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!
Do I Need to Bleed My Brakes?
You certainly do if you want your brakes to work when you need them the most!
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.
This will, of course, include a brake bleeding.
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.
Let’s check out the best brake bleeder kits you can find online.
The Best Brake Bleeder Kits Online
What To Look For in a Brake Bleeder Kit
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.
Try to find a gauge that has a pressure range between about 0-30 inches Hg.
Tip: What does “inch to Hg” mean?
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.
Hose and Attachments
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.
It’s better to have a little extra space than not enough!
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Does a Brake Bleeder Kit Work?
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.
How to Tell if My Brakes Need Bleeding?
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.
How Often Should I Bleed My Brakes?
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.
Which Brake Bleeding Kits Can be Used for My Vehicle?
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.