Can ABS Cause Brake Pedal To Go To The Floor?

A car’s braking system is one of the most crucial safety features. A slight defect in any component within this system can lead to a fatal accident. Among other brake malfunctions, a sinking brake pedal comes with many inconveniences.

While it is true that there are a couple of issues that can trigger a sinking brake pedal, the big question is – Can ABS cause brake pedal to go to the floor? The short answer is yes! But that’s not all.

I will be showing you how ABS works in a car, the benefits of ABS, why this safety system can cause a car’s brake pedal to sink to the floor, and the possible solutions to this brake problem.

brake pedal sinks to floor intermittently

How Does ABS Work?

ABS (anti-lock braking system) is a unique safety feature orchestrated to enable control in emergency braking. When braking suddenly due to an emergency, there’s a high tendency for one or more of a car’s tires to lock up, resulting in loss of control.

In such a situation, the car’s wheels stop rotating, making the vehicle slide. Before now, drivers would pump their vehicle’s brakes once they realized their car was sliding due to wheel lock-up.

So, the anti-lock braking system was designed to automate the brake pumping in case of emergency braking. What does the ABS pump do? It simply restores the brake pressure after it is released by the valves controlled by the ABS.

The ABS technology is very strategic, as it monitors your car’s wheel speed such that a sensor is automatically triggered to send a signal to the controller, which automatically applies the brake multiple times (up to 20 times) per second to prevent a possible wheel lock up and provide easy control.

Besides the ABS, most modern cars also feature other safety technologies like electronic stability control and traction control systems, which help to enhance the vehicle’s safety on the road, especially during an emergency.

Can ABS Cause Brake Pedal To Go To The Floor?

Of course. ABS can cause your car’s brake pedal to go to the floor (sink) when the system cannot maintain the necessary hydraulic pressure to function.

Besides this physical impact on the brake pedal, the inability to maintain proper hydraulic pressure will also harm the vehicle’s stopping capacity.

In other words, you may experience an inconsistent stopping time when your car’s brake pedal sinks due to the absence of the required pressure.

Also, the ABS modulator consists of different solenoids and valves. A slight internal failure, corrosion, or dirt in the brake fluid can hinder a valve from operating optimally, resulting in a spongy or sinking brake pedal.

Other Causes Of Brake Pedal Going To Floor

Besides an issue in the anti-lock braking system resulting in a sinking pedal, the following are other reasons for brakes going to floor.

Leaking brake fluid

A brake fluid leak is one of the primary reasons why your brake pedal sinks to floor intermittently. It will be challenging to brake effectively if there is a leak in your car’s braking system because the correct volume of hydraulic fluid won’t be available to pass through the master cylinder.

Air in the brake lines 

The air in your car’s brake lines can also impact the brake pedal, causing the component to go to the floor due to a decline in the hydraulic pressure.

Faulty or damaged master cylinder

A faulty or damaged master cylinder cannot hold brake fluid or the necessary hydraulic pressure, causing the brake pedal to sink to the floor when you apply the brake.

Compromised replacement cylinder

If you continue to experience a sinking brake pedal after replacing a faulty master cylinder, there’s a tendency that the replacement component is defective. You may want to check out the part carefully.

Benefits of ABS

The introduction of ABS technology brought several enhancements to vehicles built with this system in the automotive industry. Some of the common benefits of an anti-lock braking system include the following;

Increased stopping capacity

The ABS enhances a car’s braking capacity by automating the brake pumping process while allowing the driver to concentrate on navigating the steering safely in an emergency.

This feature can be the reason why a major crash is averted in many cases where a driver would have lost control of the steering wheel due to an unexpected skidding. ABS is advantageous, especially when braking on slippery surfaces like ice or snow.

Improved traction control

The anti-lock braking system is designed in the similitude of the traction control system, making it easy for both safety operations to synergize in delivering a seamless and safe driving experience with enhanced traction control when braking.

Reduced insurance costs

Vehicles with ABS technology usually have a reduced insurance cost since the system is designed to help minimize the tendency for road accidents. Many car owners have taken advantage of this insurance cost leverage.

Increased car resale value

Reselling a car for a reasonable amount depends on different factors, including the anti-lock braking system. Vehicles with ABS features usually have a higher resale value than most of their counterparts without this safety technology.

How To Fix Spongy Brakes?

Spongy brakes can be very risky to manage, especially during an emergency, hence the need to fix the issue immediately. If you’re experiencing a sinking brake pedal, these recommendations can help you fix the problem.

Repair the brake fluid leak

Firstly, ensure to carefully inspect or diagnose the braking system to ascertain the presence of leaks and fix the identified spot or component immediately. 

Replace faulty brake shoes

If you notice that misaligned or faulty brake shoes are responsible for the soft brake pedal, ensure to get a new replacement ASAP. Depending on your vehicle type,

this can cost around $120 – $200.

Bleed the braking system

Bleeding the braking system is the remedy to the air in your car’s braking system. This exercise can be pretty straightforward if you’re a DIYer; otherwise, you may have to contact an expert mechanic to do the job if you’re unsure of handling it properly.

Replace worn master cylinder

A worn master cylinder requires a new replacement to resolve the issue of a sinking brake pedal. This component is estimated to cost about $841 – $944, depending on your vehicle’s make and the location of the auto technician handling the replacement.

Also, if you just got a new replacement for your old master cylinder and something still pushes your brake pedal to the floor, re-examine the part to identify any unnoticed issue with the new component and clean the rusty brake parts once you find out the problem.


Although the anti-lock braking system adds several advantages to your vehicle’s performance, it is vital to state that it also has drawbacks. If you were wondering, “Can ABS cause brake pedal to go to the floor?” The simple answer is yes.

So, if you notice that your car’s brake pedal is constantly traveling down to the floor any time you apply the brakes, it may result from a hydraulic pressure issue from the ABS or any other brake-related components.

Therefore, perform a thorough diagnosis on the braking system to ascertain if you have any brake fluid leak, faulty brake shoes, air in the braking system, or a defective brake master cylinder.


Mr. Shafiqule Islam is a graduated Mechanical Engineer and has more than 15 years experience of repairing and maintenance of different brand vehicles like Toyota, Mitsubishi, Ford, Mercedes, BMW etc. He is also giving training to Mechanics. He has started writing to share his practical knowledge to Vehicle Owners, Drivers and Mechanics to keep their cars at best fit.

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