What do you think of brake bleeders?


Hey all,

Had the front driver side wheel off my 85 Olds Cutlass trying to diagnose a grinding sound, took the caliper off, still can’t find anything obvious. The rotor spins without making any noise with the caliper off, so I’m suspecting the pads even though there is lots of pad left on both and they don’t look damaged.

Anyway, while I was in there, I was looking at the rubber hose from the caliper and noticed a crack in the rubber, close to where it attaches to the metal brake line. It’s not leaking right now, but I can see the inner hose through the crack.

The Haynes manual advises the proper way to bleed the lines after replacing the hose is to attach a hose to the bleeder valve and submerge the other end in a container with brake fluid and to keep running more fluid through until no more bubbles are seen in the fluid in the container.

I’ve seen bleeder valves that supposedly make this a one man job…are these worthwhile and do they make the job quicker/easier? Can I do this job by myself with the help of this little gadget? Any other suggestions or tips are welcome, never opened up a hydraulic system before.

Thanks as always,



I prefer the two person method; one to operate the brake pedal while the other opens and closes the bleeder valve. The reason is that more turbulence will be created inside the wheel cylinder to stir up debris and get it out.

Another thing that I do at least once per year on an old car with rusty brake lines and questionable brake hoses is to push the brake pedal as hard as I can to try to burst the system. That is what you might do during a panic stop so if the system will burst, it will be best done in your driveway.


Wha Who wrote:

Another thing that I do at least once per year on an old car with rusty brake lines and questionable brake hoses is to push the brake pedal as hard as I can to try to burst the system.

I do the same thing.


Sounds good…I’ll try that after replacing both right and left side hoses. Thanks guys!


A power brake bleeder is almost a requirement if bleeding ABS systems. There are too many more paths for fluid and air to travel its hard to work it all out with the regular bleed system. You can rent or borrow one from stores that sell pads no reason to buy one to just do your own stuff. LEE


Good to know, but this is an 85 Oldsmobile Cutlass so no ABS here, thankfully.


Autozone has a repair guide for 70 - 87 Cutlass.


Hope this is useful.

Ed B.


I use a quicker way to bleed brakes through the brake bleeder screw: Use a transparent tube (fish tank hose, etc.). Place the hose over the bleeder screw nipple and have your assistant hold the hose in an arc. The arc will fill with brake fluid and prevent air from going back into the caliper. Loosen the brake bleeder screw. With the assistant holding, and observing, the clear hose, slowly press and release the brake pedal several times. Opening and closing, opening and closing, opening and closing the bleeder valve is NOT necessary. As you press the brake pedal, ask your assistant to tell you when there are no more air bubbles. Then, tighten the bleeder screw, and remove the clear tube. Repeat on the next wheel.


Simply attaching a short piece of tighyly fitting hose to the bleeder so that it points upward with the bleeder open about 1/2 turn will prevent air from entering the system while the pedal is pumped and air dispelled. Just keep the master cylinder full while pumping the pedal several strokes on each wheel. Other than leeving a mess to clean it works on all makes and models with and without ABS. This is the fastest and easiest method I have found including the pressure tanks and vacuum pumps.


You’re referring to a little toy called Speed Bleeders. Uses a little ball valve to mimic the action of opening and closing the bleeder valve. They work GREAT. I love 'em, never had a problem with 'em, and they can stay on the car between fluid changes. Makes it a lot easier and faster to bleed the system.


If you are pulling in a small amount of air past the loose bleeder valve’s screw threads, it apparently is not a problem.