Soft Spongy Brake Pedal? What's up?

In this the third of my questions about my Honda Element brakes, I’m now asking what might cause the soft, low, spongy brake pedal? I have had inspections, brake fluid bleeds, and everything is OK. All that’s left is mysterious.

What year,
how many miles,
are you the original owner,
did the problem begin after work was done,
and when you pump the brakes do they become firmer?

If they firm up with pumping, you almost certainly have air in there. Unlike brake fluid, air compresses easily, and the pumping is compressing the entrapped air.

If they don’t change when pumping, you can rule out air. The answers to my questions then become relevant.

OK. Thanks.
First, 2007, 32,000 miles. I’m the second owner - but with a good record of the car’s history. Front rotors and pads installed at 23,000. Rear pads and rotors turned at 30,000 after sale to me. No other work done on brakes - or anything.
Problem was always there…by my perception. Don’t know how the original owner felt. Pumping does not change the feel. I suspect ABS system, or master cylinder? What do you think? HONDA denies any responsibility.

You may want to see if you can find a similar vehicle to test drive. That may be just the feel of that particular system, and it may just be different from what you’re used to.

My old Toyota pickup stopped like an aggressive dog hitting the end of its chain, hard and fast. My new Scion has a much softer feel. Perhaps what you’re experiencing is normal for that vehicle.

Yes, I agree that this might be true. I have been a GM guy for a long long time, but msny of those testing this car have also felt it’s a soft, low, spongy pedal. I’m hoping that you’re opinion is the correct one, because, as the 2nd owner of this vehicle, HONDA could care less, and master cylinders, etc., are expensive.

This has been a problem for me, and two new master cylinders (installed by two different dealers; only paid for first one) later I am ready to give up and look forward to getting another car with stiffer brakes. It is a shame as the rest of the car is great. The thing I don’t understand is why I didn’t notice this when I bought the car new back in 2003.

Well, as of now, and for the last few months, the brakes are great…I’ve had them checked a couple of times, and everything’s good. If you had a chance to see the original thread on this car, you’d also see a bad situation with a jammed/stuck caliper, destroying the rear-outer pad. That’s all history now. Thanks for your reply.