Driving With Bad Master Cylinder

Driving With Bad Master Cylinder: Causes & Symptoms


August 10, 2022

Master cylinders are an important aspect of your vehicle’s braking system.

When you push down on the brake pedal, they convert the mechanical force into hydraulic pressure, ensuring that all four wheels have adequate grip and that stopping happens quickly without any jerky movements or skidding!

If you’re driving with bad master cylinder, then you must read our post.

The master cylinder is the key to your car’s smooth and predictable performance.

Make sure you know when it needs replacing so you don’t have any unpleasant surprises down the road!

Let’s have a look at the technical details of a master cylinder and how to tell whether it needs to be replaced or not.

Let’s get this party started, right?

Driving With Bad Master Cylinder

What Are Master Cylinders, and How Do They Work?

Hydraulic brakes, on the other hand, convert mechanical force into hydraulic fluid and distribute it to each brake pad using the master cylinder.

The master cylinder transforms mechanical pressure into hydraulic fluid, which is then distributed to each brake pad via the hydraulic system.

Types Of Master Cylinder

Single reservoir and dual reservoir master cylinders are the two types of master cylinders.

Let’s look at the differences between them.

Single-Circuit Master Cylinder

The two-circuit master cylinder not only controls the front and rear brakes, but also has an indicator light for each.

Because all four wheels are linked to a single-piston brake caliper, this mechanism is easy to use.

The master cylinder of this type is prevalent on smaller four-wheelers and two-wheelers.

Dual Circuit Master Cylinder

The tandem master cylinder is the more reliable and safe of the two different types.

It’s efficient too, so you’ll never have to worry about low brake fluid levels again!

The master cylinder has one piston that pushes brake fluid into each of your car’s front and rear wheels.

It also has two chambers, with each compartment being responsible for braking each set of wheels.

The dual-chamber system on this model is designed to provide you with a more controlled and stable feel during turns, while still giving off enough reassuringly smooth power.

When you have a single failed circuit master cylinder, your car will not be able to stop and this could jeopardize both the safety of yourself as well other drivers around.

Driving With Bad Master Cylinder

Symptoms of a Bad Master Cylinder

The master cylinder is usually mounted on the steering column and controlled by a foot paddle that prevents the peddle from being depressed.

When you have a problem with your car’s master cylinder, here are some of the first indicators:

Abnormal Pedal Action

Normal brake pedal pressure should be consistent with each push.

If your automobile’s master cylinder needs to be replaced, it may indicate that your car’s brakes are failing.

Spongy brakes could be caused by a leak in the brake lines, which may disrupt proper hydraulic pressure distribution.

If the hydraulic pressure is insufficient, you will need to put out more effort and time to come to a complete stop or slow down your car.

Leaking brake fluid due to faulty or rusted brake lines can also result in under-pressurization.

Brake Warning Lights

The most obvious modification to assist you to spot a leaking master cylinder is to install an emergency brake light on the dashboard.

However, it may not always imply that your master cylinder has to be replaced.

If your vehicle’s dashboard has a braking light on, it’s important to have it inspected by a qualified mechanic because it indicates an issue.

Brake lights can also indicate if your brakes are worn out.

They may also be a sign that your brake fluid is low.

If the light comes on and off at intervals, it could indicate low levels of brake fluid.

If your master cylinder is leaking, it will be verified and examined by your mechanic.

Fluid Contamination on the Brakes

Brake fluid may become contaminated when moisture enters it, particularly when you drive under heavy braking circumstances on a regular basis.

If your car’s brakes need to be replaced, use a good brake fluid detergent.

If you want to keep the fluid in excellent condition and prevent discolored rusting, do not let it sit for too long.

Because moisture encourages rusting, which may degrade the brake fluid and cause it to turn black or brown.

The brake fluid might also become contaminated during maintenance or as the rubber seals on the master cylinder wear or deteriorate with time.

Brake fluid is susceptible to contamination from water, dust, or debris if worn-out rubber seals are not replaced.

When the brake fluid is contaminated, it can reduce the amount of pressure needed to slow down or stop your car when you press on the brakes.

If your automobile does not come to a complete stop or slow down, you and others may be in danger.

You might run into other automobiles and buildings, causing property damage or bodily harm to people.

Pedals That Sink As the Vehicle Moves

When you take your foot off the brake pedals, they should return to the top.

If you notice that the braking pedals in your car are sinking, there may be air in the brake lines.

Brake pedals can also sink due to leaking brake fluid, if the pedals are faulty or loose, or because they have been damaged.

Sinking brake pedals may prevent your car from stopping or slowing down and put you and others in danger.

Low Levels Of Brake Fluid

Brake fluid is necessary for the operation of your car’s brakes.

They must have enough brake fluid to work properly.

Low levels of brake fluid can cause the brakes not to function properly, as well as other issues.

Brake fluid levels will naturally go down with time as a result of wear and tear, but if they drop suddenly, it might be an indication of trouble.

Brake fluid levels may drop as a result of leakage, and you won’t notice it until you look closely.

You may determine if the brake fluid is leaking by looking for indicators of fluid on your driveway or underneath the automobile’s wheels.

Look for indications of fluid in the glove compartment or at the top of the brake pedals.

If you still can’t tell if the fluid is leaking after completing the above measures, get a professional mechanic to inspect it for you and correct the problem as soon as feasible to avoid the fluid from running out.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have any more questions about the master cylinder?

I’ve tried to respond to as many of your inquiries below as possible.

Is It Feasible to Drive A Car With A Faulty Master Cylinder?

A non-functional master cylinder isn’t safe to drive a car with because it puts you at risk if the braking system fails.

Your car’s brake fluid may be leaking, resulting in failed brakes and putting you and others in danger if your vehicle fails to stop.

Is It Difficult To Replace A Master Cylinder?

Replacing the master cylinder in your garage is generally simple for most automobiles.

You have the technical know-how and sufficient automobile experience, so it’s time to get working.

If you want to replace the master cylinder without removing the brake lines, you may unbolt and disconnect the old master cylinder from the firewall.

How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Faulty Master Cylinder?

A master cylinder that fails is one of the most common vehicle repair problems.

The average cost of replacing one range from $320 to $500.

The gear costs between $100 and $210, with labor ranging from $230 to $300.

You may perform the procedure yourself if you have the necessary understanding and expertise.

However, if you were meticulous in putting it in place to ensure that it is functioning appropriately to protect yourself and those around you, this would be ideal.

Final Thoughts

The Master cylinder is the most important component of your car’s braking system.

A car that can’t stop puts you and others around you at risk.

If your car’s braking system fails, it might cause deadly or irreversible injuries.

Understanding your car’s master cylinder, as well as how it works and how to tell if it needs to be changed, is critical.

Look for indications such as low brake fluid levels, sinking brakes, unusual brake pedal behavior, contaminated brake fluid, and most importantly, warning brake lights.

If you see any of these symptoms, it’s time to replace your car’s master cylinder.

You may do it at home or in a local garage with the assistance of a competent mechanic.


Jeffrey Bryce is an experienced motorcycle rider with years of experience caring for motorcycles. His natural fondness for motorcycles have made him come up with LetsGoForARide.com, which is dedicated to answering and teaching you how to care for your bike with the care it requires. LetsGoForARide is the one of his important lifework in reaching out to communities of motorcycle enthusiasts on how to take care of their bike and choosing the correct spare part.