How to loosen a stripped brake bleeder valve

Written by jule pamplin
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How to loosen a stripped brake bleeder valve
(Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

A stripped bleeder valve will make break pad replacement difficult and brake fluid changing even more so. During the pad replacement, the bleed valve needs to be opened so that the excess brake fluid that is expelled while opening the brake caliper, does not return through the brake line. Allowing it to be forced back into the lines can cause serious damage. For flushing or bleeding the brake lines, you need to open the valve to allow the old fluid to flow from the lines; a much easier process than actually disconnecting the brake line from the caliper. In the event that the valve screw becomes stripped, you can still remove the bleeder valve and perform the necessary brake maintenance properly.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Tire iron
  • Lifting jack
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Hacksaw
  • Flat screwdriver
  • Large bucket
  • Blow torch
  • Hammer

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Loosen the lug nuts on the wheel of the stripped brake line bleeder valve, with the socket of the tire iron.

  2. 2

    Lift the vehicle with the lifting jack. Place the jack beneath the frame of the vehicle, near the location of the targeted valve. Place jack stands beneath the frame of the vehicle.

  3. 3

    Remove the lug nuts and pull the wheel from the wheel bolts. If the stripped valve is on one of the front wheels, turn the steering wheel away from the side of the affected valve, to gain better access to the caliper bolts.

  4. 4

    Remove the caliper bolts on the side of the caliper. The caliper is the metal apparatus that brackets the brake rotor. The two bolts can be removed using an adjustable wrench. A specifically sized wrench can work better; consult your vehicle owner's manual for the exact tool.

  5. 5

    Pull the caliper from the rotor. Remove the brake pads from the caliper. The exact process for removing the brake pads varies among vehicles.

  6. 6

    Make a crosscut on the top of the stripped bleeder valve with a hacksaw. Make sure that the new grooves are deep enough to accommodate a flat screwdriver.

  7. 7

    Heat the area of the stripped valve with a blowtorch. The valve does not need to be scorched but heated by 5 or 6 steady passes with the flame of the torch.

  8. 8

    Place the entire caliper in a bucket of cool water. Pull the caliper from the water after 30 seconds.

  9. 9

    Place the flat screwdriver into the newly made groove of the brake fluid bleed valve. Tap the handle of the screwdriver to ensure that the blade is fully seated into the groove. Twist the bleed valve counter-clockwise to remove it from the caliper.

Tips and warnings

  • Replace the bleed valve with a new valve once the stripped valve is removed.

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