 Cadillac Escalade mpg? Will this luxury tank of a vehicle save you on the…

  • 2024 Cadillac XT5 MPG

      The Cadillac brand is synonymous with luxury, so if you want a luxurious midsize SUV, you can’t go wrong with a new Cadillac XT5. The 2024 Cadillac XT5 is offered with two engine options and a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive so you’re sure to find the powertrain and drivetrain combination best…

Get Directions

5101 North Federal Highway 5101 North Federal Highway, Pompano Beach, FL, 33064

Contact Us

Main (954) 426-1800 Sales (954) 871-2426 Service (954) 300-3008
5101 North Federal Highway 5101 North Federal Highway
Pompano Beach, FL 33064
Sheehan Cadillac 26.2946, -80.0951.