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Procedure for bleeding the Brakes on a 1997 Toyota Starlet

This is the last job I carried out on my car this weekend. It's really simple and makes a massive difference for some.

My brake pedal was really spongy, I only really noticed how bad it was till I had to drive my Dad's Yaris, which brakes are really good.

If you press your brake pedal and it travels a long way down before braking or if your brakes feel soft or spongy, this simple fix might help.

Before starting, remember that brake fluid is poisonous, flammable and a really effective PAINT STRIPPER.

Here the tools you'll need;

A jam jar with a lid and hole in it

a piece of plastic or rubber tubing which fits tightly over the bleed screw (it needs to be clear so you can see the brake fluid inside)

brake fluid DOT 3 or 4

8mm spanner

wire brush and a clean rag

and an assistant

Firstly, locate your master cylinder reservoir in your engine and make sure it is filled up to the MAX line.


It will have a warning on it to only use brake fluid.


Do not let the level drop below the minimum line when you are bleeding the brakes if you do you will let air into the system and you will have to bleed the whole system again.

Next chock the wheels just in case, you'll be under the car so better safe than sorry.

Take the rubber caps of the bleed screw and with your wire brush clean the area around the screw, then give it a wipe with a clean cloth.

The bleed screw is the little valve that sticks out at the back of each of your brakes.


Get your assistant to sit in the car and pump the brakes a few times until it is stiff, then get him/her to push a final time but to hold the pressure on the pedal until you tell them to take it off.

Put some new brake fluid into the jar or some oil as i used, this is to stop the old fluid from running out once you take the tubing of the screw.



Work through the bleed screws in this order, left back brake, right back brake, left front brake, right front brake.

Place your 8mm spanner over the bleed screw then place your tubing over the rest of the end.



Now have your assistance depress the brake pedal for the final time and hold it there. Now turn the bleed screw half a turn or so till the brake fluid starts to flow out. Your assistant will feel the brake pedal move down as they keep the pressure on it, make sure they until you when the pedal is near the floor so you can retighten the screw to let them pump the pedal again, DO NOT let them take their foot off the pedal till you have tightened the screw.

Keep a look out for air bubbles, once there are no air bubbles you can stop.

Move on to you next wheel and do the same thing. Don't forget to put the rubber cover back onto the bleed screw then you're done, and make sure you don't spill any brake fluid onto any paint.

Your brakes should now feel a lot stiffer and not travel so much.

If is recommended that you change your brake fluid every 2 years.

To do this simply use something like a syringe to suck out the old fluid from the reservoir, DO NOT USE YOUR MOUTH TO SUCK IT OUT, IT'S POISONOUS.

Refill the reservoir with new fluid then bleed the brakes the same as above till the new fluid starts to come out.

Hope this helps someone out there save a bit of cash.

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