This page is dedicated to helping you identify an independent brake line. On this page, you’ll find a short video outlining what an independent line looks like. You’ll also find some brake repair tips and I’ve added some links to brake tools you’ll find helpful.
Most vehicles have independent brake lines today. That means, subject to the brake fluid reservoir not running dry, bleeding just the brake you worked on is acceptable. Of course, if the brakes feel poorly after bleeding just that one wheel, you’ll need to go back and visit the other three.
But bear in mind, a common cause of poor or spongy pedal feel is contaminated brake fluid. The old fluid becomes saturated with moisture and that causes spongy pedal, brake fade, and corrosion inside the system.
Brake fluid should be changed every three to four years depending on where the vehicle lives.
Minor brake repairs are pretty straightforward. Pads and rotors can easily be DIYed without specialized tools. Rear brake calipers are often the exception. You can read more about them here “Rear caliper won’t retract”.
Fitting a new caliper is a little more complex but still not difficult. Bleeding the air from the system is however critical to successfully completing the task. Below I’ve outlined some top tips for nailing this like a pro.
Mechanics Caliper Replacement Tips
Front caliper replacement tips, a rear caliper will require additional steps as per the link mentioned above.
- Verify calipers are correct before stripping the vehicle
- Check tools for the job are present
- Fill brake fluid reservoir
- Calipers are marked L and R, the bleed valve is always pointing upwards when fitted
- Remove the flexi brake line from the old caliper and immediately fit the new
- Apply silicone grease to slide pins were in contact with rubber seals
- Add anti-squeal to pads and caliper carrier rails
- Apply grease around the threads of the bleed valve before opening
- Open the new caliper bleed valve and allow gravity bleed before using the bake bleed vacuum tool
- Top up the reservoir and fit opposite side caliper (Brake components should be fitted in pairs on the same axle)
- Check for leaks after at the flex pipe to calipers
- Important – Pump brakes before moving the vehicle
- On test drive apply brakes 8 – 10 times to help bed in brakes
- Check for leaks once more and top up brake fluid
Note: Brake quality feels poor until pads ben in fully.
Brake Repair Tools
Brake fluid moisture tester, this simple tester is a really fast way to check the moisture content of your fluid. Brake fluid should be changed every three years. Moisture inside the hydraulic system is as you know bad for a couple of reasons.
First, it reduces brake performance when the fluid gets hot and second moisture inside the system attacks metal components causing corrosion. This will lead to caliper, brake line, master cylinder, and possible brake controller damage. Picture links to Amazon.com.
Useful one-man vacuum brake and clutch bleeding kit that won’t hurt the pocket. It’s perfect for occasional brake maintenance chores, easy to use, and gets the job done. Picture links to Amazon.com.
Compact brake line flaring tool, the best thing about this tool is its size. This little guy is ideal for flaring brake lines while on the vehicle, but the handle is detachable for bench work too. Flares 3/16 SAE double flare steel and copper. Picture links to Amazon.com.
The Autel MaxiCOM is a shop-level tool. It is capable of reading, clearing fault codes, coding a new battery, placing EPB module in service mode, and calibration after the repair. It is also capable of activating ABS modulator solenoids when performing a full brake bleed procedure. Picture links to Amazon.com.
Preston is a leading supplier of quality automotive fluids. This is DOT 3 so remember to check your reservoir cap before ordering. This product is sold by Amazon and is conveniently delivered to your door. Picture links out to Amazon.
3M make top-quality products. Brake cleaner is likely one of the most used products in a pro shop. It is used not just to clean brake components and prevent brake squeal but also to clean spilled liquids like brake fluid, oil grease. The cleaner is an aerosol and is powerful enough flush grit from components. Picture links to Amazon.com.
A head-mounted lamp is like having a third hand a real advantage when you are doing battle. This rechargeable LED head-mounted lamp is conveniently sold and delivered by Amazon.com.