Why do your car’s brakes feel soft or spongy?

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Brake fluid leaks can cause a spongy pedal. The most common place for them to occur is around your wheels.

Your car’s brakes use hydraulic pressure to slow down and stop your vehicle when the pedal is pressed. When the pedal is pressed, the brake fluid transfers pressure to the front and rear brakes. This works because brake fluid is incompressible. If your car’s braking system loses hydraulic pressure, it may not work properly. One of the first signs you will notice is a soft or spongy brake pedal.

There are several things that can lead to a spongy brake pedal. However, the primary issue is generally either a lack of brake fluid or contamination in the brake fluid.

It is important that a soft brake pedal is inspected as soon as possible. This is because it can lead to many other issues in your braking system. As the problem progresses, your car may take longer to stop. This can greatly affect its overall safety or lead to a failed Warrant of Fitness.


Causes of a soft or spongy brake pedal:

  • Air in the brake lines – Although the brake fluid is stored in an airtight reservoir, small amounts of air eventually find their way in. These air pockets can affect the brake fluid’s ability to slow down your car as well as cause spongy brakes. For this reason, most mechanics will recommend that you check the brake fluid in between oil changes and replace it once every four years. Bleeding the brakes will remove the air, allowing for smoother, safer braking.
  • Leaking or corrosion in brake lines – Your brake lines are responsible for transferring brake fluid throughout your vehicle. If they leak due to corrosion or other damage, your brake fluid levels will slowly deplete. As your brake fluid gets lower, you will experience a loss in hydraulic pressure, leading to spongy brakes.
    How to find a brake fluid leak
  • Overheated brakes – If you brake aggressively or put a lot of pressure on your braking system, the brake fluid can boil, leading to reduced brake effectiveness. This is because when the brake fluid becomes a gas, it loses its hydraulic properties. Although the fluid will eventually go back to normal, it is recommended that you avoid overheating your brakes as it can cause several problems.
  • Damaged wheel cylinder – The wheel cylinder’s job is to put pressure on the brake shoes, allowing for the car to slow down. If the wheel cylinder is damaged or corroded, it can leak brake fluid.
  • Damaged brake calipers – Similar to the wheel cylinders, the brake calipers can also be affected by corrosion. This can lead to brake fluid leaking from them.

Brake fluid bleeding & replacement in Hamilton


Soft/Spongy Brake Diagnostics, Inspection & Replacement in Hamilton

Have you been experiencing a lack of pressure in your braking system? If so, we can help you fix the problem! At Grimmer Motors, our team of excellent mechanics can inspect, service, and fix your braking system. This allows for a massive increase in the safety of your vehicle.

Bring your vehicle in for a free 10-minute brake pre-check and we’ll help you locate the problem. From there, we can provide you with great advice and solutions to your car’s brake problems.

For car brake part replacement in Hamilton, contact Grimmer Motors today!


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