Shop Press

Shop Press is the news and idea hub for everything related to working on cars and trucks, focusing on repair, technology, and wrenching lifestyle.

From the creative minds at:

FEATURE STORY

Hot Off the Press

Texas nonprofit helps low-income vehicle owners afford auto repairs

At any given time, about 1 in 5 vehicle owners are delaying some sort of auto repair, with the most common reason being that they can’t afford it, according to the Auto Care Association Factbook. All this deferred work adds up to an estimated $31 billion that drivers...

A day in the life of a service writer (VIDEO)

The hardest job in an automotive shop might just be that of the service writer. Taking heat from the boss, the techs, and the customers isn't easy. That the role is for dynamic individuals becomes apparent quickly when considering the tasks that make up the job. Watch...

Serviceability Hall of Shame: Ford Taurus Spring Shields

The Serviceability Hall Of Shame was born from all the times we’ve looked at a vehicle and realized some usually simple task was going to be nightmarish. It is, ultimately, a response and explanation of the inevitable question, “Good Lord, why?!” Today’s entrant isn’t...

January Automotive Horoscopes

Aries: You may not think of some of your repairs as innovative, but a creative fix is a creative fix. Your outlook is out there, and that's OK. Expect to see someone else cribbing your notes but remember to take it as flattery. Not everyone has the same gift of seeing...

It’s totally fine to run your fuel tank down to empty

One of the pieces of automotive wisdom that’s been repeated by publications and mechanics alike for ages is that it’s not good to run a fuel tank below some arbitrary fill point, like a quarter of a tank. At some point, that probably wasn’t bad advice. But today? It’s...

LOF PSA: Don’t forget the lube job

Please forgive me, because I’m about to be a dinosaur and proselytize for a few moments. Many moons ago, I would have customers request an oil change and a lube job. It was so prevalent that the acronym for this, LOF, is still in pretty common use. (That’s “lube, oil,...

Best of Shop Press 2022

Shop Press officially launched in March 2022, at least if you go by the press release. Between then and now, we’ve published well over 100 articles and videos dedicated to auto repair professionals and wrenching enthusiasts. We greatly appreciate everyone who has...

7 low-tech tips to help bleed difficult brakes

by | Dec 6, 2021

Bleeding brakes is one of those jobs most of us know how to do, but when a hard-to-bleed system pops up, experienced techs have a few additional tricks up their sleeves to help get the job done. You can certainly vacuum bleed or power bleed if you have the equipment, but if you do not, here are a few strategies that may be another arrow in your quiver. Don’t pull out your hair over a little bit of air!

Bench bleed first

We probably all do this, but if you aren’t bench bleeding before you install, you should. Driving air out of the system before the master cylinder is bolted in place is easy and effective.

If you have time, try gravity bleeding

In terms of sheer ease, a gravity bleed is about as simple as it gets. Fill the master and reservoir, put the car in the air, and leave the bleeders open until you see fluid arrive. Close the bleeders as you see them begin to pass brake fluid.

Move the calipers

Especially for vehicles with weird bends or bleeders that are not at the highest point on the caliper, simply unbolting the caliper and moving it so the bleeder becomes the high point works wonderfully for pockets of trapped air.

Work front to back

Starting at the master, you can loosen fittings working your way to the rear of the car. Treat each fitting like a bleeder, and you may notice your pedal firms right up simply because you’re not trying to drive the air out nearly so far.

Tap tap tap!

While you’re undercar trying the previous tip, throw this one into the mix, too! Tap those lines and hoses before and during the pressure build. Sometimes the small vibrations can knock clinging air bubbles free.

Leave it overnight

If you’ve got the time and you’ve got some pedal, but it’s not perfect, pump up the brakes, then grab a 2×4 (or something else suitable) to wedge the brake pedal down overnight. There are various theories as to why this works, but it definitely does. Often the rock-hard pedal in the morning doesn’t need further effort on your part at all!

Push from the other side

Sometimes pushing pads back into calipers after a brake fluid drain and fill can get the air bubbles moving in a way fluid pressure can’t, because the pressure is coming from another source internally.

The next time you’re stuck on a hard-to-bleed vehicle, see if one of these methods helps you out. They’re low-tech and high-yield, and just might keep you from getting stuck in a flat-rate time-suck.

Related Articles

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline feedback
View all comments
0
Click to leave a comment!x
()
x

Get Articles In Your Inbox

Subscribe to receive a monthly email summary of our latest Shop Press stories.

Shop Press

Thanks! You're now subscribed.