If pressing the brake pedal in your car brings words to mind like "squishy" or "spongy," your brake system may be in need of some attention. The brake pedal on your car should never feel soft under your foot. In fact, it should always be firm, but responsive. If your brake pedal doesn't have the same resistance that it used to, there are a few likely reasons. Here are a few things you can check for.
Punctured or Worn Brake Lines
Most brake lines are crafted from steel or similar material. Over time, that material can begin to corrode, especially if you live in an area where the roads are salted in the winter or you're near the ocean. The salt content can encourage the development of rust, which can thin the brake lines and cause cracks.
When the brake line is damaged, it isn't able to maintain the proper level of hydraulic pressure in the system, which causes the brake pedal to feel soft. Examine the brake lines closely for any signs of rust development. If they're rusty, you'll want to have them replaced with new lines. If you see moisture along one area of the lines, that's a sign that it's cracked and seeping. The brake lines are typically located along the frame rail on either side of the car.
Air in the Brake Lines
A hydraulic system must be free of air at all times. Air pockets in the hydraulic fluid can interfere with the necessary pressure development. If you've recently had a brake job, you may have gotten air in the lines. In most cases, the brake system is bled to get rid of that air before you get the car back, but it's an easy step to overlook if you do the work yourself. If you have any reason to suspect that there's air in your brake lines, take the car to your local mechanic and have him or her bleed the system for you.
Damaged Wheel Cylinders
The wheel cylinders on your car can corrode inside over time. Wheel cylinders are a part of drum brake systems, and they feature an internal piston that can actually let brake fluid seep by it if it's worn or damaged. It's essential that you have a mechanic inspect the wheel cylinders frequently to ensure that they are in good condition.
Brake issues are a serious concern, because they could be a warning sign of impending brake failure. Don't ignore a soft brake pedal. Examine your car to determine if any of these issues may be the cause. Take your car to a mechanic like Malibu Motors Service right away if you are unable to identify or rectify the problem.