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Brake master cylinder: function, failure symptoms, and replacement

Table of content

  1. Master cylinder on older vehicle models
  2. Defective master cylinder symptoms
  3. When should you replace the brake master cylinder?
  4. Replacing the master cylinder
  5. Summary
  6. Top products related to this topic

Master cylinders are used in both disc and drum brakes. They convert the pressure applied on the brake pedal into hydraulic braking power. This is done by the brake master cylinder feeding and controlling the brake fluid into the brake circuits, depending on the force exerted on the brake pedal. By efficiently converting the force applied to the brake pedal, it ensures that your vehicle comes to a safe and precise stop. Whether your vehicle is equipped with disc brakes or drum brakes, understanding the function and importance of the master cylinder is vital for automotive enthusiasts and safety-conscious drivers alike. Let’s take a look at this very important component.

Master cylinder on older vehicle models

On older models, the primary sleeve moves over the balancing bore, closing the pressure chamber and generating brake pressure. When the driver releases the brake pedal, the spring-loaded piston is pushed back to its original position. Car brake fluid then flows into the master cylinder. If the brakes are immediately applied again, the brake pressure is immediately increased.

Defective master cylinder symptoms

Reduced braking power or longer braking time is always an indication of a faulty master cylinder, as only two wheels are being braked instead of four. As one of the pressure chambers is no longer filled with brake fluid, the pressure point moves noticeably backwards and the pedal has to be depressed much further to feel any braking force.

-49%
RIDEX 258M0011 Brake master cylinder Number of connectors: 4, Ø: 19 mm, without brake fluid reservoir, Cast Iron, 4x M10x1.0
Parts Details
  • Diameter [mm]: 19
  • Number of connectors: 4
  • Material: Cast Iron
  • Thread Size 1: 4x M10x1.0
  • Supplementary Article / Supplementary Info Info 2: without brake fluid reservoir
  • Number of mounting bores: 2
  • Length [mm]: 40, 114,9
  • RIDEX: Brake master cylinder
  • Item number: 258M0011
  • Our price: £ 23,05
  • Condition: New
Details
RIDEX Brake master cylinder Number of connectors: 4, Ø: 19 mm, without brake fluid reservoir, Cast Iron, 4x M10x1.0
Article number: 258M0011
RRP

£ 45,40
£ 23,05
(Price per item)
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
-47%
RIDEX 258M0013 Brake master cylinder Bore Ø: 19,05 mm, without brake fluid reservoir, Cast Iron, 5x M10x1.0
Parts Details
  • Material: Cast Iron
  • Bore Ø [mm]: 19,05
  • Thread Size 1: 5x M10x1.0
  • Supplementary Article / Supplementary Info Info 2: without brake fluid reservoir
  • Length [mm]: 14,5, 182
  • RIDEX: Brake master cylinder
  • Item number: 258M0013
  • Our price: £ 23,60
  • Condition: New
Details
RIDEX Brake master cylinder Bore Ø: 19,05 mm, without brake fluid reservoir, Cast Iron, 5x M10x1.0
Article number: 258M0013
RRP

£ 44,90
£ 23,60
(Price per item)
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
-49%
RIDEX 258M0014 Brake master cylinder Bore Ø: 20,64 mm, without brake fluid reservoir, Cast Iron, 2x M10x1.0
Parts Details
  • Material: Cast Iron
  • Bore Ø [mm]: 20,64
  • Thread Size 1: 2x M10x1.0
  • Supplementary Article / Supplementary Info Info 2: without brake fluid reservoir
  • Number of mounting bores: 2
  • RIDEX: Brake master cylinder
  • Item number: 258M0014
  • Our price: £ 31,44
  • Condition: New
Details
RIDEX Brake master cylinder Bore Ø: 20,64 mm, without brake fluid reservoir, Cast Iron, 2x M10x1.0
Article number: 258M0014
RRP

£ 62,10
£ 31,44
(Price per item)
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
-57%
RIDEX 258M0005 Brake master cylinder Number of connectors: 2, Piston Ø: 25,4 mm, Aluminium, 2x M12x1.0
Parts Details
  • Number of connectors: 2
  • Material: Aluminium
  • Thread Size 1: 2x M12x1.0
  • Length [mm]: 69,5, 92
  • Piston Diameter [mm]: 25,4
  • RIDEX: Brake master cylinder
  • Item number: 258M0005
  • Our price: £ 34,70
  • Condition: New
Details
RIDEX Brake master cylinder Number of connectors: 2, Piston Ø: 25,4 mm, Aluminium, 2x M12x1.0
Article number: 258M0005
RRP

£ 81,30
£ 34,70
(Price per item)
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
-64%
RIDEX 258M0087 Brake master cylinder Bore Ø: 22,23 mm, with reservoir, Front, Grey Cast Iron, 2x M10x1.0
Parts Details
  • Material: Grey Cast Iron
  • Bore Ø [mm]: 22,23
  • Thread Size 1: 2x M10x1.0
  • Supplementary Article / Supplementary Info: with reservoir
  • Diameter [inch]: 7 / 8
  • Number of mounting bores: 4
  • Fitted Diameter [mm]: 40,5
  • Fitting Position: Front
  • Mounting Inclination: 180
  • RIDEX: Brake master cylinder
  • Item number: 258M0087
  • Our price: £ 38,60
  • Condition: New
Details
RIDEX Brake master cylinder Bore Ø: 22,23 mm, with reservoir, Front, Grey Cast Iron, 2x M10x1.0
Article number: 258M0087
RRP

£ 108,30
£ 38,60
(Price per item)
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs

A soft brake pedal, where the foot sinks towards the floor, is also a warning sign of a faulty brake master cylinder. At the same time, the brake pressure sensor will sound an alarm and the warning light on the trip computer will indicate that the component is faulty. In this case, you should drive at an appropriate speed or have the car towed to a garage.

When should you replace the brake master cylinder?

brake master cylinder

There is no real average service life for a master cylinder. That's why it's important to have it checked during a service or general inspection. However, there are certain signs that can indicate that it is malfunctioning. If you feel that your brake pedal is too soft, too hard or does not spring back properly, this may be due to a car brake fluid pressure problem caused by the cylinder not functioning properly. A defective brake master cylinder cannot convert the pressure applied to the brake pedal evenly to the wheels causing the vehicle to skid when braking.

If you notice a drop in brake fluid or traces of brake fluid on the master cylinder of your car during an inspection, this may indicate a leak. You should also examine the colour of the brake fluid in the cylinder glass. If it tends to be a blackish brown, you should bleed the brake fluid. As a general rule, the brake fluid should be changed every two years to prevent the inside of the cylinder from rusting. This may be the perfect time to take a look at our article Car brake fluid guide: check, how often to change and cost to get further information.

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RIDEX 258M0108 Brake master cylinder Piston Ø: 22,2 mm, without brake fluid reservoir, Front, Cast Iron, 3x M10x1.0
Parts Details
  • Material: Cast Iron
  • Thread Size 1: 3x M10x1.0
  • Supplementary Article / Supplementary Info Info 2: without brake fluid reservoir
  • Cylinder Piston Diameter [mm]: 22,2
  • Bore Ø 2 [mm]: 17,46
  • Number of mounting bores: 2
  • Fitting Position: Front
  • Length [mm]: 18,5, 168
  • Observe system fill quantity
  • RIDEX: Brake master cylinder
  • Item number: 258M0108
  • Our price: £ 43,96
  • Condition: New
Details
RIDEX Brake master cylinder Piston Ø: 22,2 mm, without brake fluid reservoir, Front, Cast Iron, 3x M10x1.0
Article number: 258M0108
RRP

£ 86,50
£ 43,96
(Price per item)
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
LPR 6600 Brake master cylinder Piston Ø: 19,05 mm, Grey Cast Iron, Cast Iron, 10 X 1,25 (3), 1 8 27 npsf (1)
Parts Details
  • Material: Grey Cast Iron, Cast Iron
  • Thread Size: 10 X 1,25 (3), 1 8 27 npsf (1)
  • Piston Diameter [mm]: 19,05
  • LPR: Brake master cylinder
  • Item number: 6600
  • Our price: £ 17,52
  • Condition: New
Details
LPR Brake master cylinder Piston Ø: 19,05 mm, Grey Cast Iron, Cast Iron, 10 X 1,25 (3), 1 8 27 npsf (1)
Article number: 6600
£ 17,52
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
METELLI 05-0021 Brake master cylinder D1: 19,05 mm, Cast Iron
Parts Details
  • Diameter 1 [mm]: 19,05
  • Material: Cast Iron
  • METELLI: Brake master cylinder
  • Item number: 05-0021
  • Our price: £ 12,27
  • Condition: New
Details
METELLI Brake master cylinder D1: 19,05 mm, Cast Iron
Article number: 05-0021
£ 12,27
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
LPR 1145 Brake master cylinder Piston Ø: 19,05 mm, Grey Cast Iron, 10 X 1 (5), 10 x 1 (5)
Parts Details
  • Material: Grey Cast Iron
  • Brake System: ATE
  • Thread Size: 10 X 1 (5), 10 x 1 (5)
  • Piston Diameter [mm]: 19,05
  • LPR: Brake master cylinder
  • Item number: 1145
  • Our price: £ 23,84
  • Condition: New
Details
LPR Brake master cylinder Piston Ø: 19,05 mm, Grey Cast Iron, 10 X 1 (5), 10 x 1 (5)
Article number: 1145
£ 23,84
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
-30%
390479 ATE 03.6197-0253.1 Seal, vacuum hose connector pipe
Parts Details
  • Shape: A Shape
  • Material: EPDM (ethylene propylene diene Monomer (M-class) rubber)
  • Inner Diameter [mm]: 41,5
  • Diameter [mm]: 46,5
  • Height [mm]: 2,5
  • ATE: Seal, vacuum hose connector pipe
  • Item number: 03.6197-0253.1
  • Our price: £ 2,72
  • Condition: New
Details
ATE Seal, vacuum hose connector pipe
Article number: 03.6197-0253.1
RRP

£ 3,90
£ 2,72
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs

Replacing the master cylinder

As the master brake cylinder is one of the car's safety-relevant components, it should be replaced at a specialist workshop using a car master cylinder repair kit. If the repair is carried out incorrectly, you could endanger not only yourself but also other road users. There is also a risk of damaging other components, such as the ABS unit, when replacing the master cylinder. The problem with replacing the cylinder is that the brake fluid and the valves and seals to the expansion reservoir have to be replaced as well.

Summary

The master cylinder is an essential component of any vehicle's braking system, acting as the heart that ensures the correct distribution of hydraulic pressure to each wheel. Its role in converting the force applied to the brake pedal into the vehicle's stopping power cannot be underestimated. As automotive engineering continues to evolve, we can expect further improvements in master cylinder design, resulting in even safer and more efficient braking systems for all drivers.

AUTODOC Bestsellers: parts at a good price

DELPHI LM23822 Brake master cylinder Bore Ø: 19 mm, M10x1
Parts Details
  • Bore Ø [mm]: 19
  • Brake System: ATE / BEN
  • Thread Size 1: M10x1
  • DELPHI: Brake master cylinder
  • Item number: LM23822
  • Our price: £ 28,23
  • Condition: New
Details
DELPHI Brake master cylinder Bore Ø: 19 mm, M10x1
Article number: LM23822
£ 28,23
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
-63%
A.B.S. 61287 Brake master cylinder Number of connectors: 3, Cast Iron, 3x M10x1.0
Parts Details
  • Number of connectors: 3
  • Material: Cast Iron
  • Weight [kg]: 1,13
  • Thread Size 1: 3x M10x1.0
  • Number of mounting bores: 2
  • Piston Diameter 1 [mm]: 19
  • A.B.S.: Brake master cylinder
  • Item number: 61287
  • Our price: £ 23,77
  • Condition: New
Details
A.B.S. Brake master cylinder Number of connectors: 3, Cast Iron, 3x M10x1.0
Article number: 61287
RRP

£ 64,34
£ 23,77
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
METELLI 05-0150 Brake master cylinder D1: 19,05 mm, Cast Iron
Parts Details
  • Diameter 1 [mm]: 19,05
  • Material: Cast Iron
  • METELLI: Brake master cylinder
  • Item number: 05-0150
  • Our price: £ 17,20
  • Condition: New
Details
METELLI Brake master cylinder D1: 19,05 mm, Cast Iron
Article number: 05-0150
£ 17,20
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
-33%
390323 ATE 03.3517-0300.1 Screw Plug, brake master cylinder
Parts Details
  • Thread Size: M12x1
  • Length [mm]: 13,0
  • Overall Length [mm]: 20,0
  • Flange Shape: E, F
  • Spanner size 1 [mm]: 12
  • ATE: Screw Plug, brake master cylinder
  • Item number: 03.3517-0300.1
  • Our price: £ 2,86
  • Condition: New
Details
ATE Screw Plug, brake master cylinder
Article number: 03.3517-0300.1
RRP

£ 4,30
£ 2,86
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
DELPHI LM80548 Brake master cylinder Bore Ø: 24 mm, without brake fluid reservoir
Parts Details
  • Bore Ø [mm]: 24
  • Supplementary Article / Supplementary Info Info 2: without brake fluid reservoir
  • Thread Size 2: M12x1
  • DELPHI: Brake master cylinder
  • Item number: LM80548
  • Our price: £ 45,70
  • Condition: New
Details
DELPHI Brake master cylinder Bore Ø: 24 mm, without brake fluid reservoir
Article number: LM80548
£ 45,70
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
LPR 1229 Brake master cylinder Piston Ø: 19,05 mm, Grey Cast Iron, 10 X 1 (4)
Parts Details
  • Material: Grey Cast Iron
  • Brake System: Bendix
  • Thread Size: 10 X 1 (4)
  • Piston Diameter [mm]: 19,05
  • LPR: Brake master cylinder
  • Item number: 1229
  • Our price: £ 23,29
  • Condition: New
Details
LPR Brake master cylinder Piston Ø: 19,05 mm, Grey Cast Iron, 10 X 1 (4)
Article number: 1229
£ 23,29
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
BREMBO M 23 014 Brake master cylinder Bore Ø: 22,2 mm, Cast Iron, 10 x 1 (3)
Parts Details
  • Material: Cast Iron
  • Bore Ø [mm]: 22,2
  • Brake System: ATE
  • Thread Size: 10 x 1 (3)
  • BREMBO: Brake master cylinder
  • Item number: M 23 014
  • Our price: £ 53,79
  • Condition: New
Details
BREMBO Brake master cylinder Bore Ø: 22,2 mm, Cast Iron, 10 x 1 (3)
Article number: M 23 014
£ 53,79
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
A.B.S. 51680 Brake master cylinder Number of connectors: 2, Aluminium, 2x M12x1.0
Parts Details
  • Number of connectors: 2
  • Material: Aluminium
  • Brake System: LUCAS / TRW
  • Weight [kg]: 0,66
  • Thread Size 1: 2x M12x1.0
  • Number of mounting bores: 2
  • Length [mm]: 92, 70
  • Piston Diameter 1 [mm]: 25,4
  • A.B.S.: Brake master cylinder
  • Item number: 51680
  • Our price: £ 35,05
  • Condition: New
Details
A.B.S. Brake master cylinder Number of connectors: 2, Aluminium, 2x M12x1.0
Article number: 51680
£ 35,05
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
LPR 1811 Brake master cylinder Piston Ø: 22,2 mm, Grey Cast Iron, 10 X 1 (3)
Parts Details
  • Material: Grey Cast Iron
  • Brake System: ATE
  • Thread Size: 10 X 1 (3)
  • for article number: 1811
  • Piston Diameter [mm]: 22,2
  • LPR: Brake master cylinder
  • Item number: 1811
  • Our price: £ 44,54
  • Condition: New
Details
LPR Brake master cylinder Piston Ø: 22,2 mm, Grey Cast Iron, 10 X 1 (3)
Article number: 1811
£ 44,54
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs
-56%
TRW PMF148 Brake master cylinder Number of connectors: 4, D1: 20,6 mm, M10x1
Parts Details
  • Number of connectors: 4
  • Diameter 1 [mm]: 20,6
  • Thread Size 1: M10x1
  • Manufacturer Restriction: BENDIX
  • TRW: Brake master cylinder
  • Item number: PMF148
  • Our price: £ 39,98
  • Condition: New
Details
TRW Brake master cylinder Number of connectors: 4, D1: 20,6 mm, M10x1
Article number: PMF148
RRP

£ 92,89
£ 39,98
price incl. 20% VAT, excl. delivery costs

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