Dealing with car troubles can often be a pain if you don’t know the source of the issue. Sometimes, you can even be dealing with multiple potential sources for your problem. This is true regardless of whether you drive a Porsche or a Tesla. Today, we’ll look at some of the reasons why you may have spongy brakes after bleeding them.
The three most common causes of spongy brakes after bleeding include your mechanic using the wrong brake bleeding technique, your brake fluid being contaminated, or a system leak. If none of these issues are evident, there may be a bigger problem with your brakes.
We’re going to take a deeper look at these issues and what can potentially cause them so that you can have a better idea of what’s wrong with your brakes after they were bled. We’ll start by going over the three main reasons why your brakes may be spongy and some potential remedies.
Spongy Brakes After Bleeding
Even a reliable vehicle like a Dodge Ram can run into issues with its brakes, and bleeding your brakes creates plenty of opportunities for something to go wrong in the process. Unlike fuel pump or transmission issues, fixing brake problems isn’t extremely complicated.
Here are three of the main reasons why you may feel like your brakes are spongy after you got them bled.
The Brake Bleeding Process
If you’ve never bled your brakes before and you did it on your own this time, something may have gone wrong with the process, leaving you with brakes that feel spongy. Bleeding your brakes essentially means removing the trapped air from the hydraulic system, which is often the reason why your brakes may feel spongy.
If you don’t successfully bleed the brakes, it’s possible that there are still pockets of air in the hydraulic lines, meaning that you may end up with a spongy feel regardless. It’s recommended that you use the vacuum method to bleed your brakes as it has the best chances of success.
You may have run into issues bleeding your brakes if you used any of the other common brake bleed methods like the gravity method. The issue with the gravity method is that it may leave your brakes feeling spongy after you do it, but if you pump the brake pedal a few times, you’ll be able to get rid of the sponginess.
If you did use the gravity method, try using the brakes a few times while your vehicle is stationary and see if you can note a difference in the quality of the braking action. If it’s still spongy, then there’s probably another underlying issue that you’ll need to solve first.
Finally, there’s also the pump and release method, but this brake bleeding method is pretty inefficient because it requires two people. This method is usually used for older cars, and there’s quite a bit of potential for something to go wrong, especially if the two people performing the process aren’t communicating properly.
Contaminated Brake Fluid
If your brake fluid is contaminated, then there’s a good chance that one of the symptoms will be a spongy brake pedal. Contaminated brake fluid is essentially brake fluid that has large amounts of water in it, and this moisture tends to form gradually over time and extended periods of use.
A little bit of water in your brake fluid isn’t the end of the world, but when that moisture builds up, it can start causing problems in the hydraulic system. This is because your brakes heat up when they are used, and this heat is transferred to the whole braking system, including the water in the lines.
Hydraulic fluid is able to resist the temperature changes when you hit the brakes, but the water in the system will heat up to the point that it starts to boil. When the water boils, it goes through the hydraulic hoses and it makes the pedal sink because the steam that is formed is non-compressible.
Keep in mind that this shouldn’t be an issue when you’re testing out your brakes when you’re not driving because the system needs to get hot first. If you notice that your brakes are spongy after you’ve been driving for a while, then it’s likely an issue with contaminated brake fluid.
To fix this problem, it’s a good idea to bleed your brakes again using the vacuum method and you can then replace the brake fluid. This will ensure that your hydraulic fluid is fresh and that it doesn’t contain any remaining moisture. Just be sure to bleed your brakes properly or you’ll end up with the spongy feeling again.
A Leak or a Problematic Brake Hose
When you feel like your brakes are spongy, it’s also possible that something’s wrong with the hydraulic system’s pressure. Since the system is constantly under pressure, a leak will mess with that and make it less likely to perform up to spec, and even small leaks can cause problems.
Keep an eye out for any wet areas in your brake system since this will evidence where the leak is. Some of the best areas to check for leaks include the caliper seals, the bleed nipples, the flexi hose unions, the brake lines, and the rear wheel cylinder seals. However, be sure to check the whole system to ensure that there’s no hidden leak.
Yet another potential issue is a faulty brake hose. This is usually an issue with older cars, where they have had an opportunity to age and the brake hoses start to break down. These gradually get damaged because of the movement of the car’s suspension, which puts pressure on the hoses and degrades them.
To fix this problem, all you have to do is find the brake hoses that aren’t working properly and replace them. Keep in mind that if one brake hose is failing, you’ll likely run into other brake hoses that are having issues too, unless it’s an isolated issue with a newer car.