What kind of do you need to fix your own brakes? It depends on what type of brake system your vehicle has. If your vehicle has drum and disk brakes, you're going to need a few extra tools than if your vehicle has only disk type.
Let's start with drum brakes, a large percentage of vehicles on the road still have drum brakes on the rear axle. To replace the rear shoes you're going to need a pair of brake spring pliers and a hold down spring tool.
You can use a flat blade screw driver and a pair of pliers if you have too, but having the right tools just makes the job a lot easier and faster. Not to mention the skin on your knuckles you save.
The front disk brakes will most likely require the use of Torx© or Allen type sockets to remove the caliper bolts. Then you will need a brake caliper piston tool to push the piston back into the caliper bore.
makes the perfect brake tool set that has all of above tools plus a few others included for servicing both cars and light trucks. Like adjuster spoons for adjusting the rear shoes after you install them. It also includes a tool for screwing in the rear caliper pistons if your vehicle has rear disk brakes.
The KD brake tool set is an excellent value. I've spent way more money on the brake spring pliers alone when I bought them off the tool truck that comes to my shop. Since Amazon started carry professional level tools, I don't buy anything off the tool truck anymore.
What About Brake Bleeding Tools?
You can go from mild to wild in this department. You can buy 1 man bleeder kits for as little as a few bucks, to air operated brake bleeders that run into the hundreds of dollars.
I've done it both ways. The best bang for the buck is the Mityvac 7300 Pneumatic Air Operated Fluid Evacuator. Notice I said fluid evacuator? It will drain all of the other oils or fluids in your vehicle besides the brake fluid. It comes with a special hose just for bleeding brakes. And at a price less than a lot of other tools that are only for bleeding brakes. Plus you can change your engine oil, transmission fluid and differential oil with it too! I have one and I love it. Of all the brake bleeding tools I've owned over the last 30 plus years, this one is my favorite. Mine is air powered, if you don't have an air compressor, you can order the hand pump version instead.
If you buy the brake tool set above and theMityvac fluid evacuator, you'll be totally set up to work on probably 95 percent of the vehicles on the road today. And if you buy them through Amazon you'll save a ton of dough. I bought mine from my local parts house and paid $125, crap. Now I find the deal… to late for me, but not you.
When installing new brakes it's a good idea to change the brake fluid.
- Take your new bleeding tool and suck out all the fluid from the brake master cylinder.
- Refill the master cylinder with clean brake fluid.
- Starting at the right rear wheel, hook up your bleeder tool and crack the bleeder valve a 1/4 turn.
- Let it bleed until you see clear fluid. Close the bleeder screw.
- Do this to each wheel.
If afterward, the brake pedal feels kinda spongy, have an assistant hold pressure on the brake pedal and go around to each wheel and crack each bleeder one more time. This time without the bleeder tool. Sometimes when using the bleeder tool you get a tiny air bubble left over and you have to manually “clear” it. Recheck your brake pedal and you should be good to go.
Unless, you don't have the rear brake shoes adjusted tight enough. That too will cause a low brake pedal. Just bust out your new brake adjustment tool from your new brake tool set and tighten them up and you should be all set. And by tighten, I mean a light drag. If you have to struggle to turn the wheel after you adjust them, they're too tight.