The Minivac Fluid Extraction and Brake Bleeding Kit – Product Test
Motor car reliability and durability depends greatly on not only the quantity but also the condition of many different fluids and lubricants. Most of these liquids deteriorate with time and need either regular assessment or draining and replenishing. While automotive fluid extraction kits might be expensive, some of them require an air compressor to operate, a tool that most car owners do not possess.
Retailing at £49 (including postage), the Minivac Fluid Extraction and Brake Bleeding Kit seeks to provide an answer. Housed in a sturdy carry case, the kit includes a pump, several translucent sample pots of varying sizes and a selection of tubes. It requires neither compressed air nor electricity to work, as the pump is powered manually.
Although the kit’s plastic-moulded construction might give the impression of fragility, the sturdy grade of thick plastic used means that the parts are likely to survive most accidental damage. The various components fasten together easily and the pump handle’s well-oiled action is linear throughout its travel, without any sticking motion that would annoy the user.
I used the kit to extract diesel from a fuel filter housing, a task that was completed efficiently and effortlessly. Its next challenge was to draw a sample of engine coolant, measuring approximately 70 degrees Celsius from an expansion tank. Once again, the Minivac worked competently but the high temperature of the coolant caused the suction tube to soften, which meant that it fell from the main pump. However, once cooled, it reattached perfectly.
The brake bleeding ability was assessed, by attaching the kit to a closed brake nipple and manipulating the pump handle, to create a vacuum of approximately 0.5-bar. The kit is built well enough to maintain this pressure, which was indicated by the vacuum gauge, built into the top of the pump. On opening the nipple, the old brake fluid was sucked from the car’s braking system, with zero mess.
Yet, there is no provision for the unit to build pressure, it creates a vacuum solely, and this will limit its appeal. I might question the longer-term durability of the pump but, as the kit appeared to be well made externally, there is no reason to suspect that the innards would be of an inferior quality.
For DIY use, I would recommend the Minivac Fluid Extraction and Brake Bleeding Kit as a useful addition to any toolbox. It is well priced, simple to use, easy to clean and works efficiently.