I just had an issue with my brakes that was incredibly hard to find due to a sneaky leak and additionally a brake (back-passenger-side) needing bled 10-15 times.

Is 10-15 times normal? My brake before this went to the floor, so I'm guessing my case is extreme but I am new to vehicle maintenance and was curious how many times is normal? The impression I got from my Dad was 1-5 and he acted like 5 was an extreme case.

  • Are you saying you had to pump the pedal 15 times or you did the entire bleed procedure 15 times? What type of vehicle? – mikes Aug 30 '14 at 19:06
  • Bleed procedure 15 times, we pumped the pedal 3-10 times (started out 10 then quickly got sick of that ended at 3 pumps). – Shelby115 Aug 30 '14 at 22:40

Your impression was right - 5 is pretty extreme, if we're counting bleeds per wheel. It's very seldom I go beyond 3 unless the caliper (disk) or wheel cylinder (drum) is brand-new and completely empty. The pedal can move a lot of fluid in one pump.

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    Assuming its not ABS, you are correct. If it's ABS then Allan's answer is more relevant. +1 – HasH_BrowN Sep 8 '14 at 23:58

Bleeding brakes by pumping the pedal by foot is old technology, and is not really suitable for vehicles fitted with ABS systems. The ABS system will have solnoids and their pistons, together with accumalators, which all hold brake fluid and can be air. To 'flatten' and evacuate these components requires pumping the pedal 40-50 times, and is not always fully effective, before pumping by foot. The way to bleed ABS brake systems is with a pressure bleeder, a scanner(or other tool) to activate the ABS system pump. The system is then bled nipple by nipple in sequence whilst operating the ABS pump whilst a nipple is open. Anything else can leave the accumalators with trapped air in them and not allow a solid brake when the servo is vented of vacuum.

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  • Boy, another reason for me to not like ABS...! 8) – TDHofstetter Sep 9 '14 at 22:55

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