Is it possible to bleed hydraulic disc brakes without buying a kit? If so, how would I go about doing it?

I have Shimano BR-M355 brakes, but the question is also applicable to other manufacturers.

What would I need to be able to bleed these brakes, and how does the end result compare? In the UK a Shimano kit is approx. £30 [Sept 2016] including brake fluid.

  • 3
    It would be helpful if you provided information on the type of brakes you are looking to bleed. But generally all parts are able to be sourced from hardware stores (although some bits such as hose barbs may require specialised stores) as long as you are paying attention to what rubbers and plastics react with different brake fluids.
    – DWGKNZ
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 20:03
  • Questions with yes/no answers are not really a good fit for this site. Please take the tour to get to know how to make best use of the site.
    – Móż
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 1:43
  • 1
    Attempted to edit the question to make it more appropriate for this forum.
    – RoboKaren
    Commented Sep 14, 2016 at 2:24

2 Answers 2


It depends on your brakes.

Some models need nothing more than a couple of short lengths of plastic hose, a cloths peg and syringe. Others need fittings to attach the hose(s) to the brakes, and you may or may not find something else to do the job in a hardware shop.

Kits are mostly relatively cheap and probably cost no more than individual bits purchased from a shop. Some kits are expensive (Avid comes to mind) - probably because you have no choice and have to buy it for the proprietary bits needed to do the job.

  • Even the avid elixir hose barbs can be found online cheaply. Just avoid silicone rubber products for mineral oil. DOT 4 and 5.1 fluids are safe with most compounds (all the common ones).
    – DWGKNZ
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 20:40

Yes, the model is very important; if you can tell us we could help you with more precise answers.

On the other hand as mentioned above, it is very important to check the fitting, and probably this could come cheap if bought off Ebay (or similar). What is often expensive is the oil or lubricants if bought from the company making the brakes (Sram, Magura, ...). What you need to do is check online on forums or on the specification of the brakes what fluids they use, and then just buy the generic Dot 4, or other, from your hardware shop, or online. There you'll save a lot.

I did it in the past and it is bombproof as a system.

Hope it helps

  • @Móż never said check the fitting.
    – Criggie
    Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 7:15
  • 1
    then it was mattnz...sorry Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 7:25

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