How Long Does it Take to Bleed Brakes? Exploring the Process

How long does it take to bleed brakes is a common question among automobile enthusiasts, especially those who would like to get their hands dirty. The answer to this question is comprehensively explained in this article.

How Long Does it Take to Bleed Brakes

Read ahead to learn how many minutes bleeding brakes take and every other important information about the procedure. 

How Many Minutes Does It Take To Bleed Brakes?

It takes about 30 to 40 minutes to bleed the brakes of a car. The vehicle has brake lines in each wheel, making four in total. Bleeding each brake may take up to 10 minutes, so bleeding your car’s brake should not take more than 45 minutes.

This is especially true if you use a compatible bleeding kit. However, this figure may depend on a couple of other criteria like your expertise and the available tools. Let’s examine the factors determining how long it takes to bleed brakes under the following headings. 

– Bleeding Brakes Manually

Brake bleeding refers to removing air bubbles from the brake lines, which are pipes and hoses containing the brake fluids. Crafty individuals who know their way around machines and car engines find it easy to bleed their brakes manually without using any tools. 

If you are doing this for the first time, bleeding the brake line on each wheel should take between 10 and 15 minutes. Therefore, the whole process would take about 45 to 50 minutes. As we mentioned earlier, a non-professional bleeding their car brakes with no equipment should not spend more than an hour on it. 

– Bleeding Brakes With a Vacuum Pump

Manual bleeding of your car’s brakes requires you to pump the brake pedal; you or someone assisting will have to press the brake continually. However, with the pump, this is avoided, so it’s easier to bleed your brakes even when you have no one to help you. 

Take note that the pump does not necessarily reduce the time you spend bleeding the brakes. It just streamlines the bleeding process, so you will still spend about 30 to 45 minutes bleeding your brakes. Besides simplifying the process, the pump promotes neatness and ensures that you do not stain your clothes with brake oil. 

– Hiring a Professional Mechanic

It will likely take a mechanic less time, say 20 minutes, to bleed the brake line of all wheels in your car. You might consider contacting them since they are professionals and will help you bleed your brakes completely, leaving almost no air remnant in the brake lines. Often, they use power hoists to lift your vehicle before getting rid of all the air in the brake lines. 

Why Is It Taking a Long Time To Bleed My Brakes?

It is taking a long time to bleed your brakes because of several possible issues such as a damaged caliper, a faulty flex hose, using the wrong bleeding procedure, or an incorrectly placed caliper. Finding the source of the problem should be a priority.

Have you tried bleeding your brakes yourself but discovered it’s not bleeding as it should? Let’s examine some of the main reasons your brake system isn’t bleeding as it used to. They include: 

– Damaged Caliper

Calipers are essential components of the disc brake system as they create friction between the brake motors when applied. With that being said, one of the primary causes of why brake fluids don’t flow well through the braking system is the presence of a faulty caliper. Many car dealerships would avoid replacing a faulty caliper or fixing it with a substandard one. 

– Faulty Flex Hose

The hose is the pipe that carries the brake fluid from the cylinder and fluid reservoir to the brake calipers. Over time, this hose may break, preventing even pressure distribution as you intend to remove the fluid for bleeding. What happens is that the fluid leaks instead.

– Wrong Bleeding Procedure

Another reason your brake is not bleeding may be that your mechanic needs to do it better. Often, car dealers and mechanics try to find the easy way out, which is not always the right approach, especially for sophisticated vehicles. They may even alter some aspects of the car braking system. 

– Incorrectly Placed Caliper

As we mentioned earlier, the brake calipers are essential features of the car braking system. If placed incorrectly, it may affect the entire process. Due to rushing or incompetence, your mechanic may wrongly install the calipers, resulting in leaks along the brake lines and pipes. 

How Do You Quickly Bleed Brakes?

To quickly bleed brakes, you should first prepare the necessary materials, then set up your car and tools for bleeding. Make sure you wear protective equipment before you locate and loosen the bleeder screw. Next, drain the hydraulic fluids and start pumping the brakes.

Below is a step-by-step directive on how to bleed brakes by yourself without needing an expert’s assistance.

1. Prepare and Get the Necessary Materials

To effectively bleed your brakes, you will need the following materials:

  • Bleeder kit
  • Disposable bottle
  • A hoist or car lift or four screw jacks
  • Paper towels
  • Brake cleaner
  • Compatible wrench
  • Mechanic creeper
  • A clear plastic tube, etc


2. Set Up the Car and the Materials for Bleeding

Park your car in an accessible place. If your garage is too small, you may need to take your car to a spacious area like your driveway. Then bring the necessary tools closer and prepare them for the procedure. You should confirm that you have all the essential tools at this stage. 

Ensure that your bleed kit contains the brake-free bleed screw, which is the tool for removing the bleeder screw. The disposable bottle is where you collect the spent brake fluid to prevent; make sure it doesn’t touch you or other car components as it is corrosive. In addition, the car lift or hoist is essential for lifting the car above ground level for easy bleeding of the brake lines. 

Consider using a pump if you have one, as it streamlines the brake bleeding. What’s more? You need to replace brake fluid. Follow your manufacturer or car dealership’s recommendation to get the one that best suits your vehicle. 

3. Wear Protective Equipment

Brake fluid is a corrosive and toxic chemical. Therefore, it is crucial that you shield your body by wearing suitable protective gear such as rubber gloves and an apron. Also, as you drain the fluids, try to clean them up immediately to prevent them from touching your skin or car features. In fact, try to limit its contact with your protective coverings.

4. Locate and Loosen the Bleeder Screw

The bleeder screen is often directly under the brake caliper. At this time, you’d be under the car; you may spread some newspaper on the floor or use a mechanic creeper for more comfort.

With a suitable wrench, carefully loosen the screw, remove the brake pad and insert the bleed block properly. Make sure to carefully do all these as you don’t want the brake fluid to spill out. 

5. Connect the Syringes and Drain the Hydraulic Fluids

Your bleed kit should contain a syringe; attach it to the lever and brake caliper. Then, attempt to transfer the fluid from the caliper to the needle.

Remember that your plastic tube is already connected to your disposable bottle, so join the other end to the bleeder screw so that it can collect the spent fluids and trapped gas bubbles. Leave for some time to allow the hydraulic fluid to drain until it stops.

6. Start Pumping the Brakes

If you are working with a friend, at this time, you should tell them to press the brake pedal continually. You can also do it alone, though it may get messy. As you pump brake, open the bladder screw to allow the contents of the brake line to flow through the hose into your disposable containers. 

Continue pressing the pedal until no more trapped air comes out and you have only oil residues. Now you can remove the hose, knowing you have bled the brake. 

7. Seal Your Bleed Screw

Your assistant can stop pumping the brakes as soon as there is no longer any trapped air in the lines. Now you can close and tighten the screw to prevent air from penetrating again. Remove the syringe and clean any spilled fluid. 

8. Refill the Brake Fluid

If you drained all the brake fluid reservoir, make sure to refill the master cylinder until the fluid level reaches the indicator sign or signifies “full,” depending on your vehicle. 

9. Repeat the Process

Follow the same procedure for the three wheels of your vehicle. At each time, make sure to pump the brakes well until you have no gas bubbles left in the brake lines. Also, ensure that the person pressing the brake does not stop pumping until there is no more air and you have closed the bleeder screw, or else some air will enter the lines before you seal it. 

What Are Tips For Bleeding Car Brakes Quickly?

Some tips for bleeding car brakes quickly include making sure that your car is parked well, not removing the vehicle’s wheels, making sure that the master cylinder reservoir is full, bleeding each brake line after replacing the pads, and having someone help you pump the brakes, among others.

Bleeding your car’s brakes could be more tasking than you bargained for, especially for first-timers. Below are some tips to help simplify the process.

– Confirm That Your Car Is Well Parked

Before starting the procedure, ensure your car is secured to prevent accidents. Remember that you will have to lift the vehicle with your screw jack, so it is essential that your car is in a secure position so that it does not roll off the road. 

– Don’t Remove the Wheels

The car wheels provide more support as you attempt to bleed the brakes. Therefore, it is essential that you do not remove the wheels, lest you risk the car collapsing or even falling on you.

– Make Sure That Master Cylinder Reservoir is Full

Before attempting to bleed any wheel, ensure that the master cylinder contains enough brake fluid unless the procedure takes longer than it ought to take. If the liquid in the master cylinder is not enough and it dries up, you will not only have to bleed the brake lines but also bleed the cylinder.

– Make Sure to Bleed Each Brake Line After Replacing Pads

Try to bleed or change the brake fluids when replacing damaged brake discs or pads. That way, you can multitask and improve your overall car’s performance.

– Maintain Cleanliness

As you bleed each brake line on the car wheels, it is best to clean up instantly. Take note that brake fluid is not like any regular oil; it is corrosive, and if care is not taken, it may damage other components of your car. Also, it is toxic and flammable, so in your best interest, try to clean up the fluid as you drain it. 

– Get Someone to Help You Pump the Brakes

As you attempt to rid the brake lines and pipes of gas bubbles and spent fluids, you need someone to help apply pressure. The other person presses the brake for easy removal. However, you can also bleed your brakes alone.

– Remove the Gas Bubbles by Tapping

Besides pressing the brake or using a vacuum pump, an easy way to rid your vehicle of trapped gasses along the brake lines is to tap the caliper. The next time you plan on bleeding your brakes, try this method — just make sure to tap the caliper gently.

– Prevent the Brake Fluid From Touching the Brake Pads

Remember, we mentioned earlier that the brake fluid is corrosive. With that being said, when it comes in contact with the brake pad, it damages it. Hence, it is vital that you prevent this from occurring. Ensure that the fluid doesn’t touch any car component, as it may diminish the lifespan.

– Make Sure to Use Appropriate Brake Fluid

Using inappropriate brake fluids can damage your car’s master cylinder as well as the brake lines. You may need to contact your car dealership when you plan on bleeding the brakes or read through the car’s user manual.

– Try Out Gravity Bleeding

This process may take longer, but it is as effective and allows you to bleed all the vehicle’s brake lines simultaneously. Like the standard procedure, confirm that the master cylinder is full, then connect each line with a brake hose into the disposable bottles. In this case, you will not be needing to pump the brake pedal as it bleeds seamlessly into the containers. 

Take note that gravity bleeding may take between 40 minutes to about an hour before you completely purge your brake pipes and lines of the gas bubbles.

Why Should You Bleed Your Car’s Brakes?

You should bleed your car’s brakes because not doing so could lead to trapped air in your brake lines, which will then reduce the effectiveness of your car’s system. Another reason for bleeding brakes is to change the old brake fluid in the brake lines.

A couple of reasons may suggest the need to bleed car brakes. The two main reasons include the following: 

  • The failure to remove trapped air in your brake lines will reduce the effectiveness of your car’s hydraulic system, limiting the braking action.
  • You need to change the old brake fluid in the brake lines. Even if your brake pipes are airtight with no gas bubbles lurking, the hydraulic fluid may get contaminated and lose its effectiveness over time. In such a scenario, bleeding the brake is the solution to ensure your car brakes get revitalized.

Moreover, bleeding your car brakes is an excellent way of validating the effectiveness of your car brake system. The brakes are essential for any vehicle, as they help stop your car in turn, which is critical for avoiding accidents.

Here are other reasons you should consider bleeding your car brake system. 

  • Bleeding brakes help improve the performance of your car brake system. Besides removing air, it rids the brake lines of all other contaminants, reducing the risks of brake failure. 
  • It helps improve the lifespan of other parts of the car braking system, such as the brake rotors and the brake pad.
  • Bleeding brakes is an easy yet cost-effective way to ensure that the car braking system is in top-notch condition. 
  • The process helps ensure uniform distribution of the hydraulic druid through the entire brake lines and pipes. So as soon as you press the pedal, you get to compress a suitable amount of fluids, which causes the typical car braking action. 
  • The brakes are an essential part of the car that helps ensure road safety. Therefore, it’s vital to ensure it’s in excellent working condition. So you can have some assurance that even when driving at high speed, your car will stop as soon as you want it to, with less worry of accidents due to brake issues. 
  • During the winter, the car brake fluids may start to freeze, especially when there’s an opening that allows air passage. Therefore, bleeding car brakes can prevent such occurrences since it prevents any opening or leaks in the brake lines and pipes.

– What It Does

For the optimum functioning of your car’s brake hydraulic system, it needs to be free of air bubbles. When pressing the brake pedal, the force evenly transfers to the brake since the brake fluid (oil) won’t compress. But the presence of gas bubbles messes up the hydraulics, causing uneven distribution of the force applied and disrupting the brake system. 

Also, the bubbles may reduce the force transferred to the brake, causing less effect on reducing the vehicle’s speed like the brake will typically do. This may become a critical issue when the gas bubbles in the brake lines are not uniform, as there will also be inconsistent pockets of space free of the brake fluid. Therefore, upon application of force to the brake system, the result is different at every other time. 

If the bubbles are not bled, you will start noticing that you must push down the brakes until it touches the floorboard before stopping your car. In fact, you are at risk of brake failure, as you may need to pump the brakes before the braking system stops the vehicle at will. As you slam on the brakes, you’d notice it requires little to no effort, which is actually what you need to avoid when driving. 

– When To Bleed Brake

Bleeding your car’s brakes is necessary for maintaining the efficiency of the hydraulic brake system. Often, experts recommend bleeding the brakes after traveling 30,000 miles or when you notice symptoms that suggest the brakes need bleeding

You can also add bleeding as part of your routine car maintenance. That way, you don’t wait until you start noticing symptoms of the brake losing its effectiveness or after you cover 30,000 miles. In addition, there are cases where you travel up to 50,000 miles before needing to bleed your brakes, so adding brake bleeding as part of your routine car maintenance is best. 

– How Often To Bleed Brakes

The frequency you bleed your brake system may depend on the last time you bled the brakes. The longer the brake fluid stays in the brake lines, the less efficient it becomes. Most car users wait until they notice symptoms indicating the need to bleed the brakes. The main signs are when the brakes start appearing soft and it takes longer to stop the car. 

If you are using synthetic brake fluid, it may take longer to lose its efficiency, meaning a longer time for you to bleed the brakes. Also, expert mechanics often advise car users to bleed their brakes whenever they change the brake fluid. However, some may tell you that you don’t need to bleed your car brakes that frequently, suggesting you do it annually. Take note that this may also depend on the age of your car. 

As the car ages, most parts start to wear out, including the brake pipes and lines, making it easier for air to penetrate. All in all, the frequency at which you should bleed your car brakes depends on how you use your car and the location. For example, someone who engages in long road trips or frequents a busy road where there’s always traffic, meaning you use your brake more, will have to do it more often. You will probably have to bleed your brakes more than someone who lives in the suburbs and makes short road trips. 

What Are Symptoms That Suggest You Need to Bleed Your Brakes?

The symptoms that suggest you need to bleed your brakes include spongy brakes, delayed braking, leaking, or while repairing the braking system. However, bleeding brakes should be considered part of regular car maintenance as it enhances the driving experience and improves safety on the road.

Therefore, drivers and car owners must ensure that they pay attention to the brakes’ warning signs, indicating the need to be bled. Here are some of the signs and symptoms that suggest you need to bleed your car brakes. 

Spongy Brakes 

This is the main symptom you will notice when you need to bleed your brakes. This happens when after pressing the brake, it appears soft and spongy because you are no longer compressing fluids as gas bubbles have found their way into your brake line.

Spongy brakes are a dangerous problem in any vehicle, and they are an indication of a larger issue. Most significantly, a spongy or soft brake stops you from stopping quickly enough. Spongy brakes might indicate a leak, and a tiny leak can quickly become a huge one with a simple squeeze of the brakes.

– Delayed Braking

Your car starts to take longer than usual to stop. Typically, upon application of the brakes, the car speed should reduce and, in no time, stop. But when you start having to press the brake until it reaches the floorboard before the car stops, or you notice inconsistent deceleration upon pressing the brake, then this is a clear indication you need to bleed the brakes.

– Leaking 

You start noticing oil leakages. If your brake fluid leaks, you have less fluid to compress when you press the brake. Also, it indicates that there’s a passageway that air can penetrate. If you fail to bleed the brakes and rectify the leak, you’d be surprised that you may lose the full function of your car braking system in a short while.  

– Repair of the Braking System

Whenever you repair or do any maintenance involving the brake system such as getting new brake pads or rotors, air will likely find its way into your brake lines or other contaminants during the repairs. Therefore, even if your car brake system does not require bleeding throughout the year, consider asking your mechanic to look into it when you do overall car maintenance. 

Conclusion

This article should provide all the necessary answers regarding bleeding your vehicle’s brakes. With that being said, let’s go over the crucial details we discussed. 

  • Bleeding a brake is easy, taking about 30 to 45 minutes, even for individuals who are not familiar with working on automobiles. 
  • Bleeding brakes helps rid your vehicle’s brake line and pipes of any gas bubbles that may limit the brake system’s performance. 
  • We provided you with a list of symptoms that suggest you need to bleed your car’s brakes; they include leaking of brake fluid, spongy or soft brakes, delayed deceleration, etc. 
  • To ensure a proper brake bleeding operation, we provided you with detailed steps to perform the procedure yourself. 
  • We also provided you with some tips and tricks to ensure you save time when trying to rid your brake lines of trapped gas bubbles. 

Now you are well equipped with knowledge on when you need to bleed your car brakes. Also, if you need to bleed your car’s brake, do not hesitate to review this article again.

Ran When Parked

Leave a Comment