How To Bleed Brakes By Yourself

If you have an older car, then one of the things that you may have to have done is bleeding the brakes. But can you save money on the repair costs by bleeding your brakes yourself? With a little bit of knowledge, you actually can.

How To Bleed Brakes By Yourself

But you first have to know how to tell when your brakes need bleeding and what sort of tools and information you’ll need to do the work yourself.


The Signs Of Brakes That Need Bleeding

There are signs that your brakes could require bleeding, and they are connected with the replacement of brake pads. Obviously, if you hear a grinding sound when you are using your brakes or if the brake goes to the floor when you stop at lights, then replacing your brake pads might be a really good idea. But if you have recently replaced your brake pads and you still get a spongy feeling in a brake pedal that tends to go lower than it should, then you probably need to bleed your brakes.


The Mechanics Behind Brake Bleeding

The reason that brake bleeding is required is directly linked to the replacement of brake pads.

When the brake pads become too thin, the brake fluid level drops extremely low in the master cylinder reservoir, which causes air bubbles to get pumped into the brake lines.

Unfortunately, even one or two bubbles can cause your brakes to feel springy and spongy.

The process of bleeding the brakes is what gets those air bubbles out of the brake line and returns your brakes to their normal state.

However, you do not just want to get the air out of the brake lines, you also need to replace the brake fluid. You have to replace the old fluid with fresh stuff because it becomes contaminated with dirt and metal particles from the moving parts in the master cylinder due to the space that the air bubbles have provided. It is able to absorb moisture from the air, which lowers the boiling point of the brake fluid. These contaminants must be removed because otherwise the brake fluid will degrade.

If you have antilock brakes then it is even more important that you get rid of the contaminated fluid and replace it with fresh stuff, while bleeding the brakes at the same time to remove the problem. That’s because ABS is much more prone to these contaminants and the effects that they cause than a non-ABS system. This is due to the hydraulic pump that operates at extremely high pressure, forcing lots of brake fluid through very small valves. The foaming that results can make bleeding an ABS system more difficult, but it is still possible. However, the reason that it is vital to bleed the ABS system specifically and replace the fluid is that the particles that air bubbles let in can be extremely damaging to the valves and the pump itself.

With some vehicles, you are going to have to go to a garage, or get your hands on an ABS scan tool to cycle the pump and valves and get rid of the air if you want to bleed the ABS controller. But if you bleed the brakes in the first place, this shouldn’t happen.

Now, let’s get into the process of bleeding your brakes.


How to Bleed Brakes by Yourself

 

You are going to need a few things for this: a wrench that is the same size as the bleeder bolts, a small piece of tubing, fresh brake fluid, a turkey baster and someone to help you.

You will also need to get the vehicle up into the air somehow and remove all four wheels. In some cases, you might not have to remove the wheels, but it depends upon whether you have enough room to use the wrench on the bleeder valves with the tires still on the vehicle.

  • First, use the turkey baster to suck the old fluid out of the master cylinder reservoir. Make sure that you are topping off the reservoir with fresh fluid while you get rid of the old stuff and the air bubbles.  You don’t want the reservoir to become more than half empty.
  • Next, try to loosen the bleeder valves. The best type of wrench to use is a box wrench that fits perfectly. A crescent wrench may strip out the bolt and make it impossible to get off. If you cannot turn the bleeder bolts, you’ll have to replace the brake calipers or the wheel cylinders.
  • To bleed the brakes, you’ll use the small piece of tubing with one end over the bleeder bolt and the other in a bottle of fresh brake fluid. This will prevent more air from getting into the brake lines as you work. Make sure that you put something underneath the brake pedal so that it doesn’t go down as far as it normally does.
  • You’ll have your helper press on the brake pedal while you turn the bleeder bolt slightly. The brake pedal will sink underneath your helper’s foot while you do this.
  • Continue to repeat this process until you see fresh brake fluid (it should be clear) coming out of the bleeder bolt.
  • The air will be able to travel past the bleeder bolt, but will not allow air in through the other direction because the other end of the tubing is submerged in brake fluid. This will allow you to remove all of the air.

How To Bleed Brakes By Yourself – Conclusions

So there you have it.  You know what to look out for.  You know what you need to get the job done.  And now you know how to do it.

Let us know below how you get on.

For another great guide on how to bleed brakes by yourself check out this great article from Dummies.

Looking for the best air impact wrench for lug nuts?  Check out our handy guide!

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How To Remove Rust From Your Car

If you happen to own an automobile (or are planning on buying one and want to learn how to keep it in great shape), this is an important guide for you. Check out this guide before buying a used car, a list of 101 questions to ask the previous owner to make sure that there are no hidden problems or hidden rust!

How To Remove Rust From A Car

It creeps up silently, takes its time developing and before you know it, your beloved vehicle looks aged, run-down and neglected.

Sounds bad, but the bark is usually worse than the bite here. That said the brown parasite can cause serious damage to your car if it gets to the frame components, so you need to get rid of it before it does.

To be able to successfully get rid of rust (and hopefully keep it at bay) it’s imperative to first understand what causes it.

Causes Of Rust

Rust is caused by a chemical reaction of iron and its alloys to oxygen and water.

oxygen and water cause rustBasically, moisture is the main culprit with saltwater and winter road treatments speeding up the whole rusting process.

There are broadly three stages of rust that develops on cars: surface rust, scale and penetration.

However, as you’ll soon discover, getting rid of rust is not half the daunting task it seems to be.

All it takes is a little preparation, patience and a few readily-available tools and materials.

Here’s all you need to know about the different methods of removing rust from your car, starting with basic prep.

Preparation

Regardless of which method you choose to work with, the following steps are highly advisable for safety purposes and to prevent further damage:

  • Be sure to wear safety glasses, gloves and a dust mask (though a respirator is advisable while using a grinder)
  • Use masking paper to mask clean spots to prevent them from getting dusty

Surface Rust

Surface rust mainly occurs when paint breaks down due to mechanical or UV damage.

surface rustIt doesn’t usually pose a problem as it is largely dependent on alloy composition and metal thickness.

However, it is highly recommended to correct surface rust as and when it occurs.

Solution 1: Rust Remover

Materials/tools required:

Liquid or aerosol rust remover or rust converter, sandpaper, grease and wax remover soap, rag, primer, spray paint

krud kutterMethod:

  1. Spray/brush the remover onto the affected area (as per the directions on the packaging) and let it sit for a few minutes
  2. Wipe off residue with a clean rag
  3. Remove any residual rust with sandpaper
  4. Clean the surface with a grease and wax remover soap
  5. Air dry the surface
  6. Spray a light to medium coat of primer and let it dry for an hour (three such coats should suffice)
  7. Spray about five-six coats of paint within plenty of time in between to prevent drips
  8. Make sure the paint coats are thinner than those of the primer
  9. Spray the clear coat
  10. Wait a minimum of three days before washing and two-six months before waxing your car

Why not check out our guide to the best rust converters around right now?

Solution 2: Pure White Vinegar (distilled)

Materials/tools required:

Distilled pure white vinegar, sandpaper, rag

Method:

  1. Use sandpaper to remove any rust in the affected area that is loose
  2. Use a vinegar-soaked rag over the area by holding it down for several minutes (the longer you hold it the more rust it will dissolve)
  3. Repeat the process as many times as required to remove all the rust from your car
  4. Follow steps 6-10 from Solution 1.

Scale

The underlying cause behind scale rust is that rust molecules are physically larger than those of iron or steel.

rusty didgeWhen you fail to remove rust when it is at surface level, it forms bubbles.

It begins to expand and flake away, thereby exposing base metal that soon begins corroding, causing a serious problem.

Removing this kind of rust demands significantly more effort and skill than surface rust, hence it is advisable not to let the rust develop till this stage at all.

Solution 3: Body Filler

Materials/tools required:

Grinder with sanding wheel, self-etching primer, fiberglass-reinforced body filler, fine grit sandpaper, wax and grease remover, spray paint

Method:

  1. Use the grinder to remove surface rust while taking care not to apply too much pressure
  2. Use a grease remover to clean the area
  3. Use the filler for the holes and let it cure completely
  4. Sand the filler with sandpaper then clean with wax and grease remover
  5. Use self-etching primer and leave to dry
  6. Follow steps 7-10 from Solution 1

Penetration

In case you haven’t dealt with the rust in its scale stage, it will advance to an even more problematic stage called ‘penetration’.

rust holeIn this stage, the base metal of the car gradually flakes away leaving holes in its place.

Having a car reach this stage leaves you with two options:

  • replace the entire affected panel

OR

  • cut out the affected parts and weld in ‘patch panels’ in place of them

At this stage the car is highly susceptible to crashes and further damage as its frame has been severely affected.

In this case, your best bet would be consulting a professional and getting it repaired at a repair facility.

Rust Prevention

Arguably the best way to deal with rust is to prevent it from accumulating on your car altogether.

Prevention is indeed better than cure, especially when you’ve invested thousands of dollars in your car and the alternative is spending hundreds more on ensuring it looks brand-new for years.

Hence, these are the most effective ways of preventing rust from developing on your car:

  • Wash your car regularly and thoroughly
  • Keep the underside clean from dirt, road grime and salts as these lead to corrosion
  • Check the drain holes that are present along the bottom of doors and rocker panels (that allow rainwater to flow out) regularly
  • Use a pipe cleaner to thoroughly clean these holes
  • Use multiple coats of wax, especially during winter months to protect paint, road grime and water
  • Don’t let snow and chemicals accumulate while driving on snowy or salty roads
  • Use rust prevention paint

Sources

Advance Autoparts

Popular Mechanics

Cartoq

Wiki

DIY

Wrapping It Up

Hopefully that’s been a useful overview and you’re now well equipped to remove rust from a car should the need arise.

Have you had to de-rust a car before?  How did you do it?  And are there any suggestions not included in our guide that you’d recommend?

Let us know below.

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How To Become A Truck Driver – Ultimate Guide

The commercial driving industry is an ideal opportunity to begin your driver career as a passionate traveler.

However, it’s not easy to enter this industry.

In order to drive commercial vehicles you must be having a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).

How To Become A Truck Driver – All You Need To Know

The CDL ensures that the drivers are trained and qualified enough to drive high capacity commercial vehicles.

The CDL is issued by the Department of Transportation (DoT).

how to become a truck driverThe rules and regulations for obtaining a CDL vary from state to state, however to get a CDL there are certain basic requirements that an applicant must full fill.

All license classes (A, B, and C) have the same basic requirements. However, there are additional requirements for each license class which we’ll go through a little later.

How To Get Your CDL

The minimum age to obtain an intra-state CDL is 18 years while for an inter-state CDL you have to be at least 21 years old.

Paperwork

specificationsYou will have to: submit your state’s CDL Application and pay the appropriate fee; provide identity and social security number verification (check your state’s requirements); provide proof of state and US residency; submit a completed Medical Examination Report Form and Medical Examiner’s Certificate Form; Pass a vision test; pass a knowledge exam.

After passing the exam, you will be issued a Commercial Learner’s Permit (CLP). You will have to wait a minimum of 14 days before you can schedule your CDL road skills examination.

You will have to go through a pre-trip inspection. Once you are done with that, you will be able to pass the road skills and driving examination (you must bring your own vehicle).

After passing, you will have to pay the necessary fees for your new CDL (Optionally, submit a 10 Year Record Check, if you’ve had a driver’s license in any state or jurisdiction other than the one where you are applying for your CDL).

State To State

Although, there are different types of commercial drivers license and the requirements may vary by state, many of them are universal for all of the states, some of them are even federally mandated.

For example, it is a federal law that you must be 21 years of age or older to drive commercially interstate. However, many states will issue a CDL strictly for intrastate driving for those who are 18 or older. That is, why it is important to  check your state’s regulations.

When you are completely prepared to apply for your CDL, and you’ve filled out your state’s CDL application, you will need to provide proof of your social security number, your identity and your residency.

Exams

test paperOnce you have provided all necessary documents, you ought to pass the exams.

First, you must pass a vision exam and a knowledge exam. After you pass these, you will receive your commercial learner’s permit (CLP).

The Code of Federal Regulations states that you must have your CLP for a minimum of 14 days before you can take your road skills test, and the maximum amount of time you can hold a CLP is 180 days. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is currently considering extending this to 365 days.

Medicals

As far as the medical forms are concerned, drivers are required to fill out the medical history portion of the Medical Examination Report (MER) Form, MCSA-5875.

If the Medical Examiner determines that the driver examined is physically qualified to drive a commercial motor vehicle in accordance with the physical qualification standards, the Medical Examiner will complete and provide the driver with a Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC), Form MCSA-5876.

The Different Commercial Driving Licence Classes

According to guidelines issued by DoT, there are three different classes of CDL depending upon the type of vehicle to be operated.

truck windowClass A License

You have to get this type of a license if you are driving a combination of vehicles with a weight of over 26,000 pounds, and the vehicle that is being towed is over 10,000 pounds.

For many states, this would include commercial vehicles that have trailers or semi-trailers with two or more axles.

To be able to get a Class A License you need to do get through all of the requirements needed to get a CDL which we have discussed earlier.

Depending on your particular vehicle, you may need to take extra endorsement exams. Firstly, you need to bring a class A vehicle to your driving skills test.

You may want or need to take the double-triple endorsement exam, which allows you to drive with double and triple trailers, and the combinations endorsement exam.

If your vehicle has air brakes, you’ll also need to take the air brakes endorsement test.

Class B License

Needed in order to drive single vehicles with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing a vehicle 10,000 pounds GVWR or less.

You are required to get all the paperwork done and bring a class B vehicle to your road skills test.

If you decide to drive a tank vehicle or one with air brakes, you will need to get endorsements.

Class C License

With this kind of license you will be able to drive vehicles with a GVWR or GCWR less than 26,001 pounds.

Class C is strictly for vehicles designed to carry 16 or more people (including the driver), or carrying hazardous materials requiring the vehicle to display placards.

The process of how to get a class C license is very similar to the class A or class B licenses though it depends on which type of vehicle you will be driving.

If you are just transporting passengers, you will need the passenger transport endorsement.

For driving a school bus, you’ll need the school bus driver endorsement. For hazardous materials transporting, you’ll need the Hazmat endorsement.

For hazardous materials, you will also need to undergo additional state and/or TSA background checks.

Wrapping It Up

Overall, these are the factors that a future truck driver should consider and follow in order to apply for a Commercial Driver’s License.

You should also keep in mind, that the most important element needed, is your determination and dedication.

Good luck!

What next?  Once you’re up and running you’ll want a good CB Radio to communicate with other drivers and logistics, and a good dash cam for your truck for added protection.

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