Vehicle: 2012 Honda Odyssey

Miles: 65000

Original problem: Shudder while braking. Took it to the tire shop to have tires (relatively new not showing any signs of uneven wear) rotated and alignment checked. Alignment check passed but they said brakes were in need of replacement.

I ordered pads and rotors for all four corners and replaced everything. Job went smoothly, no hiccups.

I then took it out to break in according to MFG recommendations (5 x 40 to 10 stops, 5 x 35 to 5 stops, drive for 5 minutes without using brakes to let them cool).

The van does stop but the pedal felt very spongy, so I took it to a mechanic to have the brakes bled. He found some air in both rear lines. I never opened the system. I only compressed the calipers.

While bleeding the air out the pedal felt very firm. After bleeding it out it still feels spongy. There are no leaks that I can see. No fluid in wheels or on ground. Reservoir is holding steady.

As this is my wife's vehicle, it's possible it has always been like this and I am imagining things but I'd feel much more comfortable with a firmer pedal that didn't travel as far. Are there any other things I should check?

  • Maybe you damaged the seal when you compressed the pistons?
    – cory
    Commented May 10, 2017 at 18:05
  • Would there be a leak in that case? I used a c-clamp to initially compress the caliper before removal and then I used a caliper spreader and hand tightening after installation.
    – Matt
    Commented May 10, 2017 at 18:11
  • I had this same problem and found the cause and solution.... I purchased Raybestos Element3 Brake Pads EHT1521H pads for my 2013 Honda Odyssey from Summit Racing. After installing new rotors and these pads my brake pedal went to the floor. I spent over a thousand in parts and labor, and tens of hours over four months to figure out what went wrong in my braking system. Bleeding lines, bleeding my ABS, replacing flex lines, replacing the master cylinder, etc. I replaced everything but the steel lines, including the ABS module. I even rear ended someone while the brakes were not working correctly Commented May 23, 2018 at 9:02

3 Answers 3


One fairly common issue is that the brake pistons can get corroded as the pads wear and they extend further out. In this case when you re-compress the pistons the corroded area comes back into contact with the cylinder and seals and they don't seal properly anymore.

You don't need a very big leak to let enough air into the system to be a problem as the issue is not so much fluid getting out as air getting in.

Equally it is not always that easy to completely bleed a system in one go and it's not that unusual for it to take a few bleeds over a period of time for all of the air to settle out of the system.

  • I had this problem (corroded rear brake cylinder) in two older honda-civic´s. 2012/ 6 Years seems awfully early for such a problem to appear though ...
    – Daniel
    Commented May 23, 2018 at 9:51

While not as bad as drum brakes it’s possible to aspirate air into the system when releasing the brake pedal, or if your bleed hose opening gets above the bled fluid surface. First diagnosis would be to rebleed the system. TomO


Check that the rear inner pad nipple is aligned with the grove in the caliper piston recess.

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