Bleeding Your Own Brakes or Clutch Slave Cylinder

How to bleed hydraulic brake and clutch systems.

Common reasons to need to bleed your brakes;

-If you had to open a brake line for any service
-Replacing master cylinders or calipers

-Flushing the brake fluid
-Replacing lines (needing to open the brake system)

Whatever the reason, it’s not a big deal, and is a common task for auto repair professionals everyday.  With simple diligence, about anybody can do it with a friend or if doing it by yourself, the use of a proper tool.  

First thing to remember when bleeding the system.  You will be running fluid out of the system.  You never want to re-use old brake fluid, so make sure you have plenty of extra fluid.  Those small little bottles are usually not enough.  Get a big bottle.  The main thing to remember, never let the main reservoir run dry.  You will have to start all over again and bleed all corners of the system.  

Now that we know the system needs to be full, let’s go ahead and top it off.  Go ahead and leave the cap off, our level is only going down.  

On each slave cylinder / brake caliper, you have probably noticed a little bolt like thing with an open nipple on the end of it (some may have a rubber cap).  This is our bleeder valve.  It is designed to let the air go to the top.  But in order to get it out, we need to open the valve and get some pressure through it.  In this article, we are going to give you the tutorial with using a friends help.  

First off, you want an open ended 10mm wrench (very few bleeders may have a different size).  Get a small ¼” hose about a foot long, and attach it to the end of the nipple.  Direct this hose into some kind of bottle or drain pan - we will have old fluid coming out of this.  
Next, ask your friend to press the brake pedal a few times until there is pressure, and then hold it down.  While they are doing this, you want to open the brake bleeder with your 10mm wrench about a ½ a turn, or until fluid is coming out.  Before they bring the brake pedal up, you want to then quickly close it after the air and fluid mix comes out.  Check your brake fluid, add more if necessary, and then repeat this step 3 times for each wheel.  If air is still coming out, keep bleeding until you have solid brake fluid.  Make sure every time you are doing this, you don’t let the reservoir run out of fluid.  This will lead to a lot of frustration if you get to the last wheel and you have to do them all over again.  You want absolutely no air in the brake lines.

When you are finished, tighten up the bleeder, and clean everything up.