I have an 06 MAzda 3 .. problem: After ABS engages, brakes go soft, and travel much further (75%) to the floor before stopping.THey do function well just way to low to the floor. This was not always the case and just started occurring. I found a Ford Fusion thread that owners complained of the same thing making me wonder if this might be an ABS industry wide failure issue. Note: my brakes work perfectly 10 - 20 minutes after this issue occurs. Restarting the car does not appear to "reset" anything. I'm pretty sure this problem has nothing to do with seating new pads as was suggested on other sites. I wondering if the ABS on my car has a secondary reservoir that might have gotten air in it as the main reservoir is full and brakes operate normally on any given non-ABS day .

I've also noted in researching this that those with similar problem have had mechanics rebuild their brakes w. pads and rotors and in some cases master cylinders and power boosters without success.Before I start spending a lot of $$ on un-needed repairs I am hoping that someone has seen this specific problem and actually has solved it. In my searches I have found no solutions that address this specific problem with a specific answer.


There is not an industry wide problem with ABS brakes. The one problem that does arise is when an ABS system is 'opened' for any reason. Air can and will get into the system. The best way to bleed ABS brakes is with a pressure bleeder and a bi-directional scanner so that the ABS pump can be operated.This ensures the system accumalators are all bleed fully by operating the pump during the bleed process. On some models not only is this the correct way to bleed ABS brakes but it is also the only way to do the job. A simple check that can be carried out is to check the brake fluid condition with a refractor test to ensure the fluid is not contaminated. When the ABS is activated by hard braking the pedal should go hard and you will feel a strong vibration through your foot.


This is a Mazda and Ford problem. You do not have air that just appeared in the system, this is a ABS actuator fault allowing pressure to bleed past the valves in the actuator. The fault has been known to go away at times when reactivating the abs on gravel or icy roads.

If it does not go away you need to replace the very expensive abs unit.

I think this should be a safety recall by Ford and Mazda. Call the Mazda or Ford head office and complain!. Many master cylinders have been replaced due to this abs fault, changing it will not fix this problem. Good luck.

  • Do you have a source for this?
    – Ceshion
    Nov 9 '17 at 16:57

If your brakes work normally under normal circumstances, this would tell me that the brake pads, rotors and master cylinder is working normally.

If you need to push your brake pedal more before it works properly. This would tell me that you have air in your system. Because you are first compressing the air.

Of course changing a bunch of components may help removing the trapped air when bleeding the system and make some people feel like X component was faulty. This may not be the case.

For your car model, it appears a few successive abs activations seem to fix the issue. See: https://www.mazda3club.com/mazda3-mazdaspeed3-99/mazda-3-brake-problem-56705/

If I have to guess, the issue is that the air is trapped just before the ABS pump and ABS pump is pumping air into system when it engages and then air slips back from the valve after a while. My guess is that if you keep engaging the ABS, the air may go back to the reservoir. (which seems to be how some people fix the issue)


Problem is that the ABS system needs to be reset. Find an empty parking lot, gun it, then slam on the brakes initiating ABS. Do this 3-4 times and your problem will be fixed. I just saved you over $1,000 in unnecessary repairs. You're welcome.

  • I agree with Tony. I had the same problem with spongy brakes. I changed the rotors, pads, fluid, bled them and seated the pads as per manufacturers instructions and the brakes were still spongy. After referencing multiple posts I followed Tony's advice and locked up the brakes multiple times on a dirt road initiating the ABS. The problem is gone and my brakes are back to normal. Woo hoo! Nov 27 '16 at 1:29
  • Just completed the Tony above procedure. ABS and brakes npo longer mushy, it did take 4 ABS stops in a very large parking lot. Also repeated same tests, lower speed and all works great now.
    – Manny
    Mar 5 '18 at 19:54

Issue may be in brake fluid: it gets too much water from the air, and when you brake on highway brake cylinders get hot and water in brake fluid start to vaporise, creating gas bubbles in fluid, so you need to apply additional force on the pedal to compress it. According to common maintenance guides, brake fluid needs to be changed every two or three years. Change it (about 1 litre total), inspect pads, rotors and cylinders and test brakes again.

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