Every driver fears the feeling of soft breaks, as this is a sign that some major and time-consuming work needs to be done on your car.
When a driver first notices this problem, their first instinct is to change the brake pads. This can solve the problem in some cases, and it’s a pretty good idea to regularly change your brake pads anyways.
But what if you have noticed that, even after changing your brake pads, you still need to press the brake pedal to the floor to stop?
they’re two major signs that air has found its way into the braking system. The first is the break feeling spongy. The second is finding it very hard to feel when the breaks begin to bite.
Having air in the braking system is a common problem with cars, especially if you have been using it for a long time.
The only thing you can do in this situation to make your car safe to drive again is to change the brake fluid.
This can be done by a mechanic, but if you want to save some money it can also be done yourself. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to change your brake fluid as easily as possible.
How To Change Your Brake Fluid?
You Will Need:
- Box-end wrench
- Brake fluid (check the vehicle manual to see what’s right for your car
- 14-inch-diameter clear tubing
- Fluid holder (a bottle will do)
- Check The Manual
Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to identify the type of brake fluid to use. (It’s also good to know how often the manufacturer advises replacing it.)
There’re several types of brake fluid, and not only do they not mix well with each other, but can also damage your car if you use the wrong one.
Before beginning work on the brakes, you should visit an auto parts store or the dealer’s parts department to acquire the right fluid.
You will not spend much on premium brake fluid, and you will likely need two or three 12-ounce cans to bleed the system.
- Raise The Car
Jack up the car on firm, level ground (eg a driveway or garage floor) and support it with four jack stands positioned at the jacking stands specified in the owner’s manual. You also support it with cinder blocks.
Because the process of bleeding brakes requires you to crawl partially beneath the car at times, it’s vital that when the vehicle is elevated it’s properly supported on secure ground.
Once this is done, remove all the tires.
- Loosen The Bleed Screws
Find each of the four bleed screws for the caliper. The bleeding screws on drum brakes and disc brakes are similar so you should have no issue finding them.
With a wrench, try to gently loosen them, but if they don’t give, then don’t apply too much force.
Instead, try spraying them with penetrating oil, allowing it to soak in for half an hour, and then attempting to remove them again.
If they become stripped or snap off, you must immediately stop the vehicle, take it to a repair shop, and let a certified professional handle the situation.
You will bleed one brake at a time, and the other screws must be tightened to prevent air from entering the system while you bleed the brakes. Once each bleed screw has been loosened, tighten it back up.
- Open The Hood And Check Fluid Levels
Open the hood of the car and inspect the brake master cylinder reservoir’s fluid level. Your vehicle’s owner’s manual will likely tell you its location.
If the fluid level has fallen below the “full” line displayed on the clear reservoir, you must add some more. Check to ensure that your car has the right fluids (see step 1).
During the process of bleeding the brakes, the master cylinder’s cap should remain unscrewed.
it’s essential to bleed each brake in the correct order. In most instances, the brake that is placed farthest from the master cylinder is the first to be bled, while specific autos need a different sequence.
This information is available in the vehicle’s owner’s manual or through the service department of your local dealership.
- Add The Tubing
Secure one end of a length of 14-inch-diameter clear tubing to the end of the bleeder screw of the first brake you will bleed, and place the other end in a catch container.
A beer can or plastic soda bottle will suffice.
Ensure that the length of the tubing is adequate to hang the catch container above the height of the bleeder screw. This will prevent any trapped air in the tube from entering the caliper.
- Get Your Friend
Now is the moment to enlist your friend in this task. When the vehicle’s engine is switched off, tell your friend to repeatedly press the brake pedal until they detect constant resistance underfoot.
When the assistant has a solid pedal, they should shout “Pressure!” Tell them to maintain a firm foothold on the pedal.
- Open The Screw A Bit
Slightly loosen the bleeder screw while your friend maintains pedal pressure. The clear tube will begin to fill with fluid, and the pedal will begin to go down. Make sure your friend keeps pushing on the pedal.
- Close The Screw
Your friend must shout “floor!” or “down!” right before the pedal contacts the ground. As soon as you hear this, immediately tighten the bleeder control screw.
Now check the fluid level in the master cylinder reservoir, and if required, add brake fluid to maintain the correct level.
- Rinse And Repeat
Repeat steps six through eight at least five times at this wheel position until the fluid stream passing through the clear tubing is free of air bubbles.
Now, repeat steps six through nine at each of the other three break locations. This typically means beginning with the wheel that is farthest from the master cylinder, then moving to the next-closest wheel, and so on.
- Press Brakes Hard
After completing the above steps, apply maximum power to the brake pedal before abruptly releasing it. This will guarantee that the brakes are bled correctly.
Examine the fluid circulation within the reservoir of the master cylinder.
There will still be air bubbles trapped within the system in the case of a considerable fluid outflow. To eliminate this air, you will need to repeat the bleeding procedure.
However, a tiny disturbance in the fluid shows that the brake system has been properly bled.
- Double Check Everything
Verify that all bleeder screws are securely in place. Before reattaching the car’s wheels, be sure to apply moderate force but not all of your might when tightening them or they may break.
By following the above steps, you should be able to successfully change the brake fluid in your car and hopefully solve your spongy brake problem. Good Luck!