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I have a 10-year old bike, fitted with hydraulic disk brakes. The bike has been actively used for around 4 years only though.

Recently, my brake levers started to have more and more "play" before the bike actually starts braking. A kind of a "dead zone" where nothing happens, just like if there was not enough oil.

I went to the store to fix it, twice, but it keeps coming back. They say something may be stuck ("bourrage" in french, as ugly as it sounds). They told me they bled the brakes, but at this point I'm not sure anymore.

So now I'd like to fix this myself, once and for all.

The brakes are the only thing I've been afraid to fiddle with, so far, so that's why I'm coming here for advices.

Is there any "fixing your hydraulic disk brakes 101" or equivalent? A guide I could follow to check things in order. Shall I check brake pads first, then oil, then... A flowchart would be lovely!

tl;dr: What to check first to fix hydraulic disk brakes?

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I went to the store to fix it, twice, but it keeps coming back. Can you clarify that statement? Who fixed it? What did they do? Why does it come back? –  Ritch Melton Jun 10 at 15:07
    
Define "play". Absolute free play or just a little resistance. If you have air in the line then it will be soft and you will need a longer pull (air is compressible). You may need to bleed the brakes. How to bleed varies and may require special tools. See the instructions for that specific brake. –  Blam Jun 10 at 15:29
    
Thanks guys. I've updated the post. –  Antoine_935 Jun 10 at 19:59
1  
I have a book I can recommend by a guy called Lennard Zinn, which gives a 101 in most everything to do with a bike (including disk brakes). There is a road bike version too, which I can also recommend. And by the looks of things he's done a TT one. Zinn & the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance. I mean obviously you've got the expense of the book, but its a great reference if you're going to be doing your own maintenance –  PeteH Jun 10 at 19:59
    
"A kind of a "dead zone" where nothing happens, just like if there was not enough oil." Check oil level and bleed the brakes. And PeteH that is book is not just informative it is entertaining. –  Blam Jun 10 at 23:28

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