Decisions, Decisions

When choosing brake fluid, you will see several choices. Generally, you should replace your fluid with the DOT rating specified by the manufacturer. If you decide to use a different DOT-rated fluid than what is recommended, the system must be completely flushed. Also, a higher DOT rating does not mean you need to bleed your brakes less often. [source: Comeskey]

Supplies for Bleeding Brakes

Have all your supplies gathered and within reach before you start bleeding your brakes. The job is trying enough without having to stop what you're doing to find a tool. Use this checklist to get you started: [source: Comeskey]

A 10 mm box wrench for disc brakes; 8mm box wrench for drum brakes (Double check to make sure these sizes fit your specific bleeder screws.)

You'll need at least one can of brake fluid if you are just bleeding the lines, up to three for a full replacement. Consider using a fluid that is a different color than what is in the brake line already. This can make it easier to see when the old fluid has been flushed from the system, and you are pulling in the new fluid. [source: Dempsey]

  • Turkey baster (It's useful if you want to clear the master cylinder reservoir of old fluid and any debris.)
  • Clear plastic tubing
  • One can of brake cleaner
  • A car lift or four jack stands
  • A disposable bottle
  • Brake cleaner (for cleaning parts before reseating them)

Depending on which method you decide to use to bleed your brakes, you will need one of the following:

  • An attentive assistant (two person method)
  • Vacuum brake bleeder (one person method)
  • Pressure brake bleeder (one person method)
  • One-way bleeder screws (one person method)

As they say, measure twice, cut once. The same applies for bleeding brakes, so read on to find out how to be properly prepared for the task.