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Toyota Corolla Brake Line Fluid Bleeding Guide
How to "bleed" or flush the brake lines of a 2003 to 2008 Toyota Corolla with fresh DOT3 fluid including pictures.

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Paul B. Michaels
Author & Photographer
Auto Mechanic Since 1989

New Brake Fluid $3.42 Each
Corolla Rear Wheel
Loosen Five Lug Nuts
This automotive "how-to" guide was specifically written to assist owners of the ninth generation (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 & 2008) Toyota Corolla in flushing or "bleeding" out the brake lines to replace old dirty brake fluid with fresh DOT 3 or DOT 4 brake fluid to restore braking performance.

Owners of other Toyota, Scion or Lexus vehicle such as the Matrix, Camry, Yaris, Avalon, Sienna, RAV4, FJ Cruiser, Venza, Highlander, 4Runner, Sequoia, Land Cruiser, Tacoma, Tundra, tC, xB, xD, iQ, FR-S, IS 250, and ES 350 may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The items needed to complete this procedure include a floor jack, jack stands, some new DOT 3 brake fluid, a tire iron or lug nut wrench, an 8mm wrench, rubber tubing, an old brake fluid catch bottle and either a Motive Products Power Bleeder kit or an assistant to pump the brake pedal.

Update - I now recommend the Allstar Performance Bleeder Bottle. It makes this an easy one man job.

ABS Information - If your Corolla is equipped with an anti-lock braking system or "ABS", the brake lines can still be bled in the traditional manner shown on this page. The only time you would need to also bleed the ABS modulator assembly would be if the ABS modulator itself has been replaced or serviced in such a way that would introduce air into the unit. If you are only replacing components that are "downstream" of the ABS modulator such as the brake pads, caliper or brake lines (rubber hoses), you will NOT need to bleed the ABS modulator. If you replace the ABS modulator itself or a component that feeds into the ABS modulator such as the master cylinder, a brake hose or a valve, you may introduce air into the system which would require bleeding the ABS modulator. To perform this procedure, use a bi-directional OBD2 Scanner that is specifically listed as having ABS bleeding capability for your vehicle.

Raise Vehicle - Floor Jack
Support With Jack Stands
Spin Off 5 Lug Nuts
The brake lines should be bled in order from the brakes furthest from the reservoir in the engine bay to the closest.

So on a Toyota Corolla, you would start by bleeding the rear passenger drum brake, then the rear driver side drum brake, the front passenger side disc brake and finally the front driver side disc brake located closest to the reservoir.

The first steps are to chock the front wheels, loosen the five lug nuts on the rear wheels, raise the rear of the vehicle with a floor jack and securely support it with the two jack stands.

Then spin off the five lug nuts on each rear wheel, pull off the wheels and set them aside in a safe place.

(If you have four jack stands, you can remove all four wheels to make the process easier.)

Rear Passenger Side Drum
Brake Fluid Bleeder Valve
Remove Rubber Valve Cap
Look on the back of the rear passenger side drum brake and locate the brake fluid bleeder valve.

Remove the rubber cap and set it aside in a safe place.

Power Bleeder Box
Motive Fluid Catch Bottle
Brake Fluid Reservoir
Remove the cap on the brake fluid reservoir by twisting it off counter clockwise and top it off with some fresh DOT 3 or DOT 4 brake fluid.

Keep in mind that brake fluid is hygroscopic (absorbs water), so replace the brake fluid reservoir cap whenever possible to prevent the brake fluid from becoming contaminated.

Remove Reservoir Cap
Set Up Power Bleeder
Attach Universal Adapter
If you have a Motive Products Power Bleeder kit, attach the universal brake fluid reservoir cap or the Toyota specific cap to the top of the brake fluid reservoir.

Pump the handle at the top of the Power Bleeder until the pressure gauge reaches about 10 PSI.

Some people choose to pour new brake fluid into the Power Bleeder and have it continuously refill the brake fluid reservoir as you flush the brake lines.

We found it less of a hassle to just use the Power Bleeder to maintain constant pressure on the reservoir, remove it, and re-fill the reservoir manually with more brake fluid as needed.

If you don't have a Power Bleeder kit, you'll need your assistant to sit in the driver's seat of the vehicle.

Attach the rubber tubing and old brake fluid catch bottle to the bleeder valve on the rear passenger side drum brake.

Have your assistant place pressure on the brake pedal as you crack open the bleeder valve with an 8mm wrench.

Instruct them to stop pushing on the pedal when it reaches 2/3 to 3/4 of the way down to the floorboard but not to release it.

Then close the valve and ask them to release the pedal. Repeat these steps multiple times for each brake assembly (RR, LR, RF, LF) until the brake fluid coming out of the bleeder valve is clear.


Achieve 10 PSI Pressure
Hang Catch Bottle
Attach Tube - Open Valve
Hang the Power Bleeder old brake fluid catch bottle above the rear passenger side drum brake and attach the tube securely to the bleeder valve.

Open the bleeder valve by turning it clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) and watch as the old brake fluid travels up through the rubber tubing into the catch bottle.

Check Reservoir Fluid Level
Check Power Bleeder Pressure
Close Bleeder Valve
Move to the engine bay as the brake fluid is being flushed out and check the level in the reservoir and also the PSI pressure level in the Power Bleeder unit.

When the brake fluid level in the reservoir approaches the half way point, go back to the drum brake and close the bleeder valve by turning it counter clockwise with the 8mm wrench.

Fluid Sensor - Other Side
Toyota-Corolla-Brake-Line-Fluid-Flushing-Guide-023 Toyota-Corolla-Brake-Line-Fluid-Flushing-Guide-024
Remove the rubber tubing from the bleeder valve and the catch bottle from the suspension.

Re-install the tubing and catch bottle to the bleeder valve and suspension on the rear driver side drum brake.

Repeat the process of opening the bleeder valve and be sure to check the level in the reservoir along with the pressure in the Power Bleeder unit.

Do not allow the level in the reservoir to dip below the "Low Brake Fluid" sensor located on the passenger side of the reservoir bottle.

Bleeding Front Disc Brake
Old Dirty Brake Fluid
Low Reservoir Level
Remove the Power Bleeder reservoir cap adapter and refill the reservoir with fresh brake fluid to the "Max" line.

Repeat all of the steps for the front passenger side disc brake and the front driver side disc brake.

Pour Out Old Brake Fluid
Detach Universal Adapter
Valvoline Brake Fluid
Once the catch bottle is almost full with old brake fluid, empty it out into an automotive catch container for proper disposal later.
Pour In New Brake Fluid
Re-Attach Universal Adapter
Flushing Rear Passenger
Repeat the process of filling up the brake fluid reservoir and bleeding each brake assembly from furthest to closest until the brake fluid coming out of the bleeder valves look almost completely clear.

We used two 12 ounce bottles of new brake fluid to thoroughly flush out the brake lines and re-fill the reservoir to the "Max" line.

Replace the brake fluid reservoir cap as soon as possible.

Brake Fluid Much Cleaner
Replace Bleeder Valve Caps
When you have finished flushing the brake lines, double check that all the bleeder valves are tight by turning them counter clockwise with the 8mm wrench.

Replace the rubber valve caps to help prevent debris from entering the valve stems.

Fill Reservoir To "Max"
Replace Reservoir Cap
Tighten Lug Nuts
Replace the wheels, spin on the lug nuts by hand to prevent them from becoming cross threaded, and tighten down the lug nuts to 1/4 to 1/2 turn past hand tight or about 75 lb-ft of torque with a torque wrench.

The service manual for the 2003-2008 Toyota Corolla specifies 76 lb-ft of torque for the wheel lug nuts.

Sit in the driver seat of the vehicle and pump the brake pedal a few times to restore brake line pressure.

If the brake pedal feels firm, take the car for a short test drive on low speed streets.

If the pedal is still very soft or sinks to the floor, you may need to repeat the procedure to clear out any remaining air bubbles or if your car has ABS, use a bi-directional OBD2 Scanner that is specifically listed as having ABS bleeding capability for your vehicle.

For more, please check out my other Toyota Corolla Repair & Maintenance Guides.

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