VW Jetta (Sedan) 2011 - Rear (drum) brakes

I am changing the rear brakes on my 2011 VW Jetta. They are drum brakes.
While putting on the new brakes, the brake cylinder was pushed a bit too much on one side to the point that the entire metallic cap on the other side popped out, even the spring that’s inside… I just put the spring back in quickly and the cap. It was pretty easy to put all back on. Some brake fluid came out, perhaps 10-15 ml (about .4-.5 fluid oz or so) and the cylinder seemed kind of empty in terms of fluid. The parking brake is not on. Do I need to bleed the braking fluid system because of this? Should I just check - I haven’t checked yet - on the braking fluid level and add to it if it needs some? I am not done putting the new brakes yet, but will test the brakes carefully once the tire is put back. See image attached. Thank you.

yes and I would replace the brake cylinder.

Wheel Cylinders: The Ultimate Guide (Problems, Solutions, FAQs) | RepairSmith


Yes what? Add brake fluid to the car or bleed the brakes (sorry, I am not sure of the difference between just adding brake fluid to the car and bleeding the brakes, but I have heard that the purpose of bleeding the brakes is to get the air bubbles out of the hose/brake system… but no clue as to how to go about it… I guess add brake fluid while replacing the cylinder, but letting some fluid purposely leak along with some air bubbles? Do I need any special equipment?) Thank you.

Would this be all I need to buy (the bleeding kit) and do??

Any other video, method and/or tool recommended?

If so, it doesn’t seem too difficult. I guess after extracting the 2" worth of brake fluid, I would need to check the brake fluid level under the hood and add any new fluid if needed, right? Thank you.

You don’t have air bubbles, you have a wheel cylinder full of air.

Fill the master cylinder reservoir, open the bleed screw on that wheel cylinder and wait until fluid drips, after ten seconds close the bleed screw. Next have an assistant push the brake pedal down, open the bleed screw, after the flow stops close the bleed screw, ask the assistant to release the brake pedal. Repeat with the process with the assistant, two bleeds are enough.

If the brake fluid is 11 years old, it should all be replaced but that is a different show.


Yes you bleed the brakes to get the air out because air compresses and brake fluid doesn’t. So you would have a spongy response on that wheel. Whether or not the cylinder should be replaced I dunno. I’ve rebuilt a few and after honing the cylinder, it’s just a matter of replacing the rubber parts. Maybe too late but might want to check for rust or the general condition of the inside but if you have a good seal, prolly OK. But then if it leaks, you’ll probably ruin the new shoes and have to do it all over again. The only time I’ve had to replace those was when the bleeder screw broke.

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The ‘Master cylinder reservoir’ is the reservoir under the hood, right? :slight_smile:
And I do the steps with the assistant AFTER installing the new cylinder, right (I already ordered it)?

And yes, the brake fluid is 11 years old… it’s never been replaced, argh!
I guess I should replace the fluid then? Would you recommend following this video and buying the product advertised (Motive Break Bleeder)? And I would have to bleed EACH tire/cylinder, correct, starting with the rear ones? I’m pretty handy, so I’m kind of glad I’m doing this for the purpose of learning and maintenance. Thank you!

The Motive power bleeder looks like an economical brake bleeding tool. You can bleed this wheel cylinder or the replacement in the same way.

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@karlthekiefer_155359 The thought of you doing your own brakes ( not breaks ) with the questions you are asking is scary. You either need to have a brake shop do this or find someone who knows what they are doing to help you .


I agree. Brakes are dangerous to learn on without a knowledgeable person helping you. From your photo it looks like that wheel cylinder has been leaking and needs to be replaced, along with the other one. If this is beyond your skills get it done by a pro. PLEASE!


It’s great that you’re interested in working on your car, it can be fun, you can learn a lot, and potentially save money (or lose more from a mistake). It’s just as easy to do things safely as it is unsafely, but you need to know where the dangers lie and for that it’s best to have direct guidance. This could come from a seasoned mechanic (not just anyone whose confidence is higher than their skills), or perhaps a set of community auto school classes.

Get a published manual for your car (either the manufacture’s or an after market one) that covers the procedures you will be doing, invest in a good set of stands (and maybe ramps), use the right tools including the proper eye protection and rubber gloves (brake fluid is toxic). Videos can be very useful for getting the lay of the land, but any idiot can post one and it’s not uncommon for them to contain safety errors or be inaccurate or incomplete in some important detail. This is especially important when working on brakes, suspensions, an around gasoline.

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THank you all for your input and recommendations! I was able to successfully replace the cylinder and then bleed both rear brakes. I have tested the vehicle on the highway and in the city (I started very cautiously when leaving the driveway at night) I’ve driven the vehicle for about 100 miles already. Tomorrow I will check behind the rear wheels to ensure all is good and there is no leaking. I have yet to replace the entire brake fluid (car is 11 yrs old), but I will likely take the car to the shop and have them do it depending on the cost (if I buy a replacement kit, it will cost me about $60 or so, plus the amount of time I would spend on it, it may be worth just paying someone to do it for $100 or so… though I also would like to learn, but I don’t want to buy the kit since I would only use it once every 5 years or so)

Gravity bleeding is usually my preferred method because you need no equipment to do it…just a brake bleeder wrench and a bucket. Changing the entire brake fluid is another story.