by Bob DeP. AskBob@stretcher.com
I have checked my '88 Jetta's brake pads, rotors and brake fluid levels and everything's perfect. When I step on the brake hard, the pedal feels like mush. It goes to the floor and the braking ability is almost nonexistent. I have to pump them in these situations, rather than just stomping on it. My dad said it could be the booster or the master cylinder. They also squeal occasionally. There are no leaks, either. Any ideas?
You have classic signs of a worn or malfunctioning master cylinder. If it was the booster, the pedal would be very hard to push. If it feels like much and goes all the way to the floor, it is the master cylinder (usually). On one occasion, where I had classic symptoms such as yours, the problem turned out to be a leaky rear wheel brake cylinder. So check there first, because wheel cylinders are a whole bunch easier to change than the master!
Bob, The Auto Answer Man
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