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How to: Change brake fluid by yourself (with video)


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Here’s the method I use to change the brake fluid by yourself. I use a pressure bleeder to do this.

 My video on how to do this is here: https://youtu.be/Y_nw6yqoOkI

 

My car is a 2001 Boxster S 986.

 I’ve listed the tools I use if you want to buy them here:   http://road-and-race.co.uk/tools

 

You should change you brake fluid at least every 2 years.

Your handbook will tell you what brake fluid your car uses.   Most use dot 4 fluid.  

 

If you track your car use you'll need a fluid more suited to this. I’ve used a few different types but my favorite is Castrol SRF. Apart from allowing you to spend longer on the track without your brakes fading the pedal will feel firmer and shouldn’t  go mushy like with some other fluids. 

 

Here’s a summary of what we’ll be doing:

a.       loosen wheel nuts

b.      raise

c.       take the wheels off

d.      suck out old fluid

e.      pressure fill with new fluid

f.        bleed caliper

g.       pump brakes

 

 

Tools:

a)      jack

B)    stands

c)       socket set

d)      brake bleeder

e)      flare spanner

f)       clear hose and bottle

g)      penetrating fluid

h)      plastic cup or bottle

i)        and a turkey baster

 

Parts:

2 liters of brake fluid

 

 

1.       First loosen the wheel nuts, raise the car and remove the wheels.  If you don't know how to do this you can see my other video https://youtu.be/JDksAkO3eO0

 

2.       Open the bonnet and remove the brake fluid reservoir cap.  Brake fluid damages paintwork so in case of any spills cover the areas with a clean towel.   Using pliers remove the reservoir filter and using the turkey baster remove the fluid from reservoir.  fill with new fluid

 

3.       Your handbook will tell you the fluid capacity of the braking system. For my Boxster its 2 litres so pour 2 litres into the brake bleeder.

 

4.       Connect the bleeder to the reservoir and pump it to build up the  pressure to 2bar

 

5.       Next you will have to bleed the brake calipers. Your manual will tell you the order to do this.   Generally you start with the one furthest from the reservoir.

 

For my Boxster the order is rear driver, rear passenger, front passenger, front driver

 

6.       Remove the dust cover from the bleed valve. 

 

7.       Now we need to loosen the bleed valve.  Find a hex socket of the correct size.   It needs to have 6 sides or you risk rounding the nut.   10mm is generally correct.  Place on bleed valve and crack loose.  Tighten backup gently to stop fluid leaking out.  If you have difficulty penetrating fluid can help.  If you have a larger 4 piston or 6 piston caliper like mine you will have two bleed valves.  Loosen and gently tighten back both

 

8.       Put the hose in the bottle and connect to the bleed valve. Using a flare spanner release the bleed nut so fluid starts to come out.  It’s important to use a flared spanner or you risk rounding the nut.  If you have two bleed valves start with one furthest the brake line.

 

9.       To help get old fluid out of the master cylinder get in the car and push the brake pedal to the floor.  Hold it there for 10 seconds then release slowly.

 

10.   Go back to the caliper and when you see fresh clear fluid through the tube and there are no more air bubbles close the bleed valve with the spanner. 

 If you have two valves then repeat the process.  You only need to let a little fluid out as you are only bleeding the short path of the other caliper.

 

11.   Check the pressure on the bleeder and top up to2 bar. 

12.   Repeat the bleed  process on the other 3 calipers in the correct order. 

13.   Keep an eye on the fluid reservoir as if it runs dry you'll put air in the system.

 

14.   Press the air release button on the brake bleeder to release the pressure    Then remove the connection to the fluid reservoir.  Using the other bottle top up to the max line  if needed the and put the cap back on tight.

 

  1. Check the brake pedal is firm and if so put the wheels back on and lower the car.

 

16.   Test drive the car slowly and check the brakes work.

 

It’s an idea to keep an eye on the brake fluid level in the reservoir.  If it goes down you’ll have a small leak on one of the bleed valves.

 

As always, please dispose of the used fluid responsibly by taking it to your local council recycling center.

 

If you’ve liked these videos then I have more on my Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCk1LXyP9fJ8jUFbBeaznCw

 

 

Edited by vroomba
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Hi Vroomba, I haven't watched the video, but I see your method doesn't mention PSM.  Is there a special method for this?  I understood there was.  My '03 2.7 986 has PSM and I've been told that traditional bleeding won't work without the car's DME being set for 'brake bleed mode'.  Is this true?

 

 

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My car doesn't I don't have PSM but I've just checked the Bentley manual and you are correct.  Its says you need the PST2 (Porsche System Tester 2) to bleed the PSM.   I assume this'll be expensive to buy?   There's probably an aftermarket solution you can buy that's cheaper?  I'll do some research but maybe someone on this forum will see this and be able to advise?

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