Car maintenance has an aura of complexity and difficulty that prevents a lot of people from performing their own automobile upkeep. But this can suck cash right out of your wallet, especially when it comes to something simple like bleeding your brakes or finding the best brake dust cleaner.
The truth is that almost everyone will have to bleed their brakes at one point or another. But this simple procedure doesn’t require you to take a trip down to your local expensive auto repair shop. You can bleed your own brakes and get your braking system feeling snappy and responsive, as well as safe, in no time. There are bleeding kits that are easy to use and affordable, too.
But what if you don’t know which brake bleeding kit to get? That’s where this guide comes in! We’ll show you the best brake bleeding kits you can find online, plus give you plenty of tips so you can get started right away. Let’s get into it!
Anyone who uses their vehicle frequently probably knows how their brakes feel to their feet. Are your brakes firm and snappy, or spongy and bouncy? If it’s the latter, you probably need to pay attention to those instruments that ensure that you can drive around safely and stop on a dime. Good brakes aren’t just a luxury; they’re a necessity for safe driving.
If your brakes feel spongy or bouncy, it’s probably because there are trapped air bubbles inside your braking system. These air bubbles are causing your brake pad to bounce back when you put your foot down and can lead to subpar brake performance and make driving much riskier.
This is a distinct problem and separate from needing your brake pads replaced, which is a condition where your brakes have simply been worn down over a lot of use.
If left unchecked, air bubbles inside your braking system can cause serious problems and lead to accidents or injury. Anytime your brakes start to feel bouncy or spongy, you need to consider bleeding your brakes. In addition, you should bleed your brakes every time you put new braking fluid in to ensure that the system is sealed and isn’t inundated with a bunch of bubbles.
In fact, any time that your brake fluid is exposed to the air, like when you remove the cap of the reservoir, you should bleed your brakes just to make sure that no excess air has sunk into the system. A good rule of thumb is to fully flush your braking system and replace your braking fluid with new, high-quality stuff every year. After all, like with coolant or antifreeze, you should only use the best stuff for your car.
Thankfully, bleeding your brakes is much easier than you might think and you don’t need to spend a ton of money at the automotive shop to perform this simple procedure. You can use your own brake bleeder kit and take care of this issue yourself for much less money.
This is a manual or pump-type brake bleeder kit. It has everything you need to bleed your brakes right away except for a pressure gauge, which is an unfortunate oversight.
However, it does have an advantage in that it is fitted with a universal adapter that can work with virtually all kinds of motor vehicles. There’s a tapered spout at the end of the hose that prevents air from leaking while the brake bleeding is in process. This high amount of versatility makes it a worthy pick for anyone on a budget despite its lack of a pressure gauge.
The hose is a decent length, as well, measuring in at about 80 cm. The bottle has a capacity of 500 mL, which isn’t super high but it’s enough for many smaller cars that don’t have super dense brake fluid systems. Overall, this is a workable starting option for beginners, but remember that you’ll need a friend to use this properly.
This brake bleeder kit is a vacuum pump type, with a pistol pump made of zinc alloy diecast metal. This gives it exceptional durability, and it can withstand a lot of pressure without faltering.
It comes with a pressure gauge that is fitted directly to the top of the pistol. This is ideally positioned for you to check on the pressure as you bleed your brakes without having to adjust your head. The gauges graduated in both inches and centimeters for easy reading.
This kit also comes with a handy carrying case that has all of the spare parts and miniature components and pieces so everything can be stored carefully. Although the asking price is a little high compared to budget options, this long-lasting vacuum pump kit is ideally suited for solo workers or those who’d prefer to take care of this task without having to rely on a buddy.
This vacuum brake bleeder kit comes with 16 pieces in total and a carrying case for easy storage and convenient transportation. It comes with a vacuum gauge located at the top of the pistol pump with an ideal range of 0-30 Hg. The gauge is made of pressure-proof stalinite, so it continues working even under high pressure.
While it doesn’t come with a universal adapter, this kit does have several separate adapters that can work on most makes and models of vehicles. The hose is fairly long, and there are two extra connection hoses that you can use to extend its overall length or help you reach tricky reservoir caps.
Overall, this is an affordable and versatile kit that can be enjoyed by beginners and experienced automobile owners alike.
This brake bleeder kit is suitable for most late-model GM cars and trucks. This gives it a wide range of acceptable vehicles, but it’s not universal like some of the other kits we looked at thus far.
It has a built-in hand pump and doesn’t require any other pressure to help you bleed your brakes. This fact makes it a great choice for those who want to bleed their brakes without the assistance of another person.
It’s also equipped with a pressure gauge that latched right onto the front of the main reservoir unit. The reservoir materials and hose materials are also corrosion resistant to help this kit last for a long time to come so long as you maintain it well and clean it after every use.
This brake bleeder kit is made to be used with the manual or pump method of bleeding, which we go into further in our guide. It has an exceptionally long and flexible hose that can fit over most bleeder valves without allowing unwanted air to enter the system as you bleed and pump the brakes.
It also has a magnet for easy storage on a refrigerator or other surfaces in your garage. A pressure check valve is included so you can monitor the progress of your bleeding efforts without having to guess.
The materials used for the generous reservoir and the hose are durable and thick. Overall, this is an affordable, simple brake bleeder kit that will appeal to those who don’t want to deal with kits with tons of smaller pieces.
This vacuum brake bleeder kit has an integrated silencer with the pistol pump. This makes it a much quieter affair to bleed your brakes then you might anticipate. This might be a great choice if you have a cramped garage that echoes painfully when you do mechanical work.
It has a silicone hose with a universal rubber adapter. The silicone material ensures that the hose isn’t going to fall apart or degrade even after a long period of use. In addition, the universal adapter means that you can use this brake bleeder kit with almost any vehicle.
It has a generous reservoir and a sleek aesthetic. You will need a separate pressure gauge, unfortunately, as one is not included with this kit. Although it costs more than most other brake bleeder kits, this is definitely what you should go for if you want high-quality above all else.
This hand pump brake bleeder kit is specially adapted for European vehicles. It comes with a special adapter designed to fit all cars with 45 mm threaded hydraulic fluid reservoir caps. It’ll also fit some GM clutches although it’s not specifically designed for these vehicles.
It’s made of corrosion-proof materials to ensure that the kit lasts even after lots of use. It uses a hand pump that provides all the pressure you need to bleed your brakes in a one-man operation. A 2-quart tank offers plenty of space to fill with braking fluid. It also has an integrated pressure gauge right on the front for easy checking.
Overall, this is very similar to the other Motive Product kit that we looked at, but it’s designed for different vehicles. Purchase this product if you have a European car or a braking system that fits the above specifications.
This vacuum brake bleeder kit has a generous reservoir capacity of 1.8 liters. It can use compressed air to bleed up to 2 quarts of brake fluid per minute at its maximum speed; it’s an ideal choice for those who want to get their brake bleeding job done quickly or for vehicles which have lots of brake fluid in their systems.
It has several different adapters for use with various vehicle makes and models, plus a stable base to maintain the positioning of the vacuum as it’s being used. The purchase also comes with some extra hooks so you can store the various accessories and adapters easily.
This kit costs quite a lot when compared to other brake bleeder kits on our list. But it’s well worth it if you need a lot of power brought to bear on your vehicle’s braking system.
This brake bleeder kit is a pressure type and has seven master cylinder adapters that allow you to connect the kit to most vehicles on the market, and even many types of light trucks. It has an exceptionally large fluid capacity, measuring in at about 5 liters, and can provide plenty of pressure anyway: about 20 lbs per square inch.
All of the internal pump components have been designed to remain sealed even under intense pressure, so there’s no threat of leaking as you bleed your brakes. Your purchase also includes a convenient carrying case you can keep track of the various components and store them effectively. A hook for keeping your favorite adapters is included, as well.
The only major thing it lacks is a pressure gauge, unfortunately. That being said, it’s still excellent in terms of value for money, considering how many different types of vehicles that can service effectively.
This reverse brake bleeder kit is perfect for a one-man job. It fits all makes and models so you can rest assured that this kit will work with your vehicle unless it’s one of the rarest models out there. It’s efficient enough to allow you to bleed your brakes entirely in about 15 minutes.
It has all the fittings and adapters you need, plus several hoses of varying lengths to ensure that you can get the work done in a comfortable position. Its patented design makes it one of the most effective brake bleeder kits you can buy in terms of sheer thoroughness and complete removal of air bubbles.
While it lacks a pressure gauge, it’s affordable asking price is a great choice for those who would rather bleed their brakes without assistance.
There are few brake bleeder kits with as much versatility and value as the Power Probe Master kit. It includes a whopping 12 different adaptors for fitting to all sorts of makes and models of vehicle. These adaptors virtually guarantee that you’ll be able to use this kit with your car.
All of the adaptors come with aluminum and cast-iron bodies. These materials ensure that the adaptors won’t rust easily or wear-and-tear after only a few uses. They’ll last for a long time and are all color-coded to make identifying them easier; there’s no need to guess which one will fit your car.
An anodized finish on each adaptor protects them from rust damage even further. There are expandable O-rings on each adaptor that keep the seal of brake fluid from your car to the hose tight. Fewer leaks mean fewer messes and a faster job for you.
In addition, the kit includes a 90 degree male hose coupling that can fit with most brake bleeders. A carrying kit with handles completes the package and gives you an easy storage option.
The only real downside to this kit is its high asking price, but when you get so much value in one case it’s hard to argue. We’d recommend this kit for anyone with the cash to spare and the desire for one of the best car brake bleeder systems around.
While you are browsing stores or checking out our top picks above, keep these considerations in mind. Remembering these factors can help you choose the best brake bleeder kit for your needs and help you separate mediocre products from excellent ones.
The pump pistol is the primary component of any brake bleeder kit. As you might guess from the name, the pump pistol supplies the pumping action of the entire kit. It includes an air reservoir, where the vacuum you make will rest as you pump the kit. The fluid is collected in the air reservoir as you bleed the brakes.
There’s plenty of types with variable pumps, but you should try to find one that can pump up to 25 inches to Hg at minimum. This will provide an adequate amount of suction and help you bleed out bubbles from your vehicles braking system more efficiently.
The vacuum, as described above, is also quite important. The vacuum is necessary to create the suction system and move air bubbles from your brakes out into the environment. Make sure that any brake bleeder kit you purchase has a high-quality vacuum.
Check and make sure that any brake bleeder kit you’re considering has a high-quality pressure gauge along with the other major components. Good pressure gauges allow you to take the pressure of your brake system more accurately and spend less time on this chore than cheap pressure gauges, which are often inaccurate and require multiple measurements to make sure that your task is complete.
In addition, core pressure gauges can lead to inaccurate readings and cause further problems down the road. For instance, that pressure gauges might tell you that your brake system is at an optimal pressure, only for you to try braking later and discover that the spongy feeling is still there. You’ll have to go back to your garage and do another bleed.
This measurement system is typically used to calculate the pressure inside a closed system. It means “inch of mercury,” which is what pressure gauges use to tell you how pressurized things are. It represents the pressure exerted by one column of mercury that is 1 inch in height at the standard acceleration of gravity.
This is all a little more technical than most people need to bleed their brakes adequately, but it’s still handy to know.
The hose is what connects your brake bleeder kit to your brake fluid reservoir. This needs to be snug and tightly sealed to prevent any of your brake fluid from leaking out and help ensure that air is removed from the system properly. Double-check and make sure that the end of your chosen kit’s hose looks like it’ll fit snugly atop your reservoir.
In terms of hose length, both long hoses and short hoses have advantages. Longer hoses are easier to maneuver and give you more flexibility while you’re bleeding your brakes, but they require more pressure to remove air bubbles adequately. The reverse is true for short hoses.
Many kits also come with accessories like attachments. These attachments can help make a kit fit onto various models of automobile, or even some motorcycles. This is a particularly important aspect to pay attention to while you shop for your ideal kit.
Before making a final purchase, check to see if your chosen kit comes with an attachment that can fit for your vehicle. Otherwise, you might end up purchasing a brake bleeder kit that won’t fit your car, and you’ll have to shop again for a new product.
The reservoir cup is the final major component to check on before you finalize your purchase. This cup stores your brake fluid when it’s sucked out of your vehicle’s system. Most brake bleeding kits will have a reservoir that’s fairly large in order to hold all of the necessary fluid in one try. Smaller reservoirs will require you to attach and reattach the hose to your vehicle, potentially allowing more air into the brake system over and over.
Not all brake bleeding kits have reservoir cups of the same size. Try to find out how much brake fluid is inside your vehicle and choose a kit based on that number. Otherwise, air on the side of caution and purchase a kit that has a reservoir cup that’s undoubtedly large enough to hold all of your braking fluid at once.
Many of the best brake bleeder kits will come with warranties that add great value for money. While warranties won’t necessarily be needed for cheaper brake bleeding kits, the presence of a good warranty can often be taken to show manufacturer confidence. After all, few manufacturers will offer a warranty on the product that they don’t believe in.
If a kit comes with a good warranty, definitely consider picking it up. Even if it costs a few extra dollars, it could guarantee you a replacement brake bleeder kit in the events that your purchased model falters in some way.
Of course, the price of your brake bleeding kit plays a huge role in how right it is for you. Some of us are definitely working under more of a budget than others. The good news is that most brake bleeder kits are pretty affordable and are much more cost-effective as opposed to visiting an auto mechanic.
That being said, you don’t want to necessarily cheap out if you can afford to spend a few extra bucks. Price almost always correlates to higher quality, so you should try to purchase a kit at the higher end of your set budget if at all possible.
More money spent on the kit means higher quality materials and a better pump, and your chosen kit will likely last longer, as well. No one wants to buy a cheap brake bleeder kit and have to replace it after a few uses.
You might have some residual questions about how to make your new kit work, or what kind you should buy. Let’s go over those now.
Put simply; a brake bleeder kit flushes air out of your brake fluid system through a variety of methods. Sometimes it forms a tight seal and uses pressure to force air bubbles out. Other times it requires you to fill the brake system with fresh fluid and lists air bubbles out from the top. It all depends on the type you have.
In any case, a brake bleeding kit is designed to remove air bubbles from your brake fluid and restore your brakes to optimal condition.
There are three major types of brake bleeding kits that you can use to clear away those pesky air bubbles and get your brakes working sharply and firmly once again.
This method relies on injecting brake fluid at the lower points of your brake system. As new brake fluid enters your vehicle’s brake system, the laws of physics take hold and forced air bubbles to rise out of the master cylinder reservoir. Because of this, your master cylinder reservoir should be uncapped during your bleeding.
Simply keep the pistol pump lower than the brake system of your car and inject the fluid while watching your open reservoir carefully. You need to inject the fluid slowly and carefully so that you don’t overfill the reservoir and cause it to spill out.
If done correctly, you’ll have a full brake system of new braking fluid, and it shouldn’t have any air bubbles trapped inside. Close the reservoir carefully so that you don’t trap air bubbles inside after you’re done.
Reverse bleeding is one of the best methods you can use to take care of single brakes and remove trapped air fully. Any vehicle with a bleed screw can use this method to great effect. It also tends to be pretty quick, even though you have to inject the fluid carefully.
However, you do need to flush your brake system entirely before you are able to bleed the system properly. This ads on a few extra minutes and can get a little messy.
Next, let’s look at how to use a brake bleeder vacuum pump kit. This is arguably the most common brake bleeding method, and many people who have one-man brake bleeding kits will already know how to do most of this process.
First off, you need to connect your vacuum pump to the adapter and make sure that your reservoir is tight and sealed. Loosen the bleeder screw of your braking system and connect the screw to your bleeder tubing or hose.
You’ll want to pump the pedal of your brake while using your foot; this is usually accomplished by sitting in the driver’s seat, so you may want to remove your steering wheel at a time for maximum comfort during this process.
As you gently pump the brakes, you’ll get rid of residual vacuum inside the braking system. Next, add new braking fluid to your master cylinder reservoir. Be sure to reach the maximum mark in place the lid without tightening it too far.
Squeeze the handle of your vacuum pump between 10 to 15 times depending on the size of your reservoir and open the bleeder screw. This will let the new brake fluid go into the bleeder jar.
As new fluid enters the bleeder jar, watch carefully to make sure that there aren’t an excess of bubbles flowing to the top of the fluid. You may need to go slowly during this part to ensure that air isn’t accidentally injected into the fluid. Keep pumping your vacuum kit until the level of fluid Is about 1 Inch Away from the cap.
Tighten the bleeder screw and get rid of any fluid collected in your jar. Then reinstall the jar and repeat the same process until the line has been flushed.
Next, do the exact same process for each brake line (up to four). If done correctly, each brake line should be flushed and filled with new fluid without any air bubbles individually. This may take some time, but the results are usually quite thorough.
Make sure that you tighten all the bleeding screws before progressing. Try out your brakes while sitting in the driver’s seat and ensure that the brake doesn’t hit the floor of your vehicle, but it also doesn’t bounce as well.
As you can see, vacuum bleeding is rather more involved than reverse bleeding, and it takes a lot more practice and effort to become good at it. In many cases, combining vacuum bleeding with other types of bleeding is the most effective process.
Finally, let’s look at pump style or pressure style brake bleeding. This method usually requires a friend or other helper, so you won’t find one-man brake bleeding kits in this style.
First, get rid of all the liquid from your master cylinder reservoir. This will suck up all of the old fluid and air. Fill the reservoir with fresh braking fluid after you’ve gotten rid of the other stuff.
Next, loosen the bleeder screws or valves, preferably using a wrench. Attach your hose or tubing over the bleeder bolt, and make sure the other side is connected to a fresh brake fluid container.
Here’s where it gets tricky. You need to put something underneath your brake pedal so that it isn’t capable of being pushed too far down. This will come in handy when your helper performs their role.
Your helper will press down on the brake pedal as you turn the bleeder bolt, very slowly. The idea is that you’ll keep turning the bleeder bolt centimeter by centimeter until fluid emerges. In this way, you’ll create the smallest opening possible for air bubbles to escape and fresh fluid to leak. The pumping of the brakes is what supplies the pressure to move the fluid through this opening.
As soon as you see fluid, stop opening the bleeder bolt. Tighten the bleeder bolt instead and move on to the other lines at each wheel. Top off your master cylinder as you go so that you always have a fresh supply of brake fluid coming.
Out of all the methods, this style of brake bleeding is the best when it comes to getting rid of any dirty fluid in your brake system. However, many vehicles aren’t optimized for this type of brake bleeding so you may need a brake bleeding kit that has a universal port adapter to do this with your car. Of course, it also requires another person sitting in the driver seat.
Basically, whatever your brakes feel bouncy or spongy when you depress them, it’s a good sign that your brakes need bleeding. The air pressure inside your brake system is effectively causing the brakes to bounce back, which can limit their effectiveness. In addition, if your brakes can be pressed all the way to the floor, they may need bleeding or new brake pads entirely.
In any event, you should check out your braking system as soon as possible and cease driving the car until maintenance has been performed.
This will depend on your vehicle and how often you drive it. Most professional auto mechanics and car enthusiasts will recommend that you fully flush out your braking system at least once every year. This will, naturally, include a brake bleeding session, so even if your brakes are still working, for the most part, you should consider breaking out your newly purchased kit to give it some use.
However, you may notice that certain braking systems are particularly sensitive. Any time that you open the cap of your brake fluid valve, you are potentially letting air bubbles into your system. Your car may need you to bleed your brakes every time this happens. It’s all variable.
Pay attention to your car in the way it drives, and you’ll figure out the optimal frequency for your lifestyle soon enough.
When it comes to maintaining your new kit, there are a few things in mind see you can extend its operational lifespan as far as possible.
For starters, don’t ever use any traditional soap or other normal cleaning products to clean your brake bleeding kit. Warm water is often enough by itself to get rid of residual brake fluid, and soap can contaminate the interior of the various components or even cause them to break down over time.
Fully rinse out each component individually, and pay special attention to those pieces that came in contact with brake fluid. You can use small cleaning tools like Q-tips or small cloths to make sure that you wipe away any grime or dirt remaining.
You’ll also want to let all of the components of your brake bleeding kit dry by exposing them to air. No moisture must remain inside the tight components, as these can compromise the vacuum necessary for bleeding your brakes.
Finally, make sure that any residual brake fluid you dispose of is taking care of hygienically. Disposing of it down your drain isn’t responsible. Instead, take it to an oil bank or a gas station that takes old braking fluid. This is much better for the environment.
Most brake bleeding kits have a list of suitable car types or models that they can be used with. Others will have a universal adapter that can let them work with most automotive vehicles, although even these adapters have some very rare exceptions.
If you have a car that is uncommon or which has a tricky interior, you may need a specialized brake bleeding kit. Double-check with your manufacturer if this is the case.
No matter which type of car you have, be sure to check the braking kit you’re eyeing to determine if it’ll work with your vehicle before you buy.
Armed with all of the above information, you should be more than ready to bleed your braking system all by yourself. Once you get started, you’ll realize that it’s a lot easier than many auto mechanic shops make it seem. Thanks for reading and check out our other guides on car maintenance. Good luck!
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