1999 Subaru clutch feels soft, brake fluid overfilled

The amount of resistance given by the clutch on my 1999 Subaru Legacy Outback has declined. I thought that it was due to my husband’s driving (at first it was only noticeable when I started the car and he was the last person to use it) but recently the clutch has felt soft more often. The clutch was replaced at 120,000 miles, and we now have 185,000 miles on the car, so it’s about 65,000 miles and 5 years old. I tried to find information online about clutches feeling soft, and some of the links suggested that there might be air in the brake fluid. I hadn’t checked the brake fluid in ages, and I wasn’t the one to bring the car for an oil change last time so I don’t know if any was recently added. I have never added brake fluid. So I checked the level today when the car was cool, and it’s above the “maximum” line. Could this mean that we have air in the lines, and need to have them bled? The clutch seems to engage just fine and we very rarely have any issues shifting… it’s just that the pedal doesn’t feel right. Thanks for any advice!!

Was the entire clutch assembly replaced back then? If a disc only was changed and the pressure plate was not it’s possible that the pressure plate fingers could be getting weak.

Which engine do you have? Some are hydraulic clutches and some are cable operated. If the problem is not due to a weak pressure plate then failing hydraulics (master and slave cylinder) or a frayed and stretching cable can cause the pedal to feel soft.

If there is air in the hydraulics this means the master and/or slave cylinders are bad and if one is replaced the other should be too because the ignored one usually follows Murphy’s Law and fails soon afterwards.

I suspect someone told you that there may be air in the hydraulic clutch system, and that this system uses brake fluid. This is not the same system as the brakes. A hydraulic clutch usually uses brake fluid, but you should always check the specifications in the owner’s manual to make sure you use the correct fluid.

If this car has a hydraulic clutch system, air in the clutch fluid may make the pedal feel soft. Worn hydraulic parts could also be the cause. If it has a cable-actuated clutch, the cable may be worn.

As for the overfilled brake fluid, that was probably simply caused by someone putting in too much. I wouldn’t worry about it unless it spills; brake fluid can damage paint. The level will eventually drop as the brake pads wear down.