When you've been driving the same vehicle for some time, you get used to its quirks and the way it behaves. In this case, you will be able to tell if your braking system is working as it should simply by sensing the amount of pressure against your right foot. So, what happens if the pedal travels a little further than it usually does and is much "softer"? In this case, you may be suffering from an event known as brake fade, so what should you do?
Compromised Hydraulic Pressure
When the brakes on your vehicle begin to wear out, they are losing their efficiency and often due to poor hydraulic pressure. As you may know, the system relies on hydraulic fluid that is pumped through to each wheel whenever you press that pedal. As the brake fluid is incompressible, it will apply the same level of force to the braking calliper as you apply to the pedal. It converts that force into pressure to push the brake pads against each rotary disc, thereby bringing the vehicle to a halt.
Reasons for Substandard Performance
If the fluid becomes contaminated, it will not be able to perform as intended. This can happen if any air gets into the system as it will also introduce moisture. Even the smallest amount of moisture can make a difference as it may tend to boil when temperatures reach their expected operating levels. The brake fluid itself is designed so that it does not boil in these conditions, and anything else will lead to inferior performance. So, any air or moisture in the brake fluid will lead to that soft or spongy pedal and deteriorate performance.
How Brake Fluid Becomes Contaminated
You may wonder how air could possibly get into the system. For example, a certain amount may penetrate when you open the filler cap to check the fluid level, or some of the brake hoses may start to degrade as time goes by, allowing some air, moisture or dirt to penetrate.
Taking Urgent Action
If you sense something is not quite right with your braking system, don't delay but take the vehicle to a mechanic as soon as possible. They will be able to change the brake fluid if needed and bleed the system to get rid of any unwanted air. This should restore everything to normal and give you a much firmer brake pedal once again.
Contact a brake repair service to learn more.