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Hi all, first time question with this car....Daughter called from Ames, IA with spongy brakes. As in push the pedal to the floor and barely get brakes. Could this be brake pads or lines? The car is in pretty good shape, bought it used from a dealer in August 2017, with 104K on it. They did all the "100K" service, mainly engine stuff like gaskets, etc. Car now is at 139K. Any trustworthy shops in Ames? LOL After research, could be air in the lines. Brake fluid is at the high mark, but that's all I know at this point. Which direction should I go here? Thanks for any advice!
 

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is the car new to you?

any drips under the car?

air in the lines of course could be the issue but, so could leaks, maybe forzen caliper maybe bad master cylinder.....

in a new thread, ask for a shop recomendation near Ames, someone may know of a subaru-friendly shop.
 

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Thanks! The past threads I have seen have mentioned air in the lines, or possibly old lines. We bought the car used about 2 years ago, and it's been fine, although I had it for 3 weeks and noticed soft brakes on occasion then. I haven't noticed any leaks or drips or missing fluid. No clues!
 

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Could be the master cylinder has failed. coincidentally, just happened to a friend of mine in his Lincoln MKZ(?). First check the brake fluid level in the reservoir. If it is very low, there may be an external leak. Inspect all brake lines and calipers for evidence of leaking.The basic diagnostic check for the master cylinder was pumping the pedal to see if it will build up any pressure and pedal resistance. Be sure to do this with the engine running so there is power assist. In the absence of any external leaks, it is likely a failed master cylinder if no resistance is noted.

Be careful driving and get it fixed soon.
 

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Could be the master cylinder has failed. coincidentally, just happened to a friend of mine in his Lincoln MKZ(?). First check the brake fluid level in the reservoir. If it is very low, there may be an external leak. Inspect all brake lines and calipers for evidence of leaking.The basic diagnostic check for the master cylinder was pumping the pedal to see if it will build up any pressure and pedal resistance. Be sure to do this with the engine running so there is power assist. In the absence of any external leaks, it is likely a failed master cylinder if no resistance is noted.

Be careful driving and get it fixed soon.

Thanks! She's been advised to not drive until we can find a mechanic. Only issue is there hasn't been any "noticeable" leakage anywhere. Visual inspection of the reservoir looks OK, but I could be wrong there. Didn't have an exact starting view... Thanks again!
 

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Just to follow up...A shop went out, picked her car up, drove it around 45 miles, did pressure checks, (smoke test) checked lines, rotors, etc...all OK, couldn't duplicate it. Daughter said it is "fixed." LOL....I talked to them and they couldn't find any issues. I told her to be careful in case it pops back up. Thanks all for the help!
 

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Check the cailper pin slide bushings for signs of swelling and making the pins harder to move.

When were the last times the brakes have ever been touched for any reason?

This bushing issue is mostly like 3 months - 2 years after a brake job if standard caliper pin grease is used on the bushings, it causes them to swell but it doesn't happen...or it doesn't produce notable symptoms...immediately.
 

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Hi all, first time question with this car....Daughter called from Ames, IA with spongy brakes. As in push the pedal to the floor and barely get brakes. Could this be brake pads or lines? The car is in pretty good shape, bought it used from a dealer in August 2017, with 104K on it. They did all the "100K" service, mainly engine stuff like gaskets, etc. Car now is at 139K. Any trustworthy shops in Ames? LOL After research, could be air in the lines. Brake fluid is at the high mark, but that's all I know at this point. Which direction should I go here? Thanks for any advice!
May have been as simple as grease/some kind of lubricant getting on the rotors. A quick, easy way to rule out a couple of diagnoses would be to just spray the rotors and calipers/pads down well with some brake cleaner, and conduct a basic visual inspection. Make sure the pads still have life left, ensure the lines aren't leaking or overly corroded, etc. Maybe even pull one of the wheels (make sure the car is cool/hasn't been driven for a while if you do, duh!) and check for anything that looks out of place. It likely is a simple fix, so it's best to start ruling out potential diagnoses one by one. Keep any eye out for symptoms to return, and pay attention for potential causes. Also what 1 Lucky Texan said, I overheated my brakes one early morning heading to work (in haste, mind you :cool:). I could smell them, and noticed a considerable loss in braking performance. Long driving periods (especially in start/stop traffic) and general heavy brake use could cause these symptoms to come and go at seemingly random times.
 

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Many of the "Touchless" car washes which blast your car with soap suds have caused my brakes to lose effectiveness, until It wears off.
 

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Are you sure the 30k, brake fluid flush was performed? - The service interval is every 30k, and dirty, moisture ridden fluid will result in a soft squishy pedal if the fluid boils. Moisture (water) boils at a much lower temp than the brake fluid, which intern becomes vapor (air) until it cools, make for what could be a very squishy pedal. If the pedal just has lots of travel, worn pads/rotors might also come into play.

Mine had become soft, earlier this year. I also needed pads, as they were close to the wear sensors. The pedal didn't really firm back up, until I did a full bleed of the system. What came out was a whole lot darker than the new stuff going in. It took better than a full bottle, but the results were well worth the effort.
 
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