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

ASE test prep requires more than sample questions (VIDEO)

Description Do you have a study guide to prepare for your ASE exams? Which parts of that study guide do you use the most? Dorman Training Center instructor Pete Meier explains why you need to look at more than the sample question section in the back of the...

The TPMS tool that pays for itself

If you’re a regular Shop Press reader, you’ve met Chris before. (He’s hilariously identified some dash lights and also is better at identifying auto parts by feel than anyone else I know.) I’ve worked here for a while, but his tenure bests mine. The other day we were...

Tapping V6 – ASE practice questions (VIDEO)

Description Two technicians are examining a tapping sound coming from a V6 engine. Technician A says the noise could be caused by a bent pushrod. Technician B says the noise could be caused by escaping exhaust gas. Who is correct?More ASE Practice Questions

Buy once, cry once: Auto parts that are worth the extra cost (VIDEO)

Description We’ve all heard the expression “buy once, cry once,” and for some auto parts, those are words of wisdom. For others, the extra costs are unnecessary, and economical parts can be used instead. It’s up to you to explain the differences to your customers....

The best explanation of a differential is from 1937

The first time I saw this video, I was hooked because I’m natively a bike guy and it starts off with motorcycle stunt riding. But the guys horsing around on those ol’ Harley VLs actually are the producer’s interesting and educational way to visually demonstrate why a...

Rust exhaust hole – ASE practice questions (VIDEO)

Description Which of the following is the most critical result of a rust hole in an exhaust system? A) Escaping exhaust gas B) Failed inspection C) Excessive noise D) High cost of repairMore ASE Practice Questions

Before selling a vehicle, make sure to remove personal data (VIDEO)

Description Smartphones, laptops and computers are normally cleared of all data before selling or discarding to protect personal information. Modern vehicles store all kind of information in their infotainment systems and that means they should be treated with the...

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.

The articles and other content contained on this site may contain links to third party websites. By clicking them, you consent to Dorman’s Website Use Agreement.

Related Articles

Shop Press Comment Policy

Participation in this forum is subject to Dorman’s Website Terms & Conditions. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline feedback
View all comments

Get Articles In Your Inbox

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

Shop Press

I agree to the above privacy statement and T&Cs

Thanks! You're now subscribed.