Lately, while you are driving down the road, you may have noticed that your brakes do not seem to be stopping your car as well as they did in the past. While your brakes may need changing, there is a possibility that the issue is caused by air in the brake lines. To see if this issue is causing your difficulty, look for the following signs that your brake lines do have air in them and need to be bled out.
1. You Notice the Brake Pedal Moves down Too Far with Light Pressure
One sign that your car's brake lines have been contaminated with air is when you start noticing that your brake pedal moves down with even light pressure from your foot. Normally, if you lightly place your foot on the pedal, you will feel some resistance almost immediately.
When air gets into the lines, the hydraulic pressure within them will decrease. The air displaces the fluid, causing it to shift and yield inconsistent pressure.
However, a spongy brake pedal that depresses too far could also be a sign of loose calipers. You would need to have a professional check your car's brake system to determine the actual cause.
2. You Have to Slam on the Brakes to Stop Your Car
Not only is having a brake pedal that depresses too far a sign of air in the lines, but you may also find that you have to slam on the brakes to stop your car. Instead of tapping the pedal with your foot and having the brakes engage, you will have to press the pedal down to the floor.
When the pressure within the lines decreases because of air contamination, the hydraulic system will not be able to send an immediate signal from the pedal to the brakes. You will have to floor the pedal to build up enough pressure to do so.
However, having to slam on the pedal is also a sign of damaged discs or broken calipers. An inspection of the system will be needed to tell which one is causing the issue.
If you have noticed the signs above that your brakes have air in them, you need to have the lines bled out. Bleeding out the lines will remove the old brake fluid and air while replacing them with new fluid to re-pressurize the system. Contact an auto shop that provides brake services to have them confirm that your lines contain air and bleed the brakes if they find out that air is the issue.