2016 Honda Civic A7 Maintenance: Bleeding the brakes (brake flush) by yourself

2016 honda civic

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The maintenance minder on your 2016 Honda Civic just lit up with the code A7. According to p. 481 of the Honda Owners Manual, this indicates that it’s time for you to replace the engine oil and brake fluid. If you’re anything like me, you were surprised that you would need to replace the brake fluid at such short intervals, however, Honda recommends it at least every three years. I’ve owned several cars and have never once changed the brake fluid, but this one is different. My 2016 Honda Civic EX is the first new car I’ve ever purchased. I’ve been following the routine maintenance schedule religiously since the day I bought it!

In this post I’ll skip the lesson on changing the engine oil and instead focus on the brake fluid. It occurred to me recently that this model of Honda has a neat feature called Brake Hold. It’s available on continuously variable transmission (CVT) models, and keeps the brake applied after releasing the brake pedal until the accelerator pedal is pressed. It’s meant to be used while the vehicle is temporarily stopped, like at traffic lights, in heavy traffic, or in a drive-thru. You enable the feature by fastening your seat belt, starting the engine, depressing the brake, and pressing the brake hold button located near the center console gear shifter.

Here’s a video from my YouTube channel with all the steps. Detailed instructions are below the video. Thanks for reading, and I wish you all the best!

Typical cost of a brake flush

My local Honda dealerships charge anywhere between $120 and $150 to perform a brake flush. After a few calls around town to other shops and mechanics, I learned that they charge about $80 for the job. Since my “FIRE” or “Rich” journey, or whatever you wanna call it is all about saving and investing, I’m going to teach you how to save that money. You can put it in your Roth IRA every few years and thank me when you’re a millionaire.

Bleeding brakes (performing a brake flush) is usually a two-person job.

Tools needed

  1. Car lift jack
  2. Tire iron
  3. 10mm wrench
  4. 3ft length of 3/16″ vinyl (or rubber) tubing
  5. Drain pan
  6. A fresh bottle of DOT 3 brake fluid

Standard (two-person) method

  1. Raise the vehicle and remove a tire.
  2. Remove the small rubber cap on the brake caliper bleed nipple, and attach a tight fitting tube to the nipple.
  3. Person one person loosens the brake caliper bleed nipple with a 10mm wrench.
  4. Person two depresses the brake completely and keeps it held down. This pushes fluid out of the system, through the hose, and into the drain pan.
  5. Person one tightens the bleed nipple.
  6. Person two releases the brake causing fresh brake fluid to be pulled in through the reservoir.
  7. Add fresh fluid to the reservoir.
  8. Repeat steps 3 – 7 until the fluid coming out of the tube is clean, fresh fluid. In my experience, this takes 3-4 repetitions per brake caliper.
  9. Repeat steps 3 – 8 for each brake caliper.

Brake Hold (one-person) method

  1. Raise the vehicle and remove a tire.
  2. Remove the small rubber cap on the brake caliper bleed nipple, and attach a tight fitting tube to the nipple.
  3. Loosen the brake caliper bleed nipple with a 10mm wrench.
  4. Fasten the driver-side seatbelt (without you behind it!)
  5. Depress the brake completely and press the Brake Hold button to enable brake hold. This pushes fluid out of the system, through the hose, and into the drain pan.
  6. Tighten the bleed nipple.
  7. Depress the brake completely and press the Brake Hold button to disable brake hold and release the brake. This causes fresh brake fluid to be pulled in through the reservoir.
  8. Add fresh fluid to the reservoir.
  9. Repeat steps 3 – 7 until the fluid coming out of the tube is clean, fresh fluid. In my experience, this takes 3-4 repetitions per brake caliper.
  10. Repeat steps 3 – 8 for each brake caliper.

As you can see, the Brake Hold method doesn’t require a second person! The brake hold system keeps the brakes engaged while you get out of the car and tighten the caliper bleed nipple. Now you can bleed your brakes at your convenience!

The MAN Himself

Author of Modern Guitar Method. Also, please listen to my new album. I think it's the best jazz album of 2021 and It's available everywhere!

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