I have a 2003 Ford Focus. I decided to change the brake pads myself, as they were worn out (especially on the left side). I replaced the pads on the left side and drove a little to test them out (1–2 km) and then came back home to replace the ones from the right side too. After doing so and going back out to test, I found that the brake pedal was very soft. The car still brakes fine, but I don't like how it feels. This happens with the engine running. When the engine is off, the pedal is hard after a few pushes. Any ideas?

  • The difference between engine on and off occurs due to the brake power assist that uses manifold vacuum. There is stored vacuum, and thus, few pushes are required to get rid of that vacuum. But, back to your question. Did you bleed the brake system?
    – juhist
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 18:26
  • I didn't. Should I? After i finished installing the brake pads i just pushed a few times the brake pedal with the master cylinder cap opened. Closed it and started the engine. @Terry Gould, there might be a chance that the piston was pushed too far. I'm sure that i did not touch the bleed valve (i know where it is and it has a rubber cap on it anyway) I don't think there's any leak, i don't see any and i didn't let the caliper just hanging (it was suported all the time)
    – ArK
    Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 19:18
  • I have the same issue (hardish pedal with engine off. Much softer pedal with engine on). Could you explain what causes that?
    – 8bitjunkie
    Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 20:32

2 Answers 2


A number of things could have happened:

  1. You let air into the system, either by pushing the piston out too far or by un-doing the bleed nipple.

  2. The system has developed a leak. You could have either damaged the seal when pushing the piston back in or by damaging a pipe by letting the caliber hang or by crimping it etc.

  3. You could have put something back together wrong so when you push the pedal the caliber is actually moving away from the disc rather than pushing the pads into the disc. Ive seen it before when the wrong size bolts where in the sliders causing the caliber to move out / twist when the brakes were applied.

  • What do you mean by pushing the piston out too far? Do you mean pushing the piston back into the caliper too far past the point where the piston is flush with the rubber mount?
    – 8bitjunkie
    Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 20:34

There is an adjustment you can make by turning the. Rear caliper piston counter clockwise (Ford Edge) back to the desired position about a 1\16 of an inch before the pad . I had to fix the rear pads the clips were absent rattling and such, on fords you can push them in too far, thats probably why the rear pistons have to be turned instead of pushed.

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! Commented Jul 6, 2019 at 23:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .