How to do a Complete Brake Flush and Bleed

How to do a Complete Brake Flush and Bleed

Hey guys ChrisFix here today I’m gonna show you how to flush your brake fluid I’m putting brand new calipers on my truck because the old ones are going bad They’re leaking and I don’t want to flush the old brake fluid into the brand new calipers So I’m gonna flush the whole system with dot 3 brake fluid before I change out the brake calipers the other thing is this fluid Hasn’t been flushed for probably since the truck was brand new and this is a 2001 Mazda B 3000 Ford Ranger so in reality it should really be flushed anyway Brake fluid should be flushed every two to three years because its hygroscopic Meaning it likes to absorb water the problem with water in the brake fluid Is when water gets in here water has a really low boiling point? Compared to brake fluid brake fluid the boiling point could be four hundred degrees, but water boiling point is 212 degrees Fahrenheit So it’s not very high and the brakes get hot and they could easily exceed 200 degrees Fahrenheit so if that happens And you have a lot of water in your brake fluid the water will vaporize it will evaporate it’ll boil Creating a void when you press on the brake that void is compressible So it’ll feel like you don’t have any brakes which is bad Not only will it feel like you don’t have any brakes you won’t have any brakes I’ll explain more about brake fluid and how water gets in and all that stuff in another video some people say oh You use dot 4 instead of dot 3 I’ll explain all that in another video It goes in-depth if you want to see that video the link will be in the description below but for this video We’re focusing on how to bleed the brakes Now there are two methods to use to bleed the brakes the first method is the two person method This is the most common method You need yourself and a buddy the buddy presses on the brakes you open the bleeder valve close the bleeder valve And that’s the most common way to do it and I’ll also show you the one-person method So you could do the job yourself so to do this job You need an open-ended Wrench check your owners manual for the brake fluid your car uses and if you want to use the one-person method you need some type of Small bottle like this and the hose that fits over the bleeder valve I’ll put a link in the description to a quick video on how to make a one-person bleeder It’s really fast and easy to do the other thing that is optional but it’s really helpful is if you have a turkey baster because the first thing we’re gonna do is remove as much brake fluid as We can out of the master cylinder You want to make sure you clean your master cylinder with a paper towel before you open up the cap make sure the cap is Cleaned off too, you don’t want any contaminants getting in? With that cleaned off we’ll open it up set the cap aside now. We have our can here I’m gonna suck out as much fluid as I can And put it right in here The reason why I want to do this first is cause when you’re flushing your brakes the brake fluid is coming from the reservoir then We’re pulling new clean fluid through the brake lines instead of the old dirty fluid and speaking of old dirty fluid look how dirty this Is new Brake fluid is gonna be clear and that’s practically black If you spill any brake fluid you want to immediately clean it up. Brake fluid is very caustic It’ll eat through paint. It’ll cause corrosion on metal. You really don’t want brake fluid touching anything Okay, so you don’t want to go too low on the master cylinder because you don’t want to get air in through the Master cylinder? So this is a pretty good amount taken out of the master cylinder You can see there’s still fluid in the master cylinder to prevent it from running dry so don’t get air into the system now I have my new brake fluid never buy this in bulk and always use it right away This doesn’t really store on the shelf very well. I’m gonna fill the master cylinder with the new fluid I’m gonna overfill it cuz when I bleed the brakes we’re gonna lose a lot of fluid as it bleeds out of each brake Make sure you always cap this right away. I try to get a seal on this and then we’ll cap this as well Now I poured that fluid nice and smoothly So hopefully the new fluid stays near the top and the old fluid stays near the bottom The good thing about emptying master cylinder first is now you have some brake fluid that you could use to prevent Air bubbles from getting in So just put your tube on here screw that in and Make sure that tube goes all the way down to the bottom so now any air bubbles that come out will get forced into the air up here and Any sucking back will be sucking back brake fluid I know it’s old brake fluid but it’s gonna get pushed out anyway So it’s not a big deal When you’re doing this I like to follow the rule that you’re supposed to do the farthest wheel From the master cylinder first and then go in order so the second furthest 3rd Farthest and fourth Furthest so in this case It’s going to go passenger side rear driver’s side rear passenger side front driver’s side front so we’re going to start at the passenger side rear that’s the furthest away the abs system sometimes makes it weird because if the abs System is in the rear then your furthest brake line is sometimes are the front ones But in general start from the rear move to the front the bleeder valve on drum Brakes is located usually at the top You look for the brake line that comes in and then it’s this little valve right here And you could use a wrench over the bleeder valve to open and close it, so this is the passenger rear the first method I’m going to show you is the two-person method with the two-person method All you need is a wrench in another person one person presses on the brake and the other one opens and closes the bleeder valve To bleed the brakes you really don’t need to remove the wheels I’m just doing it so I could easily show you guys and get in there and and have good camera Angles But if you really want to you could keep the wheels on so with the two-person method move the Wrench counterclockwise to open the Bleeder valve press the Brakes And I’m gonna close it Ok so I’m just telling the person to press the brakes and they’re gonna press down and I’m gonna open this press the brakes And I’m gonna close it Ok and when I say ok they can let go So we’re at the master cylinder, and you can see the brake fluid went down, but not a lot It’s only a little below the max so let’s continue flushing the brakes Make sure you check the master cylinder fluid about every 10 times you press the brake because you don’t want to run dry so now I’m going to add more brake fluid since we’ve been pressing them for a little bit now and While adding this fluid we can see that there’s no more old brake fluid left in the Master cylinder press the Brakes Ok press the brakes Ok as you can see this brake fluid is as clear as the new brake fluid we put in so that means this brake line Is flushed check out the difference between the brake fluid before? We did the flush press the brakes? So now that we’re done with this brake line I won’t tell the other person ok until I tighten the bleeder valve all the way and it’s closed after it’s closed They can let their foot off the brake you should also have them check to make sure the brake pedal is firm which indicates you Have no air in the system ok you can see this fluid is super clear, and I got a bunch of fluid out Let’s move on to the next one since we’re gonna bleed a new brake. Let’s add some more fluid Close that up Now let’s go to the driver side rear brake and I’ll show you how to use the one person method for the one person method You’ll be doing this on your own So you want to prevent air from getting in while you’re pressing the brake to do that we use our bottle system here We want to fill it up with some brake fluid and then have the hose beneath that brake fluid So if it sucks anything up its sucking a brake fluid not air We want this hose to go above our bleeder valve. You’d see our bleeder valve is here Just slide that over Make sure that zip tie is really tight around that nipple Here’s where the brake cylinder is with the bleeder valve And you can see it goes up because air travels upwards through the liquid it won’t get sucked back down It’ll be up there and forced out so now I’m just gonna crack this open a little bit more There you go, you can see brig fluid and air just came out So now I’m gonna go and press the brakes as I press the brakes watch your brake fluid Force the air out of the Tube You can see the bottle of brake fluid bubbling yet. No air flows back into the brake cylinder I’m just pressing the brakes to the floor smoothly and then letting off the brakes and then repeating I’ll fast-forward this and you’ll notice how The brake fluid goes from Dark to clear indicating the fluid has been flushed. Also notice… It doesn’t take as long as the first brake this is ’cause the one person method is faster, and because with the first brake you flushed all the remaining old fluid out of the Master Cylinder so now we’re just flushing the old fluid out of the brake line only so I just came out to check to make sure there’s No bubbles in the clear Tube. It’s actually getting a lot clearer. You can see that’s what it was before This is after so this is working great by myself now I’m gonna go and check the master cylinder, okay, the master cylinder is low It’s at this line down here, so I’m going to add more fluid We’ve used almost half of this which means that we’re almost halfway done This is 32 ounces almost 1 liter, and that’ll be just enough to get this brake flush done Let’s finish up on the driver’s side rear and move to the passenger side front brakes you can see that There are no air bubbles in the brake fluid by the bleeder valve which means that you can tighten it up And you won’t have to worry about any air in your brake system before we move on the one person bleeder is pretty much full So I’m gonna empty it a little more than halfway So now we’re going to the passenger side front brake on this car the front brakes are disc brakes It’s gonna be bled the same exact way. Here’s the bleeder valve It’s at the top you is Loosen It same exact thing so it doesn’t matter if you have drum breaks or if you have disc breaks the bleeding process is the same so now I just Bled this you don’t need to see it. It’s off-camera I’m gonna do the driver’s side And you’ll see that one just so you can see what it’s like to do disc brakes even though it’s the same but you don’t need to see this so I finished the Passenger front disc brakes let’s move to the driver front put a last break bleeding So we’re doing the same process as we’ve been doing get your clear hose slide it on there, just like that and then slide down your Zip tie so it looks exactly like that The brake Line still goes above the Bleeder valve to let air out So I’m going to just crack this open Now I’m Gonna go press on the brakes So if nothing is coming out like in this situation What I’m gonna do is I’m gonna unscrew this the whole way be prepared because break foods probably gonna come out put a bucket underneath just in case We get a lot of Brake fluid The reason why the brake fluid doesn’t come out of here is because it’s clogged. So we’re gonna unclog it So now is a good time to get a tool that has a pic on the end or a toothpick or something ready? Brake fluid is gonna start coming out and you can see there’s all rust and contaminants in here the actual Bleeder valve Has a hole in it, and that holes right there There you go you can see that thing was rusted shut In reality you should replace your bleeder valve like this if it’s like this, but I’m replacing the whole caliper I’m just trying to bleed all the contaminated fluid out first, so this isn’t a big deal But if I were you, and this is the situation, and you weren’t replacing the brake calipers I would totally get a new bleeder valve because this could just rust up again You’re getting your brake fluid contaminated And it’s just gonna cause you problems and eventually if this is rusting it’s Gonna just snap on you They asked me how I know about that. We got the whole working again got all that rust out Let’s see if it’ll work now all we’re gonna. Do is just close this up? And get our clear plastic hose back on this plus this time hopefully this will work now I’m Gonna go check by pressing on the brake oh man look at all that rust That is disgusting brake fluid thank God. We’re doing this that is all rusty brake fluid So we’re right here. We want to check our master cylinder, and you can see it’s low, so we want to fill it up Very fluid in there looks really clear compared to before and that is great Just gonna bleed this out a little bit more and then call it a day Fluid running pretty clear right now. That’s good. So now I’m gonna tighten this Good the brake pedal is nice and hard. I’m gonna remove this So there’s our finished product you got about one and a half of these Which is exactly a liter or 32 ounces. There’s gonna be just enough to fill this back up With brand new fluid so let’s do that now and we want to fill this to the correct level now because we’re done good that’s the correct level right to the max line, and we’ll make sure the cap is sealed on nice and tight and we Have brake fluid that is good for two to three years So that’s how you flush your own brake fluid hopefully this video was helpful If it was give it a thumbs up if you’re not a subscriber consider subscribing, I publish How-to videos weekly And I answer all the questions and comments you guys leave in the comment section below on the screen You’re gonna see a bunch of brake related videos the links to these videos on the screen are in the description as well also in Description below are going to be the links to my Chrisfix Facebook and Twitter pages if you use Facebook or Twitter go check it out I just drained out all the brake fluid and look at all that all the little pieces of metal and everything all the grit I’m glad we did that that was definitely something that needed to get done

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. You didn’t mention putting a brick underneath the brake pedal and I overextended the slave cylinders on the rear drum brakes. The spring shot out like it was fired from a gun

  2. You rock man. I just bought a brand new car and it’s front wheel drive…. but I’m thinking of buying a beater I can work on just to keep miles low on the new car, because I feel so much more confident in my ability to fix mini problems myself. Thanks for the great content!

  3. Thank you so much Chris. You have taught me how to change my brakes, bleed the brake lines, drums and so much more. Thanks for saving me money. Your a friend and we don't even know each other. Thanks again Chris. ❤️😁

  4. Holy crap this worked! (05 Silverado)

    Only note, my rear drum bleeders were too small for the tubing in the other video to create a one person bleeder but this worked flawlessly on the front. Thank you Chris!
    (edit: truck model)

  5. Thank you for your videos! Been wanting to learn how to fix my car myself to avoid being overcharged and these have been a great help! 😀

  6. You never ended up making an "everything you need to know (to get up to speed) about brakes and brake fluids" video

  7. My mate told me you need to do each brake at the same time, is this true? Or can you do one at a time, like in the video?

  8. Chris, as always, your videos are thorough with tips that really make the job go well. This one is no exception – helpful and thorough. Thank you.

  9. And here I am thinking those were grease nipples on the calipers. I was wondering why no grease was going in.

  10. Nobody says to change brake fluid every 2-3 years. This is the first thing I've ever heard you say That I've had a problem with

  11. What happens if i only do suck out fluid and refill. (don’t want to open valve.) And then repeat this thing two or three times. So i mean not complete flush only some clean fluid goes in and some dirty fluid goes out system. Is it ok? Will be any problem with this method?

  12. Just tried to flush my brakes today, but the bleeder valve would not budge. Tried WD-40, but no change. What would you suggest to loosen it to the point I can flush it?

  13. I prefer my pressure bleeder, basically a homemade Motive clone but way better and a hell of a lot cheaper. Also my catch can is a square plastic container like what nuts come in so it never falls over.

  14. Hey Chris, I was all set, made the self bleeder and began on the rear right caliper to bleed. (2009 Altima) The brake pedal got super hard after two pumps and no matter whether I opened or closed the bleeder screw, could not get any more pumps/play on the pedal? Am I doing something wrong or is there an extra step to a 2009 Altima? I was looking at the Haynes repair manual and it states that you should disconnect the battery and the actuator that is connected to the firewall? Is this really necessary and is that the difference?

  15. Does this method apply to brakes with ABS?in my case i have 2002highlander 2wd but service manual says to use TST scan tool to bleed system. Your input is appreciated

  16. I use a one way valve on the tube that I bought on Amazon. Worked so well bleeding the brakes on my 1984 Honda Shadow. No need for anyone else. As always, great vids.

  17. Thanks Chris your videos are very good love them. Have a question about plug wire's? I just got a barn find 97 b4000 only 91000 miles car fax checks out only driven a few hundred miles the last 5 or so years I want to change the spark plugs it has the original moterkraft init it starts up fine but there 22 years old can only get one off the wires are seized on any idea how to get them off? I am aware I am going to have to replace the wires? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for any input.

  18. I know this is an old video, but I haven't seen DOT 3 brake fluid here in the UK for at least 10 years. Doubt many cars use that grade any more

  19. "new brake fluid is supposed to be clear and that is practically black"…Oh shoot, i thought it was supposed to be black! Guess its time for a flush.

  20. Hey Chris can a loud groaning noise coming from the brake master cylinder when I press the brakes mean it needs replaced? I just changed all my rotors, calipers, and pads and now my cylinder makes a groaning noise and goes to the floor with mild resistance.

  21. I did this; for some reason it did not work out. Do you guys think its my master cylinder that needs to be changed or maybe a leak in the break lines?

  22. @ChrisFix , I hope you reply… I was wondering, if I made 4 of those bleeders can I do all 4 brakes at once?? Or do you have to do one at a time?

  23. 06 Chevy just redone rear brake lines and now no fluid will flow to the rear- drips come out the abs module though but nothing to the rear cylinders

  24. If when you flush your brake fluid you install all new pads then fill the master cylinder to the fill line you will have an easy way to check your pad wear. Just by looking at the fluid level in the master cylinder resivour,

  25. Would your brakes squeak if they needed fluid? Like, my rear brakes squeak, but only in the last moment when you're releasing them. For example, you're at a red light just turned green and you release the brakes and step on the gas.

  26. He waited 15 years for that fluid to get nasty, so he could make this informative video for us. He probably went to work at 2am when you don’t really even “ need “ good brakes.

  27. Thank you, Chris.
    The only thing I want to mention – don't use wrench open end on bleeder screw. Easiest way to strip bleeder hex and then be forced to replace it. Use closed end. It's a bit more awkward as wrench has to stay on the screw but safe on bleeder.

  28. I flushed the brake fluid in my van after watching this video. I just bought a one-man brake bleeder at the parts store. This was remarkably painless. The old brake fluid looked like Coke. The new brake fluid is clear. And now my brakes are more consistent!

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