The primary causes of spongy brakes are leaks in the brake lines and disc caliper, issues with worn cylinders, problems with wheel cylinders, and insufficient adjustment to the brake shoes.
The braking system is one of the very critical systems in your vehicle that affect your safety. With a failiing braking system, you don't only put your lives at risk but also the passengers’ and other people on the road.
One of the common symptoms that you need to keep an eye on is spongy brakes. Spongy brakes can happen due to simple issues, while they can be linked to major problems requiring immediate mechanic attention.
This article will tell you the entire story about the spongy brakes issues. It will highlight the main causes along with some recommended solutions to fix their spongy brake pedal.
Causes of spongy brakes
when you feel that your brakes are spongy or they go to the floor faster and lower than usual, then you might be dealing with a major issue. You must have the vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic immediately.
The good news is that when your brakes feel spongy, it could be related to one of the following issues:
problems with air getting to the brake’s lines
the first and most obvious cause for your vehicle's spongy brakes is when the air gets into the brake’s lines. The baselines are pressurized all the time, and there shouldn't be any error in them because it affects the pressure level and disturbs the performance.
When air makes its way to the brake lines, it will affect the brake fluid performance, and therefore, you will notice that the brakes are feeling spongier.
If you confirm that your brake problem is coming from the air, it is a perfect time now for performing what's called brake bleeding. During brake bleeding, the mechanic puts fluid inside the brake lines to push the air bubbles out.
By pouring new fresh brake fluids, you will get rid of the air and enhance and extend the lifetime of your vehicles braking system, including protecting the ABS and the master cylinder.
Issues with leaking brake lines
for your vehicle to operate properly, it requires a certain braking fluid level to ensure that your vehicle responds and stops whenever you hit the brake pedal. However, if there is insufficient brake fluid in the vehicle, your vehicle pedal will feel spongy.
Brake fluid leak is not a rare problem. You might be dealing with those at any point of your vehicle's lifetime. keep in mind that this problem is very significant. Depending on the severity of the leak, you might be putting yourself at risk of crashes because you won't be able to stop the vehicle right on time.
Any signs of brake fluid leaks should be taken seriously, and you must visit the nearest repair shop to get rid of them completely. Unfortunately, detecting the location of any leak in your vehicle is a challenging process and requires a certain level of mechanical skill sets along with some specific equipment.
It is recommended that you take care of any fluid leaks as fast as possible because If the problem wasn't taken care of, you might introduce significant catastrophic results.
troubles with the disc brake calipers
similar to what we discussed in the brake lines; the disc brake caliper has a certain brake fluid level. When this fluid drops, it will disturb its performance, and you will feel that the brake pedal feels spongy.
Brake fluid leaks can also happen around the disc brake calipers, mostly because of either corrupted or damaged internal piston seals. Any leaks should be taken care of immediately, and all faulty components must be changed to prevent major repair costs.
Problems with major damages in the master cylinder
One of the most critical components of your breathing system is the master cylinder. Automotive experts describe it as the heart of your braking system.
The master cylinder is responsible for performing the most job in the braking system. It first holds and contains all the braking fluid since the required amount of hydraulic pressure to the entire hydraulic system in the braking system and takes care of feeding the rear brakes.
Over time of use, the master cylinder will develop some leaks and face internal damages. The cylinder is not designed to last forever, and there will be a point in time where we have to deal with such problems.
The master cylinder leak can be internal or external. Both leaks should be taken care of immediately because the problem is very serious and can put your life and the passengers' lives at risk.
With a completely damaged master cylinder, your vehicle's braking system fails, and you cannot drive this car safely.
Issues with the wheel cylinder leaks
brake fluid leak does not only happen around the master cylinder or in the lines; it can also happen around the cylinder wheels.
Of course, this problem only happens with certain vehicles equipped with disc brakes mounted to the front area of the wheel.
Since the Pistons of this wheel cylinder usually move around the shoes, they can face severe pressure that could slow them down and result in a lot of corrosion. Once the wheels get corroded, you will feel that the brakes are spongier than before.
problems in the brake shoe adjustment
well, it might sound that most spongy brakes happened because of fluid leaks; there are situations where your vehicle's brake will feel spongy just because of an adjustment issue.
Over time of use and as the shoe wears out, it might experience some issues with the adjustment. That's why automotive experts usually recommend checking on the shoe to see whether it's in the right position or not.
One good way to automatically adjust the brake shoe is why activating the parking brake. It is recommended that the parking brake should be activated occasionally to take care of any adjustment issues.
Again, if the problem was not resolved by engaging the parking brakes, you must have the vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic as soon as possible. Otherwise, complications can be very severe.
Malfunction in the ABS assembly
for vehicles equipped with an AVS, there is what's known as the ABS modulator. This modulator contains several solenoids and different valves. If any of these solenoids get damaged due to corrosion or leaks, you'll notice that the braking pedal will feel spongier.
How to fix the spongy brake pedal?
Now you're fully aware of the different causes that Might result in spongy brakes, it is time to understand how we can resolve the problem?
Before you find any solutions for fixing the braking system, it is important to confirm that your problem comes from the brakes, not from something else. Therefore, you have to have certain thorough diagnostics and confirmed the culprits.
Performing any unnecessary repairs can cost you unnecessary money and introduce some problems to other components if you don't have the required level of skill sets.
According to automotive experts, if you have a good mechanical skill set, you don't even need to visit a professional mechanic, and you can simply do the diagnosis yourself.
here are some tips and tricks that you can follow to fix spongy brake pedal:
did you perform any brakes repairs recently?
- If that's the case, air can easily get to the brake lines and cause some troubles affecting the performance of your braking system, as we discussed earlier. If that's the case, you might need to end up doing the brake system bleeding, as we also mentioned.
- Brake bleeding should be done in a certain way, depending on your vehicle's type and condition. There are several bleeding procedures that you might follow, but you have to check with your vehicle’s owner’s manual or consults a mechanic to select the proper bleeding procedure that works for your vehicle without causing any damages.
- After cleaning any air from the brake system, check again and see if the problem is gone. If the brakes are still spongy, it means that you need to take a second look at something else. Unfortunately, you might end up in a situation where the problem can't be resolved unless you bring in a professional mechanic.
If you don't recall servicing the braking system recently, you might need to do a different type of diagnostics.
- The first thing you don't want to happen is brake leaks. Therefore, take a closer look at the brake fluid level and see if it's dropping. Sometimes if the leak is severe, you might see fluid drops on the floor, indicating an issue.
- Of course, if there is any leak in your braking system, you might need to consult a professional mechanic to check whether you can drive the vehicle to the nearest repair shop or not. There are some severe leaks where you can't even drive the car. Thus, do not attempt to move the vehicle unless you're 100% sure you can do it.
- If there are no leaks in your braking system, your next step is to take a closer look at the brake pads. Sometimes the pads can wear out extremely, which might cause some spongy feel as you're hitting them. Unfortunately, if the brakes are worn out, the only solution is to replace them to get your vehicle to move back properly.
Now, if none of the mentioned checks worked for you and you could not detect any issue, then it's the right time now to take your vehicle to the professional mechanic as soon as possible. Mechanics have advanced toolsets to help them determine the culprit easily without wasting time and effort.
How much does it cost to fix spongy brakes?
Of course, the problem depends heavily on your vehicle type, along with the primary root of the problem. However, according to automotive experts, most spongy repair costs range from $200 to $300.
Labor cost can be a big component if you decide to go to a dealership where the hourly rate is much higher than a private small repair shop.
Is it worth fixing my spongy brakes?
Money is not the top priority here because we're talking about one of the systems that directly affects your safety. Therefore, if you think it's not worth fixing the spongy brakes, you'd better not drive this vehicle because it can be extremely dangerous not only for you but also for all people around you.
Thus, deciding whether the spongy brake repairs are worth it or not should not be a question, and you have to get the problem resolved to stay safe.
If you think that your vehicle's value is not worth it and you don't want to spend more money on it, then you'd better sell this car and use the payment towards a better vehicle.
If you're looking for someone to purchase your car that has significant damages in the braking system, we're all here to help you.
Cash cars buyer is one of the fewest companies that guarantee to buy your car even if it has major complications in the braking system and the engine or the transmission.
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Any simple issue in the braking system can be very scary, although some of these issues might be linked to simple problems. If you're dealing with spongy brakes, your problem might be related to some internal brake fluid leaks or physical adjustment to the brake shoe.
Whatever the reason is behind your spongy brakes, you must take care of the problem as soon as possible, so you don't put your life at risk and prevent major complications down the road.
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