Image of soft brake pedal source KnowHow
Most drivers focus on improving the speeds of their vehicles. Are you among them? There is more to a car other than just the speed. You need to look at other critical aspects.
One of the things that should concern you is the brake performance. This is the impact that the car’s brake system can have on a vehicle.
After all, it will be meaningless to go very fast if you won’t be able to slow down or even stop the car effectively.
While there are numerous performance issues surrounding the brake system, we are going to focus on the spongy brakes.
How Do Spongy Brakes Feel?
Image of spongy brakes source Auto Guru
Have you ever experienced the spongy brakes issue?
This feeling usually comes about when the brake pedals seem to be closer than usual. Some people call it a squeamish or mushy feeling of the brake pedals.
The brake pedals are generally softer than how they should be. Under normal circumstances, the brake pedal should be firm or rigid.
The brake pedal should be solid in such a way that you should apply gradually rather than instantly.
So, you should be concerned when the pedals are spongy or softer than usual.
Causes of Spongy Brakes and Their Solutions
By now you should know that spongy brakes prob is not a normal occurrence. It is a problem that needs to be addressed.
So what are the causes of a soft brake problem and how can I solve it?
We are answering this question by highlighting the most common causes of spongy brakes and their respective solutions:
1. Presence of air in the brake lines
This is the most common cause of the spongy brake pedals. This is because the presence of air in the brake lines can prevent the smooth flow of the brake fluid.
In doing so, it makes the brake pedal to feel smooth or spongy.
One thing about air is it causes an imbalance of air in the brake line. When there is low pressure, the brake will take longer to respond to the brake pedal. This is what is known as the soft brake problem.
Air will always find its way into the brake line when there is a leakage or when there is low brake fluid.
2. Damaged Brake Line
Image of damaged brake line source Know Your parts
Although the brake lines are made of steel tubing, they can also get damaged. The most common cause of brake line damage is rust and corrosion.
Once the small holes or perforations develop on the brake line, the brake fluid will eventually leak out.
The leakage of the brake fluid will lead to loss of hydraulic pressure. This will eventually make the brake pedals to feel soft or spongy.
3. Damaged Brake Calipers
Image of brake caliper source Car Throttle
Just like the brake lines, disc brake calipers can also get damaged. Calipers are brake system components that hold the brake pads against the brake rotors.
The calipers can rust and corrode making them malfunction.
The effect of the damaged brake caliper will be felt by other disc brake components. It can make the internal piston to leak the brake fluid.
The leakage of the brake fluid will eventually lead to the spongy brake effect. The brake pedal will get to the floor.
Damaged calipers can also lead to the reduction of the brake fluid pressure hence causing the brake pull effect.
4. Warped Brake Cylinder
The master cylinder is a brake system component that is in charge of distributing hydraulic pressure in the brake line.
Like most brake components such as brake pad, brake shoes, and brake rotors, the master cylinder also wears out with time.
If this happens, it means that there will be less pressure to be exerted on the brake fluid which is in the brake line.
You will find this out when the brake becomes too spongy.
5. Low Levels of Brake Fluid
Do you know that the low levels of brake fluid can lead to spongy brake? This is likely to be the cause when all the other brake system components are intact.
The brake reacts to the brake pedal by initiating the stopping power of the vehicle.
In a similar way that the brake pads wear, the level of the brake fluids decreases with time.
Leakage can also lead to the declining level of the brake fluid.
6. Brake Pad and Brake Shoe Adjustment
When you step on the brake pedal to stop or slow down the vehicle, the impact is implemented by the brake pads for the disc brakes and brake shoes for the drum brake.
If the pedal feels soft or spongy, there is a high chance that the problem could be with either the brake pad or the brake shoes.
Maybe these tow brake system components are not adjusted properly to their respective positions.
How to Diagnose a Soft Brake Problem
Bleeding brakes image source Dummies.com
Now that you know the causes of the soft brake, the next step is to find their solution.
Diagnosing spongy brakes simply entails implementing the solutions to the problems that we have listed above.
If the issue is caused by leakage of the brake fluid, you need to fix the leak on the brake line. You should follow up on this solution by bleeding the brake system.
If the problem is caused by the presence of air in the brake line, then find out where the air is getting into the system then block such openings.
Of course, this is after looking for ways of how to get the air out of brake lines.
If the spongy brake problem is caused by a damaged brake line or worn out master cylinder, then you should consider replacing these two brake components.
While some solutions are DIY, others may require you to hire specialists or technicians.
Where to Buy Quality Brake System Components
As we have seen, one of the causes of spongy brakes is damaged brake components.
This can be warped master cylinder, damaged brake lines or even ineffective brake calipers.
A reliable brake components manufacturer in China should be able to sell you the needed components.
In case you have issues with the price, then you should look for an affordable brake components manufacturer in China.