Brakes feel spongy/soft

My 2010 SL rogue’s brakes seem to be extremely spongy/floaty. When stopping I need to push the brakes pedal all the way down before it’ll come to a complete stop. It feels like I’m pushing air out. Just got her back from bthe repair shop, and had been driving a rent a car(2015 Ford focus) and the difference between the braking is night/day.

Checked the brakes fluid and its just a hair under max line. Was under the impression that the break pads were replaced a year ago. Best obvious answer I can figure out(google) is possibly air in the brake lines?

It sounds like you have a leak somewhere, or you’ve used the brakes hard enough at some point to boil the brake fluid, thereby entrapping air in the system. In either case, get it to a shop for examination before you have a serious wreck. It’s your BRAKES we’re talking about.

Yes, it could be air, or the master cylinder going bad. Too early for that but you never know. I guess the radio has to wait for now, fix the brakes.

So the semi-terrible question is this:
Just got this machine from a repair shop post accident(went through insurance), should I go back to the shop stating that it was worse post accident (which it seems it was) hoping they would take a look?

How likely is a moderate front collision to have caused any braking issues?

Thanks again guys.

It could also be a sticky caliper. I had a front caliper with a stuck slider. The brakes were spongy until I pumped them at every stop. Once I changed out the sticky caliper my brakes were normal.

The accident could have caused damage to the brakes, get the car back to the shop ASAP to get this looked at.

It’s impossible to guess without knowing a whole lot more about the accident and its damage.
Where was your car hit? At what angle? Was there any mechanical damage in addition to sheetmetal damage? What were the speeds involved? How big was the other vehicle?

Do you have photos of the accident damage? Can you post them?

Fairly slow speed, went to slow down and unfortunately foot got tangled and accelerated instade of stopping at a light. 30-40km/hr?

I’ll bring it to the shop tomorrow and hopefully they can take a look. Otherwise kinda stuck having to drive back(living 3 hours away) and get it seen in the near future. The car still stops completely but you need to press down on the brake with some force/ against some resistance as if it was squashy.

Could it be that the power assist part is not functioning, and you have non-power assisted brakes only?

To test this, while parked with engine running, press the brake petal hard. Turn the engine off. Within 30 seconds, you should feel the petal pushing back on you.

I felt a slight gradual push back?

Good photos. Thanks.
The damage in evidence in the photos is IMHO highly unlikely to interfere with the brakes.

Bill has posted a good possibility for your symptomology. Your power brakes are actually an “assist”. They work by using the engine’s vacuum to pull a diaphragm through which the brake rod that operates the master cylinder goes. The vacuum on the diaphragm helps you apply the brakes. Normally, when you shut the engine off, the vacuum in the canister containing the vacuum is entrapped in the canister. Bill’s recommended protocol will allow the canister to vent, to relieve the vacuum in it. Then, when you turn the engine on again, the engine vacuum will be applied to the diaphragm again and you’ll feel its force through the pedal.

It is possible that in the process of removing the fender during the repair process the vacuum line from the engine to the booster was or had to be disconnected. The attached link should give you an idea what to look for. The “booster” is the canister, the vacuum line is the rubber line coming off of the front of it (in this photo, it angles off to the side as it goes through the check valve.
You could always take a look and see if the vacuum line is off your booster. If it is off, just plug it back in and test the brakes. If not, perhaps the best bet would be to get it to a shop. The one that just did the repair is (correct me if I’m wrong) a body shop, and you’ll want the brakes looked at by a shop that does mechanical work.

Post back. We do care.

As advised above, you need to return the car to the shop who did the work and explain you’ve noticed a readily apparent adverse change to the brake system performance. I expect they’ll fix it for you.

If they say “sorry, nothing we did could have affected the brakes”, what I’d do in that case if have the brake system bled. In days of yonder, most anyone could bleed brakes. But I expect you have ABS brakes on this vehicle, and bleeding ABS brakes can require special procedures and tools unique to the vehicle. So make sure whoever you ask to do the job has the experience and tools (including scan tools) necessary. A dealership shop would have what’s necessary to fix this problem. Make sure you ask the shop, whoever it is, that you want them to fix the problem of the spongy brake pedal, rather than telling them to just “bleed the brakes”.


Here’s a thought . . .

Perhaps the repair shop removed some brake components . . . in order to repair and/or replace components on your car . . . and they forgot to bleed the brakes afterwards. Or maybe they forgot to properly tighten a brake line/hose

I’m kind of discounting the power assist as being the problem, because that usually results in a rock hard pedal, and you describe a spongy pedal, which is often associated with air in system