How to Bleed the Brakes on a 1989 Toyota Corolla

Bleeding the brake lines means ridding the brake lines of air. The air in the lines will cause the brakes to respond more slowly to the depressions of the brake pedal. The air is able to be compressed, the brake fluid is not. When the fluid is forced through the brake lines in the 1989 Toyota Corolla by pressing the brake pedal, the fluid pushes the caliper piston to engage the brake pads with the rotors. If there is air in the lines the exchange will be impeded, leading to an inconsistent and possibly dangerous delay in brake response.

Tools Used: Assistant (for brake pedal depressions), Jack, Jack stands, Flashlight, Lug wrench, 10 mm wrench, Brake bleed kit (with clear tube), Fluid capture container, Brake fluid (DOT-3)

Bleed the Brakes

Park the Corolla on a flat surface. Leave the parking brake disengaged. Pull the hood release lever under the dashboard on the driver's side of the Toyota. Move to the engine compartment.

Lift the hood and remove the master cylinder cap. The cap is located on the right side of the compartment (the driver's side of the Corolla). Make sure there is an adequate level of fluid in the reservoir to begin the brake bleed. Look into the reservoir. Place an illuminated flashlight into the reservoir opening to help evaluate the fluid level. Place the master cylinder cap loosely over the container.

Loosen the lug nuts on the wheels with the lug wrench from the Toyota wheel maintenance kit. The kit is stowed in the truck of the car with the spare tire.

Lift the Corolla with the jack and rest the vehicle on jack stands.

Place the lifting jack beneath the frame at the rear of the vehicle. Lift the Corolla's back end and rest the vehicle on jack stands for support.

Remove the lug nuts and the rear tires from the wheel bolts.

Start at the right rear brake. Remove the rubber cap over the bleed valve. Place the 10 mm wrench onto the brake bleed valve. The valve is located on the back side of the brake caliper, between the two caliper slide bolts.

Attach the brake bleed kit tube to the bleed valve. Place the free end of the tube inside or just above the fluid capture container (drip pan or other container).

Begin pressing the brake pedal slowly (assistant). Press three times slowly, holding the pedal down at the end of the third depression.

Turn the wrench on the bleed valve to start the flow of brake fluid from the bleed valve.

Monitor the stream of fluid through the clear tube. Bubbles will appear in the stream of fluid. Once the fluid is clear of bubbles, close the bleed valve with the wrench and instruct the assistant to release the brake pedal.

Remove the bleed kit tube and wrench from the rear right brake bleed valve. Replace the rubber covering that protects the bleed valve tip.

Move to the left rear brake. Place the tube and wrench onto the bleed valve. Begin the brake pedal depressions and continue as you did on the right brake.

Remove the wrench and tube from the left brake bleed valve.

Return to the master cylinder and remove the cap. Add brake fluid to the reservoir to ensure that the reservoir will not empty during the bleeding. Use a funnel for accurate filling.

Remove the front tires from the wheel bolts.

Bleed the right front brake bleed valve and finally the left brake employing the same set of procedures as the rear brakes.

Remove the tube and wrench from the left front brake bleed valve.

Replace the wheels onto the Corolla's wheel bolts and screw on the lug nuts.

Lift the front end with the jack and remove the jack stands. Lower the front tires to the ground.

Lift the back end and remove the jack stands. Lower the vehicle to the ground.

Tighten the lug nuts on all four wheels with the lug wrench.

Check the brake fluid level in the master cylinder and replenish the reservoir as necessary. Replace the cap securely onto the container and close the Corolla's hood.

Tips & Warnings

Dispose of wasted brake fluid properly. Go to epa.gov to find your State's regulations for hazardous materials disposal.

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