The national cost for a master cylinder replacement with CarAdvise in 2024 is between $144 and $544 with an average of $329.

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HOW IT WORKS

What is a master cylinder and how does it work?

The master cylinder is a hydraulic pump, a component of a vehicle's braking system. Whenever you apply pressure to the brake pedal, a piston moves inside the master cylinder. The piston exerts force on the hydraulic oil (brake fluid) inside of a network of tubes that run along the underbody of your vehicle. That pressure is used to actuate the brake calipers (in the case of disc brakes) or wheel cylinders (with drum brakes) attached to the hubs at each wheel.

HOW IS THIS SERVICE PERFORMED?

How is a a Master Cylinder Replacement done?

The master cylinder is located at the top end of the brake system and includes the brake fluid reservoir. To replace the component, the brake fluid must be removed from the reservoir. This can be done by either bleeding the brakes enough to empty both the master cylinder and the reservoir, or by using a pump, siphon, or baster. Once the old master cylinder has been emptied, a mechanic will typically take the following steps to perform the service:

  • Disconnect and remove any components that are in the way of access to the master cylinder
  • Unplug the brake fluid level sensor wire
  • Loosen the brake line fasteners, taking care to prevent rounding off the edges
  • Remove the fasteners that secure the master cylinder in place
  • Prepare the new master cylinder by “bench bleeding” the unit
  • Completely loosen the brake line fasteners to detach them from the old master cylinder
  • Remove the old master cylinder
  • Transfer the reservoir to the new master cylinder
  • Set the new component into its mounting location, taking care to ensure that the rod coming from the brake booster fits properly into the master cylinder, and start the fasteners
  • Connect the brake lines until they are finger tight
  • Tighten the mounting fasteners and the brake lines
  • Reconnect any components that were removed
  • Add fresh brake fluid and bleed the system
  • Test drive the vehicle to verify the repair

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POPULAR VEHICLES

National average cost of a a Master Cylinder Replacement
for popular vehicles:

Car Model

Avg. cost

$50

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COMMON SYMPTOMS

What are the signs that a master cylinder needs to be replaced?

A master cylinder is made to last the lifetime of a vehicle. Unfortunately, like many other mechanical devices, master cylinders sometimes fail. When your master cylinder is not working as it should, you will notice certain symptoms. Since the brakes are the most important safety feature of your vehicle, the following signs should not be ignored:

The brake pedal feels soft or spongy when you press it

The pedal has little resistance and sinks to the floor

You notice a reduction in braking power, or stopping distances increase

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Other questions customers ask

Do you have to bleed brakes after replacing a master cylinder?
The only way to make sure that your braking system does not have any air inside is to bleed the brakes anytime the hydraulic system has been opened up. That includes when the master cylinder is replaced. Because it is at the top of the system, it can take quite a while to bleed out air from the master cylinder.
What happens if you get air in your master cylinder?
Any air that gets trapped in your hydraulic braking system will cause a spongy brake pedal. That is because of the differences in fluid dynamics between air and oil. Brake fluid (hydraulic oil) will not compress when force is applied to it. Air will. So, when you press on the brake pedal, the master cylinder exerts force on the fluid in the brake lines. That force is felt by the brake calipers on the other end, and those respond by clamping down on the rotors. If air is trapped in the system, it will compress rather than transfer pressure. This can be a dangerous condition, as it prevents your brakes from operating as they should.
Can a master cylinder fail without leaking?
Yes. Master cylinders can fail without showing signs of a leak. That is because they tend to leak internally. When they do, they lose their ability to supply continuous pressure to the brake calipers and wheel cylinders. Brake fluid simply passes by the seals on the piston inside the master cylinder. The result is that your brakes feel spongy or the pedal sinks to the floor.

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This is demo Answer

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