Fix your own brakes
I dreaded the thought of changing my own brakes, because it leads to the excruciating task of bleeding the brakes after I’ve changed the pads. One person needs to be under the car opening the bleeder screw, while the another is in the car pumping the brakes. It’s a two person job and a recipe for an argument.
Mistiming the steps can cause air or contaminants to enter the brake system, the only remedy being to bleed the brakes again.
Speed Bleeders are great because they’ve incorporated a check valve into a bleeder screw. You remove the old bleeder screw and permanently replace it with a Speed Bleeder. When it is time to bleed your brakes, you loosen the Speed Bleeder 1/4 turn and pump your brake pedal. When the pedal is depressed, the pressure opens the check valve, letting air and brake fluid out of the end of the Speed Bleeder. When you release the pedal, it returns to the up position, the check valve closes and prevents any air from reentering. When bubble free fluid is evident, you close the Speed Bleeder. Job done.
I reluctantly bought the product and was overwhelmed at the ease of use. I was able to bleed the brakes on my Jeep by myself in under 5 minutes. This is a huge time saver that’s well worth the price tag — seven dollars each.
You have to order them to fit your specific brake system — Speed Bleeders come in fifteen sizes. I ordered them directly from the manufacturer on Tuesday and they were in my mailbox on Saturday morning.
There are also more flexible pressure-based brake systems such as “SpeediBleed,” but it seems like I inevitably spill, or dip my fingers into, brake fluid when I’m trying to install an adapter for the master cylinder side. Sometimes you need to monkey around with the adapter to get a good fit so that the system can pressurize. With Speed Bleeder, the only tool you need is a box wrench, and it’s a one-man job.05/21/09