Audi Q7 brake pedal.

Why is my brake pedal going to the floor?

In Brakes by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Is your car’s brake pedal going to the floor? Does it seem like your brakes aren’t working the way they should? You may have what auto repair shops call a “soft brake pedal”.

It can be a nerve-wracking experience when the brakes are malfunctioning – especially as you’re driving.

If anything seems off with your vehicle, pull over in a safe location and reach out to an auto repair shop. The best (and safest) option may be having it towed.

Soft brake pedal causes

A few brake problems can lead to a soft brake pedal.

Leaking brake caliper on a Chrysler Town and Country.
A leaking brake caliper on a Chrysler Town and Country

One of our automotive technicians recently investigated why the brakes weren’t working on a Chrysler Town & Country. 

He realized that brake fluid was leaking from one of the rear brake calipers. We recommended replacing the caliper and the brake hose that was attached to it. A brake fluid exchange was suggested, as well.

The brake system consists of many components. Brake fluid may leak from the calipers, brake lines and brake hoses. Leaks could also occur at connections to the master cylinder and anti-lock braking system (ABS) pump.

A brake line leaking on a Chevrolet Impala.
A brake line leaking on a Chevrolet Impala

Invisible leaks are possible at the seal inside the master cylinder that leads to the brake booster. Fluid can get into the vacuum brake booster, which runs off engine vacuum. This causes it to travel through the engine and burn off.

Soft brake pedals aren’t just a result of leaks. They could also indicate that air is in the hydraulic brake system.

Rarely can you introduce air without trying to. It might occur if someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing replaces brakes and accidentally opens a bleeder. On occasion, oxygen may get into the system if enough moisture builds up and there’s a temperature change.

Another possibility is that the slide pins are frozen and preventing the bracket from moving back and forth.

Determining why brake pedal going to the floor

Our diagnostic process for a brake pedal going to the floor begins with making sure the bleeder screws break free.

Then, we flush the system and confirm air isn’t present. This process must be completed in a sequence.

If the brake pedal problem still hasn’t been resolved, our technicians check the slide pins.

A soft brake pedal may occur if the slide pins are stuck in the brake caliper and only the piston moves when you press the pedal.

Maintaining your brake system

You may not be able to avoid every brake problem, but there are things you can do to prevent a lot of future issues.

If a mechanic or auto repair shop you trust suggests brake repair – new brake lines or hoses, brake replacement, or getting a brake fluid exchange – make sure to follow up with the recommended services as soon as you can.

Having your vehicle looked over at oil changes is another good safety measure. 

When our technicians perform courtesy inspections and test drives, they look for various issues across the car. This includes rust buildup, broken or worn parts, leaks, car noises, and other concerns. 

Through these regular checkups, we are able to catch brake problems early on.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located near Lake Ridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.