Is only speed most essential when driving a vehicle? Of course not, bringing a vehicle to a full stop is as important as the speed of the vehicle. If your vehicle takes longer or requires more effort to make a stop, it can create an unsafe condition for you and your vehicle.
A good braking system has a firm brake pedal that allows for the quick brake. If you feel that brake pedal is losing its firmness and making it spongy and squishy, you should immediately get your vehicle’s braking system inspected by an expert mechanic.
Here, you will learn some possible reasons that cause a brake pedal to become spongy and soft and also get to know the solutions for quick fixing.
Causes of Spongy/Soft or Low Brake Pedal
There are a number of reasons that make the brake pedal ineffective while pressing it down. It is important to know the reasons to get around the problem and find the right solution.
#1 – Old or Contaminated Brake Fluid
The brake fluid requires to be changed at least once every two years. If you don’t change the brake fluid over a long period, it accumulates moisture that causes poor brake performance. In this case, a complete cleanout of the brake system is required to sort out this problem.
#2 – Air In The Brake Line
Having the air into the brake line is the most common cause of spongy brake. The air restricts the fluid from flowing properly that further affects the evenly distributed hydraulic pressure which makes the brake squishy. To get rid of the air, bleeding the brake is the only solution.
By bleeding or flushing the brake fluid, the air gets released from the brake system and when you add fresh fluid, it doesn’t only protect the brake system but also increases the life of many brake components.
#3 – Leak In The Brake Line
The brake lines are made of steel tubing; therefore, they are more prone to get corroded by rust. Over time, the rust makes the brake lines brittle and causes small holes on it which makes the brake fluid to leak out. Due to the leak, the fluid level gets decreased resulting in a low hydraulic pressure which makes the brake feel soft and loose.
If you notice that the brake system of your vehicle is gradually losing its firmness, you should check the brake lines if there is any leak, get it replaced immediately.
#4 – Leak In The Disc Brake Caliper
The disc brake caliper plays an eminent role in bringing the vehicle to a halt. But sadly, this component also gets corroded with rust. The corrosion leads to making the disc brake caliper weak that causes a leak in it. Due to leaking brake fluid, the brake pedal becomes too low causing the spongy and soft brake.
Apart from the soft brake, if you notice your vehicle pulls to one side while applying the brake, the damaged disc brake caliper could be the reason for it. And it requires instant replacement of this component.
#5 – Damaged Master Cylinder
This is the master cylinder that holds the brake fluid and produces the hydraulic pressure which actually makes the brake system perform its job. But unfortunately, it gets corroded from rust that makes it fragile and causes holes on its body through that brake fluid leaks out. Leakage of brake fluid means loss of hydraulic pressure that directly affects the working of the braking system and makes the brake pedal soft and spongy.
#6 – Rear Brake Shoe Adjustment
The brake pedal can also become spongy if the rear brake shoes are out of adjustment. When these rear brake shoes get worn out, the adjustment is needed. However, if you use the parking brake, the adjustment is done automatically with this. So you should prefer to use parking brake occasionally.
How to Fix Spongy Brake Pedal
#1 – Pump the Brake Pedal Gently
If you are not sure whether this is the air that causing the brake pedal to become soft, the best thing you can do to become certain about the cause is that you pump the brake pedal gently consecutively for a number of times, if you feel, the pedal is becoming firmer then it is sure the air is the real culprit. In this case, you only need to bleed the entire brake system and refill it with fresh fluid. And make sure you fill the reservoir to the level given in the user manual. And this will usually solve this problem.
#2 – Check Signs of Leaking Fluid and Fix them
First, look for the leakage in all parts of the braking system including brake line, disc brake caliper, and the master cylinder. If you see the signs of leakage on any of these parts, take your vehicle to an expert mechanic after completely bleeding the brake system. In such case, the brake system requires the replacement of the leaking component. And the replacement should be done by the expert only.
We hope the listed scenarios are enough to help you find out the cause of the soft brake pedal. However, fixing the issue of the soft brake pedal on your own is a good decision but only then if you have enough knowledge and practice of dealing with car parts. Brake system is a very crucial part of your vehicle, anything wrong with this can cause heavy loss. Therefore you should not attempt to do the repair unless you are enough confident and skilled.