I have a 2002 Ford Taurus and it seems that recently I have been having some issues with my brakes being spongy and less responsive than I ever remember them being.
I bought the car slightly used from a dealer just over a year ago and have put approximately 12,000 miles since then, so I know the brakes have not been seviced at least since then. In general they seem spongy. I have had to stop more than once in an amost emergency situation and when I fully depress the brake to the floor I still keep moving and it takes forever to stop and just before I do, ABS barely kicks in to keep the wheels from completely seizing up. It is becoming clear something needs attention because my Mother has the same year and model car and when I drive hers it feels totally different... way harder or tighter. If fluid is full and the correct type, would bleeding the brake lines help fix the problem?
I'm also concerned that my discs/rotors may have warped because I'm noticing that my steering wheel is beginning to shake more and more when I apply the brakes. Can they grind them back down or will they have to be totally replaced?
My question for all you experts is what could be causing my spongy brakes and if I were to take it in to have it examined, what are the possible things they could come back and say are wrong and how could/would they go about fixing it? Also, is it more highly reccomended that I return to my dealer or just take it to someone I know is reputable? I'm afraid of how much this could cost because my income is limited right now. But I know it needs to be done.
Any help or information you all can provide is greatly appreciated.