If you find yourself alone after changing out brake pads or a master cylinder and have no help to bleed them, there is few ways to do it alone.
This happens to many DIY mechanics as most people disappear when its time to go to work. Luckily there are some easy options.
Here are some of the options I have used over the years. As always be sure to call a certified professional if in doubt.
3 Ways To Bleed Brake Lines By Yourself
1… Gravity Bleeding the Brake Lines
I have to admit after working on cars my whole life and many DIY brake jobs I had never heard of this option until a few years ago.
A friend of mine showed me this method and it does work although its not the best way it get the job done.
One thing to note about this method is it takes a lot of time but does work with no help necessary and no cost for extra tools.
To gravity bleed the lines the master cylinder cap is removed and the brake bleeder screw loosened.
Gravity will slowly push out fluid and air bubbles in the line, slowly self bleeding them.
Be sure to keep an eye on the fluid level in the master cylinder as it can not go empty.
A puddle of fluid will slowly show up under the brake. After sometime close the bleeder screw and move on to the next wheel in the line.
Again this takes time to do and each wheel can take a hour or so to get results. Most of us don’t have this kind of time to waste but it will work in a pinch.
2… One Man Brake Bleeder Kit
One man bleeder kits are cheap to buy or can one can be made up at home with a few items.
Basically a tube goes from the bleeder screw into a holding container with brake fluid and submerged.
After it is hooked up, and bleeder screw open, the pedal can be pressed and air bubbles will escape. When the pedal is let up on, since the tube is submerged in fluid only fluid will go back in.
If you have a tube, preferably clear one, that fits tightly on a bleeder screw, than a old jar can be used as a holder for fluid and the tube to submerge in.
Kits are cheap to buy, usually less than $10 dollars as there is not much to them.
Here is a DIY brake bleeder kit on Amazon
ABN | One Man Brake Bleeder Kit – Small Brake Bleeder Bottle Brake Bleeding Kit with Magnet for One Man Jobs
This is a good option and one I like to use as a kit is very cheap and they are simple to use. The small kits can be stored away and used again when needed without needing any help.
3… Use a Vacuum Pump Kit
There are many low cost vacuum pump kits that let you bleed your lines quickly on your own.
They hook to the bleeder screw and with some pumping action create a vacuum that pulls out fluid and air bubbles quickly.
This is a nice method and possibly the fastest DIY option.
The kits are low cost, usually around $30 dollars and good for those DIY mechanics who do brakes more often than every few years.
Here is a Vacuum Pump Brake Bleeder Kit on Amazon
8milelake 21pcs HandHeld Vacuum Pump Set Tester for Automotive with Adapters Brake Bleeder Test Kit
This option would be good for those DIYers who work on multiple cars every year and need a quick do-it-yourself option.
As with anything there is always more than one way to get things done and the above methods are simply the best ones I have found over the years.
If you have a good way to bleed the brakes by yourself with no help than let me know in the comments.
With any above method remember to always check the master cylinder reservoir for fluid level and keep it full, since if it goes empty the process must be started all over again.
Also be sure test the brakes are good before moving the vehicle, if the pedal is soft than start over until it is right.
Also leave the cap off the master cylinder so a vacuum isn’t created between the lid and the fluid.
Most all vehicles brake bleeding is started with the farthest brake from the master cylinder, than move forward to closest. Of course always follow the manufacture guidelines.
As always be sure to call a professional if there is ever any doubt about doing the job yourself.