I have a 2006 Mazda 3 that until yesterday, had soft/spongy brakes. A few days ago I brought it to my local repair shop to take care of the problem, and $300 later, I had new front pads and machined rotors, a fully flushed and bled brake system, and carefully inspected master cylinder & vacuum system, and was told the brakes were no longer soft/spongy.
Driving home, I hit the brakes, and they were indeed soft and spongy. It took 2 pumps to stop from speeds over 20 mph. Apparently, my mechanic must not have driven the car very fast. So I checked on the internet, and found a note that sometimes the ABS system can get into a funny state, where it needs to be activated to a full stop to reset it.
So yesterday, I sped up to 50 mph, and slammed on the brakes (activating the ABS) until the car stopped. After than, the brakes were firm. And they are firm today. So I'm wondering, did slamming on the brakes really fix things? If so, what was the actual problem that got fixed?
Edit: It's been almost 4 years since I posted this question. About every six to twelve months, the symptoms reappear, and I have to repeat the process of speeding up to 50 mph and slamming on my brakes until the car comes to a full stop... then the symptoms are gone for another six months to twelve months.