Whenever you work on your brakes and end up disconnecting the brake line from the brake cylinder for any reason, you are going to need to bleed the brake line to remove any air bubbles. Air bubbles in the brake line can cause the car to have trouble stopping. Manually bleeding the brakes is not hard to do, and most novice mechanics who know how to locate the master cylinder and brakes on the car can do this on their own with only a little help. If you have never manually bled the brakes lines on a car with disc or drum brakes, here is how you can do so.

Get the Right Type of Brake Fluid

There are several different types of brake fluid, and not all them should be put into your vehicle. You should check your owner's manual to see what type of brake fluid your vehicle takes. If you don't have an owner's manual, contact the car manufacturer or local car dealer to find out which one should be used in your vehicle. Do not mix two different types of brake fluids together. In some cases, the type of brake fluid you should use is written on the master cylinder cap—just make sure the cap is the original one and not a replacement.

Fill the Reservoir

There is a plastic reservoir on the master cylinder that has to be kept filled during the entire process of bleeding your brakes. If the reservoir drains, air will enter into the brake lines, and you'll have to start the process all over again. The master cylinder is typically located on the driver's side of the car in the engine compartment. 

Connect a Clear Tube

You are going to need a ¼" clear tube that fits over the bleeder valve to direct the brake fluid that will drain out when you bleed the brake lines into a catch basin. Slide one end of the tube over the top of the bleeder valve and put the other end into a catch basin like a clean pop bottle (you can reuse the brake fluid if it is kept clean).

The bleeder screw looks like a nipple. On drum brakes, the bleeder screw is on the cylinder. On disc brakes, the bleeder screw is on the brake caliper.

Bleed the Brakes

You need to start at the furthest brake away from the master cylinder. If the master cylinder is on the driver's side of the car in the engine compartment, the brake on the rear passenger's side is the one you want to bleed first.

Open the bleeder valve with a wrench while your helper pumps the brake pedal in the car. Watch the fluid coming through the tube. When you stop seeing air bubbles in the fluid, you can close the bleeder valve and move on to the next set of brakes until all of them have been bled.

Top off the reservoir for the master cylinder and put the cap back on. You should take the car out for a short test drive to make sure the brakes are working properly.

Talk to a company such as Buettner Tire & Auto for professional assistance.