When you have a braking issue, bringing your car to a complete stop can take more effort than it should. Spongy brakes—also referred to as soft, squishy, or mushy brakes—can cause significant trouble if not tend to immediately with a proper brake inspection and service. Unfortunately, several problems could lead to spongy brake pedals. Here are some of the most common causes that we've seen at Autotrends:
#1: Air in the Brake Lines
Air in the brake lines is one of the most prevalent causes of abnormally soft brake pedals. Braking systems depend on evenly distributed hydraulic pressure to bring cars to a complete stopping point. Excess air in the lines will throw off the movement and result in additional time, distance, and/or effort for your car to stop. You may be thinking, "How does air even get in there anyway". And the answer is through leaks or too low brake fluid. Bleeding your brakes is a typical solution to get rid of the air and introduce clean fluid.
#2: Damaged Brake Lines
Brake lines are usually made of stainless steel. And just like most other metals, stainless steel can rust in certain conditions. Rust spots are no good because they can develop into tiny holes (causing leaks). The brake lines can also weaken, distort, and crack from obstructions, making them more sensitive to problems.
#3: Cylinder Wear
The cylinder is a section within the engine system, and it plays a vital role in distributing the hydraulic pressure. In other words, it helps with the flow of brake fluid. When this part breaks for whatever reason, you will find yourself having to press on the brake pedal a lot harder.
#4: Low Brake Fluid
Similar to how your brake pads wear thin over time, so can your brake fluid. The fluid could be old, used up, or there could be a leak within the system. It is so essential to get regular vehicle inspections and top off your fluids when needed.
#5: Damaged Disc Brake Caliper
This sign isn't as easy to detect for the average person. All the heat generated in your braking system can damage your car's disc brake calipers. You can tell if the calipers are the culprit if you notice your vehicle pulling to one side whenever you press on the brakes.
Everyone needs a dependable braking system to be comfortable and safe when driving. So if you start to notice an unusual feeling with your brakes, do not hesitate to give Autotrends a call or visit!