Learn About a Master Cylinder

Master cylinders are vital components of your car. They are used in both the brake system and the clutch system. If you are having problems with either of these systems, it may be caused by your master cylinder. Learn about the functions of a master cylinder and possible problems you may experience below.

What is a Master Cylinder?

A master cylinder converts non-hydraulic pressure into hydraulic pressure. In your car, it provides pressure to the two separate circuits of your brake system. Without it, your brakes would not function. A master cylinder is also used in the clutch system. It’s necessary for the car to be able to change gears.

How Does a Master Cylinder Work?

A master cylinder works through pistons that create pressure. In the brakes, this pressure pushes the brake pads towards the wheel to create friction and stop the movement of your car. In the clutch, the pressure of the master cylinder causes the clutch to disengage from the flywheel, allowing the car to switch gears. Master cylinders require brake or clutch fluid to function.

How do You Know if Your Master Cylinder Needs to be Replaced?

If you’re experiencing problems with your brakes or clutch, it’s possible that a master cylinder is to blame. If you push your brake pedal to the floor with little to no results, it may be that you have a broken master cylinder. Try replacing your brake fluid first. If this does not solve the problem, it is probably your master cylinder. It’s not usually possible to repair a master cylinder; it will have to be replaced outright.
A bad clutch master cylinder may also manifest in pedal problems. If your clutch pedal is hard to push, too easy to push, or stays stuck to the floor when pushed, the problem may be your master cylinder. If shifting becomes difficult or noisy, this may also indicate a master cylinder problem. The only way to know for sure if your car problems are caused by a master cylinder is to take your car to the mechanic.

How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Master Cylinder?

The cost for your master cylinder replacement will vary depending on the make and model of your car. A typical cost for both parts and labor is between $300 and $500. The master cylinder itself can usually be purchased for around $150. Replacing a master cylinder is not an easy job and should not be attempted as a do-it-yourself project unless you are an experienced mechanic. The master cylinder is a vital part of your brakes and clutch and should be installed properly for safety.

Master cylinders are necessary for your car to run properly. If you think you may have a problem with a master cylinder, see your mechanic. Failure of a master cylinder can be a safety issue and should be taken seriously. If you’re concerned about the cost, get quotes from several different mechanics to make sure you’re getting the best deal.