Best Brake Bleeder Kits of 2019 (Reviews & Buying Guide)
Did you know that air pockets and bubbles can interfere with the efficiency of your braking system? This is one of the main reasons why specialists recommend bleeding each time you make a change that could let some air into the fluid.
For instance, if you just changed the brake pads but the pedal feels spongy and low, your system may need bleeding. However, instead of running to the shop and paying a hefty amount of money for a job you could do yourself, why not have a look at the best brake bleeder kits we reviewed below?
I’m sure that, after reading our reviews and the how-to guides we put together, you’ll notice that a bleeder kit is one of the most important tools that’s been missing from your garage!
Designed to fit all vehicles that have a 45mm threaded hydraulic reservoir cap, the Motive Products 100 is a push pump bleeding system. The kit uses pressure bleeding created by using the pump, to extract the brake fluid into the reservoir and remove any air bubbles in the process. This means that you won’t need a second person pumping the brakes while you’re maneuvering the kit.
For this, you will receive a push handle pump, a fluid reservoir fitted with a pressure gauge, tubes, and the necessary attachments. I like that the reservoir is made of heavy-duty, non-corrosive material. Also, the reservoir is big enough to hold enough fluid to flush the entire system in one go.
Because it pushes fluid through the lines just like the brake pedal does, you don’t have to worry about damaging any seals or the lines. Also, the pressure gauge is great because it lets you know on the proper levels to use.
Furthermore, besides being durable, the kit is portable, and you can use it wherever you want.
Quick note: if you buy the kit only to find out the nozzle doesn’t fit your bleeder screws, don’t panic. There are several adaptors you can buy so the system will fit different car models.
As a vacuum brake bleeder, the kit from Capri Tools comes with a 40-inch silicone hose and a universal rubber adapter (to fit all sizes), and a 2-liter capacity fluid reservoir. According to the producer, the kit works with most vehicles (standard or ABS brake systems) and can be used to bleed and flush hydraulic brakes and clutches.
However, you will need an air compressor to power it up. The kit uses a Venturi system which attaches to the air compressor in order to increase the suction power. Given the way it operates, many vehicle owners prefer a vacuum bleeder because it’s easier to use than the pressure model. However, some car manufacturers do not recommend this method because they consider its efficiency level quite low.
Finally, the kit comes with a built-in silencer that lets you flush your brakes without waking up the neighbors. Overall, this is a durable and useful piece of equipment that reduces the mess of this job to a minimum.
The Mityvac MV6840 is a professional pressure bleed system that works for both the clutch and the brakes on most European, Asian and American vehicles.
The kit comes with several elements such as:
- 7 master cylinder adaptors so you can use the kit on almost any car make and model
- 1 large 1.2 gallons (5 liters) fluid capacity
- A manual pump
- Tubes, connectors, and accessories
While the price may be a bit of a hindrance, if you need versatility in your brake bleeding process, this is one of the best kits to have. Due to the multiple adapters and durable materials, the Mityvac MV6840 will be helpful in many situations along the years.
You also get a pressure gauge that allows you to accurately control the pressure while the fluid is being dispensed in a smooth flow.
Finally, even though this kit works just as well in a professional auto shop, it’s just as efficient in a home garage. Because all the connections and accessories use a quick-change or push-to-connect system, the kit can be used by beginners and professionals alike.
Best Brake Bleeder Kits Buying Guide
When it comes to tending to the brake system using the bleeding method, you have three choices. You go to an auto shop and let others fix it for you, you can ask a friend to help you out using a DIY bleeding system or you get a high-end kit and do the job alone, whenever and wherever you want.
If you’ve come to the conclusion that the third method is the best for you, here’s how to choose a kit that will be with you for a long time.
Compatibility with your Vehicle
Most kits come with a universal adapter that fits most vehicles, but it’s good practice to get one that’s a fit for your make and car model. This is especially important if you are the proud owner of a special vehicle (limited edition) or a classic car!
You’ll also find adapters sold separately in the case you made the mistake of buying a kit that doesn’t fit your bleeder screws. However, it’s best to check this information ahead of time.
Bleeding Method and Kit Type
Based on the bleeding method they use, there are three main types of bleeding kits on the market:
- Vacuum bleeding – requires the use of an air compressor and is one of the easiest kits to use. However, the method of vacuum bleeding is less effective than the other two and some car manufacturers don’t recommend it.
- Pressure bleeding– with these kits you attach a pressurized system to the main cylinder to maintain pressure in the lines while removing air from the fluid. The kits are a bit more complicated, but the method is effective and can be implemented by a single person.
- Reverse bleeding – the method is quick and highly efficient and the kits that implement it can be used by a single person. Basically, with this method, the fluid is forced through the bleeder to the master cylinder, where the air doesn’t have other way but out of the system.
Most high-end bleeder kits have a pressure gauge that lets you establish if you are over or under the pressure needed for starting the flush of the system. This way, it’s easy to know when to increase or decrease the pressure to maintain the ideal level.
After all, if you are under the needed pressure, the bleeding won’t work, and if you are over, you risk damaging the lines and/or filters along the way. So, yes, it’s worth paying a bit more for a kit with a good pressure gauge!
Quick note: Keep in mind that a quality gauge will indicate measurements between 0 and 30 in/Hg (square inches of mercury)
You’ll notice that the products we reviewed are not the cheapest you can find, but this is because I want to recommend only the best designs. While you are free to select a kit that’s low cost, you also risk getting a product with low-quality materials that won’t last for too long.
I don’t recommend you buy the most expensive kit you can find, but you should adapt according to your needs and budget. Also, always choose a kit that has good reviews.
Some kits can be used to do more than just bleed the breaks. For instance, some also work for hydraulic clutches or even to can food. While I don’t recommend looking specifically for a product that has multiple uses and ignore the ones that focus on a single task, sometimes it’s good to know what your kit can do besides its main functionality.
Do you want to keep your kit in the garage, or do you want to have it with you, in the car? This aspect is important because some kits are designed using durable but lightweight materials and feature a small size, while others are quite bulky.
Do My Brakes Need to be Bled?
Many vehicle owners don’t really think about bleeding their brakes because the process looks a bit scary. You need to remove the tires and use a floor jack to make sure the vehicle is balanced. Also, you need to know the right order in which to apply the procedure and where to find the bleeder screws.
However, even if you’re not going to do it by yourself, you still need to know when the brakes need some attention.
Basically, each time the cap is removed, and the brake fluid reservoir is exposed this is the most likely moment that air will be trapped into the system. The good news is that it’s easy to feel if there is a problem because the pedal feels sluggish or it goes closer to the floor than it usually does.
So, if something feels off and you know your pads are new, consider bleeding the brakes. Mechanics recommend a full flush of the system at least once a year, but you can do it whenever something feels off with the brakes.
How to Bleed the Brakes Using the Manual Method
Before you use any of the kits we reviewed or any other models, I think it’s important to understand how the manual method works. If you’re a beginner, this requires the assistance of another person, but people who did this once or twice, won’t need any extra help.
The method and all the necessary tools are described in the video below:
This method sits at the base of any other methods used by the kits, so it helps to understand the mechanics before you take off the tires and start poking around the brake system.
The brake system is a crucial element when it comes to safety. As such, every car owner must make sure to implement all the required measures and keep the brakes in the best possible shape. This means changing the pads when the pedal feels too loose, getting the system checked by a professional from time to time, and bleeding the brakes at least once a year.
While maintenance can get quite expensive, as you learn more about the vehicle, and get comfortable working under the hood, you will be able to perform some of these tasks yourself. All you need is the right tools and the space to do so. For instance, a bleeding kit is one of the tools you can use for a long time and save money on professional work.