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[FAQ]: How to change your brake fluid by yourself

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Old 09-01-2006, 10:40 PM   #1
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Default [FAQ]: How to change your brake fluid by yourself

So you have Oil change(check), new air filter(check), new sparkplugs(check)
That seem to be some of the most common things people make sure that they change out, but they never usually think about the brake fluid. For a properly working brake system more many years to come you need to change the fluid. I have read every 30K miles. I do mine a little earlier than that. For reference, this fluid change is done on a 1999 Civic EX 4dr. Your car shouldnt be any different than mine on the way to change the fluid.

This writeup is showing how to change your brake fluid using the One-Man Brake Bleeder kit. I got this particular one at the locan Harbor Freight store. Many other places have the same thing. Usually this requires two people but with this One-Man Brake Bleeding kit, you can do it by yourself.

.
First you need to understand where you need to start and where you are going. The first

wheel that you are goin to do in the rear passenger wheel, then the rear driver side wheel,

then the front passenger side wheel and then the front drivers side. You are working your

way from the farthest wheel to the closest wheel to the master cylinder.

First things first. UNDERSTAND ALL SAFETY RULES AND PRECAUTIONS THAT HAVE TO DO WITH WORKING

ON ANY CAR OR EQUIPTMENT THAT YOU MAY BE USING.


Materials:



1.) Brake fluid(there are a lot of different brake fluids out there. Just make sure your

brakefluid is either DOT3 or DOT4 grade.
2.) 8mm socket and ratchet
3.) 10mm wrench
4.) lugnut socket and breakerbar
5.) One-Man Bleeder tank set
6.) Pair of pliers(optional)
7.) TOrque wrench(optonal, used for correctly torquing the wheel studs when installing wheel

back onto the car)
Now....

First jack the rear passenger side of your car up and put it on a jackstand and take the

wheel off so it looks like this(if yours has rear drum brakes. if you have disc brakes, it

will look like the front wheel later on in this write-up).



A closer look shows what needs to actually be seen. On the back side of the drum brakes, is

the brake fluid service port.





This next picture shows what the cap looks like when it is off. BE SURE NOT TO LOSE THIS AS

IT IS NEEDED TO BE PUT BACK ON THAT PORT AFTER SERICING...



This is what it looks like with the service port cap off




Take your 8mm socket and 'break loose' the service port(as you would like with a bolt) but retighten it with your fingers quickly so no other fluid will come out. (On the front brake capilers, it is easier. I just did it this way because i did not have an 8mm wrench. If you do have an 8mm wrench, you can follow the steps for the front capilers on how to loosen the service ports. )

What you need to do next is attach the long PVC fishtank type of tube to the service port that is shown in this next picture. make sure it is snugly over it with a little but of overhang on the backside of the service port.




If not allready attached, attach the other end of that tubing and connect it to the inlet of the bleeder bottle like shown in this next picture. I found that the tubing is a little too short to attach the bottles magnet to the outside of the fender so i just attached it to the

inside of the wheelwell. MAKE SURE IT IS HIGHER THAN THE LEVEL OF THE BRAKE SERVICE PORT.

Not only is this better because of the short tube length but, if there is any leakage of the bottle(from letting it fill up too much and leaking out of the bottle), it wont get on the outside fender paint. Brake fluid is able to eat away paint so that in NOT very desirable to most people.




Once you have the bottle inplace, and the tubing attached, you can go ahead and try to unscrew the service port just enough that the brakefluid starts to flow from the brakes and into the tubing/bottle. You can unscrew it with just your fingers but in my case i just used a pair of pliers to loose then port.


Next you need to locate the reservoir for the brake master cylinder. Make sure the surrounding area of the reservoir is clean before opening up. Before i opened mine up i wiped around the cap are really well. But in the picture it is the brake master cylinder reservoir.




This is the picture with the cap off. This fluid doesnt look too bad but, i wanted to bleed all the brakes so there is new fluid in all the lines. The fluid that you get will probably either be clear or a light gold color. if it is low, top it off with your new brake fluid and then put the cap back on your reservior AND the brakefluid

BRAKEFLUID ATTRACTS MOISTURE AND THIS IS PART OF THE REASON YOU ARE BLEEDING ALL YOUR BRAKES

IS TO GET ALL THE FLUID THAT HAS MOISTURE IN IT, OUT OF THE SYSTEM. Putting a cap on everything is essential



The overall setup inside the wheelwell looks like this



Next with the bleeder bottle hooked up properly and the reservoir filled, you can start pumping your brakes; do it slowly. Be sure to pay attention to the level that the fluid is at in your bleeder bottle BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY PAY ATTENTION TO THE FLUID LEVEL IN YOUR BRAKE MASTER CYLINDER RESERVOIR. NEVER LET IT RUN DRY. If the master cylinder reservoir is getting low, take the cap off of the reservoir and top it off with the new fluid you purchaced. REMEMBER you put caps on both the reservoir and the bottle of fluid. Refill it as many times as it takes. never let it run dry.


After pumping the brakes a few times, it should look like this




As in the picture, when it starts to get full, just detatch the magnet from the metal of the car, unscrew the bottle and pour it out in a container, reattach the bottle to the holder and then reattach the magnet to the side of the car.

This might seem like a while but this side takes the longest. This is because all of the fluid in the master cylinder and the reservoir is going through this side first. Keep repeating the refilling of the reservoir and the emptying of the bottle untill you start to get a clear(or golden, if you have golden colored brake fluid that you purchaced) color through the lines like shown in this next picture.





The brake fluid that i am using is clear and the fluid comming out is still slightly golden so i keep pumping the brakes, refilling the reservoir and emptying out the bottle untill i get this clear color.




After you get this clear color(or the same color as your brake fluid that you purchaced) then you are done bleeding that particular wheel.

Take your pliers, and tighten the service port but not too tight. just enough to stop the flow of fluid comming out of the system. When that is done, you are able to pull the Tubing off of the brake service port. After you do that, you can take yout 8mm socket and tighten the service port the rest of the way. DONT OVERTIGHTEN!!!

Next move on to the rear driver side wheel and follow this same procedure. The remaining wheels shouldnt take nearly as long as the rear passenger side took.

Now we move to the front brake capilers.


Obviously jack the car up and remove the front wheel like so.




The service port of the front capilers look the same as the rears, they are just in a

slightly different spot than on the drum brakes.



As with the rears you need to attach the tubing to the service port of the capilers and to the bleeder bottle. One exceptyion though. Instead of a 8mm socket, i used a 10mm wrench on this since the front and rear are different. Before i put the tubing on the service port, I first sliped on a 10mm wrench first so i can use that to open and close the servie port easier.



Once you have the tubing and bottle in the right places, you can use the attached 10mm wrench to loosen the service port. brake fluid should be comming out of the capiler and into the tube. If this happens you can start pumping yout brakes to get all of the old fluid out.

Again, make sure you watch the level of the brake reservoir and not let it get too low.

As with the rears, do this until the fluid that cones out is free of bubbles and is the same color as the fluid you purchaced. When this point is reached, you can use the allready attached wrench to close the service port tightly.




After you do this, repeat the same instructions to the drivers side wheel. Both the front wheels dont take long at all to bleed.

When you are done with the drivers side, make sure the brake fluid reservoir is topped off once more and put the reservoir cap on for the last time.

THINGS TO THINK OF:
Make sure you have tightened all of the service ports
Is the resservoir topped off

After you have put the wheels back on PUMP YOUR BRAKES until the pedal gets stiff to make sure everything was done properly before you move your car anywhere.

PS: If there are any errors, please someone let me know. its 2 a.m. here and i was a little tired while typing this


Modified by imadigitalgod at 8:03 PM 9/2/2006


Modified by imadigitalgod at 8:04 PM 9/2/2006


Modified by imadigitalgod at 10:14 PM 9/7/2006
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Old 09-01-2006, 10:48 PM   #2
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Default Re: [FAQ]: How to change your brake fluid by yourself (imadigitalgod)

nice write up and man your fluid was dirty!
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Old 09-01-2006, 10:49 PM   #3
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Default Re: [FAQ]: How to change your brake fluid by yourself (rukawa1one)

Quote:
Originally Posted by rukawa1one
nice write up and man your fluid was dirty!
Ohhhh no it wasnt, compared to when i FIRST changed it 20K miles ago, lol. it came out black the first time i changed it . But yea it was dirty so i changed it and to do this writeup
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Old 09-01-2006, 10:59 PM   #4
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Default Re: [FAQ]: How to change your brake fluid by yourself (imadigitalgod)

Quote:
Originally Posted by imadigitalgod
After you have put the wheels back on the car you are done.
One thing to add... PUMP YOUR BRAKES until the pedal gets stiff when you are done before you attempt to drive ANYWHERE, i've seen some vehicles get very very messed up at work due to people forgetting to pump the brakes after a brake job/bleeding. Even if you don't think you need to, DO IT.
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Old 09-01-2006, 11:04 PM   #5
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Default Re: [FAQ]: How to change your brake fluid by yourself (Froth)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Froth

One thing to add... PUMP YOUR BRAKES until the pedal gets stiff when you are done before you attempt to drive ANYWHERE, i've seen some vehicles get very very messed up at work due to people forgetting to pump the brakes after a brake job/bleeding. Even if you don't think you need to, DO IT.
Edited, thanks. I really meant to add that b4, im just a little tired right now
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Old 09-02-2006, 03:54 AM   #6
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Default Re: [FAQ]: How to change your brake fluid by yourself (imadigitalgod)

nice writeup...

i have the same jack
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Old 09-02-2006, 04:20 AM   #7
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Default Re: [FAQ]: How to change your brake fluid by yourself (silver_flash99)

I have the same one man bleeder kit from Harbor Freight

Nice write-up
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Old 09-02-2006, 08:38 AM   #8
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Default Re: [FAQ]: How to change your brake fluid by yourself (Hybrid93Hatch)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hybrid93Hatch
I have the same one man bleeder kit from Harbor Freight

Nice write-up
Yep, only $5 too. I dont know what honda would want to charge for a fluid change but i know that the VolksWagon dealer wants $124 to do a brake fluidchange
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Old 09-02-2006, 08:52 AM   #9
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Default Re: [FAQ]: How to change your brake fluid by yourself (imadigitalgod)

Good wirte-up, now I just need to get my own one man bleeder kit.
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Old 09-02-2006, 09:28 AM   #10
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Excellent write up
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Old 09-02-2006, 09:42 AM   #11
 
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Default Re: [FAQ]: How to change your brake fluid by yourself (imadigitalgod)

two thumbs up. Thanks for the instructions w/pictures.
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Old 09-02-2006, 11:11 AM   #12
 
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Default Re: [FAQ]: How to change your brake fluid by yourself (imadigitalgod)

Really good write up!!! TNX
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Old 09-02-2006, 06:34 PM   #13
 
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Default Re: [FAQ]: How to change your brake fluid by yourself (imadigitalgod)

Good stuff
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Old 09-02-2006, 06:57 PM   #14
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nice write up
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Old 09-03-2006, 05:10 PM   #15
 
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Default Re: [FAQ]: How to change your brake fluid by yourself (imadigitalgod)

what is a good fluid to use? Is prestone, like the one used in this, good to use?
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Old 09-06-2006, 08:45 AM   #16
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Default Re: [FAQ]: How to change your brake fluid by yourself (DireFire34)

Quote:
Originally Posted by DireFire34
what is a good fluid to use? Is prestone, like the one used in this, good to use?
Personally I dont use my car for anything other than daily driving, so theres no hard braking or anything so i just used the Prestone synthetic. Its nothing special but it will work perfectly for what i use my car for. Now, if you race your car and have hard braking all the time, you might want to get a better type of brakefluid. If you search you can find many posts and replies about what brake fluid there is out there
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Old 09-06-2006, 09:54 AM   #17
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Default Re: [FAQ]: How to change your brake fluid by yourself (imadigitalgod)

I am going to do this today, but I just checked my helms and it said to bleed it in this order: Passenger Rear, Driver Front, Driver Rear, Passenger Front. My car is a 99 hatchback and this was from a 96-00 helms.
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Old 09-06-2006, 10:33 AM   #18
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Default Re: [FAQ]: How to change your brake fluid by yourself (EK k kay)

Good job, thanks for the writeup

(I gave you a title to show my appreciation )
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Old 09-06-2006, 10:48 AM   #19
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Default Re: [FAQ]: How to change your brake fluid by yourself (BauleyCivic)

very helpful thanks
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Old 09-07-2006, 01:04 PM   #20
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Default Re: [FAQ]: How to change your brake fluid by yourself (EK k kay)

Quote:
Originally Posted by EK k kay
I am going to do this today, but I just checked my helms and it said to bleed it in this order: Passenger Rear, Driver Front, Driver Rear, Passenger Front. My car is a 99 hatchback and this was from a 96-00 helms.
Yeah i just looked in my Helms and it says that too. Iv always been taught to start at the farthest point from the master cylinderand work ur way towards it.

BUT it is the manual written by honda so, idk.
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Old 09-07-2006, 01:46 PM   #21
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Default Re: [FAQ]: How to change your brake fluid by yourself (imadigitalgod)

Nice writeup. To be honest I didn't even know those 1-man bleeder kits existed, going to have to get one.

And just to back you up, I was taught to change fluid the same way (rears first then front on opposite side from MC and finally front on side closest to MC). I'll have to look at the brake system diagram in my Helms and see if I can puzzle out why Honda says different.

BTW, not to nitpick, but the following sentence didn't make much sense to me: "For a properly working brake system more many rears to come you need to change the fluid." Did you mean "For a properly working brake system for many years to come you need to change the fluid."? I don't know about you, but I don't want many rears to come.
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Old 09-07-2006, 02:23 PM   #22
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I was told u can turn the bottle of brake fluid upside down onto the mc resevoir so u dont have to keep filing it. Anyone know if this works, need to change mine soon
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Old 09-07-2006, 04:42 PM   #23
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Default Re: [FAQ]: How to change your brake fluid by yourself (imadigitalgod)

Some tips:

The proper bleeding order for a Honda is:

PR > DF > DR > PF

There are two reasons for this:

1. You should start bleeding the system at the furthest point from the master cylinder.
2. Honda's brake channels are diagonal to be partially fail-safe, so PR-DF are connected and DR-PF are connected.

As far as frequency goes, I flush my system a minimum of once a year, and more often for a car driven in HPDEs or other such environments where the fluid can boil easily. Fresh, unsaturated brake fluid is a necessary component for good pedal feel and high-temperature braking performance.

Use only glycol-based DOT 3, DOT 4, or DOT 5.1 fluids in your Honda. Do NOT use DOT 5 fluid - it is silicone-based and incompatible with 3/4/5.1 fluid. If you mix the two together (even residual amounts), they will coagulate and you will have one hell of a mess in your brake system.

Also, for those of you flushing the system for the first time ever in a car that probably still has the original factory brake fluid from 6+ years ago, do not be surprised if your master cylinder begins to fail within a few days of performing this procedure. Pumping old master cylinders that have internal deposits can tear the seals up and cause them to leak; in addition, flushing old fluid that is full of sediment can release clogs that were previously holding the seals together. Be prepared to shell out $150-250 (depending on model) for a new MC. Sometimes they fail, and sometimes they don't.

And as mentioned, make sure you tighten up all the bleeder nipples in the calipers, but do not overtighten them.
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Old 09-07-2006, 09:49 PM   #24
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Default Re: [FAQ]: How to change your brake fluid by yourself (MonkeyBoy668)

Quote:
Originally Posted by MonkeyBoy668
BTW, not to nitpick, but the following sentence didn't make much sense to me: "For a properly working brake system more many rears to come you need to change the fluid." Did you mean "For a properly working brake system for many years to come you need to change the fluid."? I don't know about you, but I don't want many rears to come.
lol i fixed it thanks
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Old 09-07-2006, 10:10 PM   #25
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Default Re: [FAQ]: How to change your brake fluid by yourself (imadigitalgod)

Thats a neat little device.
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