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Brake Master Cylinder Replacement Costs

  • Auto Refinance
  • Vanessa Norris
  • 8 minutes

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 When you skip your car’s routine maintenance, you reduce your car’s lifespan and put yourself in danger. And any issues with your brake master cylinder are something you shouldn’t ignore. Read to learn more about brake master cylinder replacement costs. 

What Is a Brake Master Cylinder? 

The brake master cylinder is an important part of your car’s braking system. The brake pedal converts the force from your foot into hydraulic pressure, stopping the wheels by activating the braking mechanism. 

When you press the brake pedal, a brake booster increases the force and activates a push rod. The push rod moves a piston inside the master cylinder, which changes mechanical force into hydraulic pressure. The brake pressure is sent to the brakes at each wheel through each brake circuit.  

When you have disc brakes, the caliper piston is responsible for pressing the brake pads against the brake rotor to slow down or stop the vehicle. If your vehicle has drum brakes, the wheel cylinders push the brake shoes against a brake drum.  


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Why Is It Important to Have Proper Brake Maintenance?

Here are some of the reasons why regular brake maintenance is important: 

It Ensures Safety

It is crucial to properly maintain brakes to have reliable stopping power and ensure safety. If you don’t take care of your brakes, there’s a higher chance they could fail, especially when you need to stop suddenly. This can be dangerous. 

It Improves Performance

Regular brake maintenance can enhance the performance of your braking system, resulting in a smoother and more consistent stopping experience. 

It Enhances the Brake System’s Lifespan

Regular maintenance can help make your brakes last longer, so you won’t have to spend as much on replacing them. 

You Can Save on Repairs

Neglecting brake maintenance can result in more expensive repairs, leading to increased costs. Regular maintenance can help prevent these problems and save money over time. 

To ensure optimal braking performance, it is crucial to have your brakes inspected and maintained regularly by a professional. 

What Are the Signs of a Malfunctioning Car Brake System?

A faulty brake master cylinder can show itself in various ways. Here are the most common signs: 

  • The brake system warning light is on. 
  • Your brake pressure is off—the brake pedal feels spongy, slow, or like it’s sinking. 
  • The car swerves when you press the brake pedal. 
  • Brake fluid is leaking from your car. 
  • The brake master cylinder looks damp, wet, or like it might be leaking. 

brake pad

How to Replace a Brake Master Cylinder?

Here is a step-by-step guide for replacing a brake master cylinder: 

To begin with, you have to find the different parts of the brake master cylinder. These include the master cylinder reservoir and the brake fluid reservoir. Additionally, locate the master cylinder itself, the brake line connections, and the brake fluid level sensor. 

  • To remove the brake fluid from the master cylinder reservoir, you can use a siphon or a turkey baster.  
  • Disconnect the connector for the brake fluid sensor. 
  • Detach the brake lines by loosening the brake line fittings. 
  • Remove the old master cylinder. 
  • Remove excess air by doing a bench bleed on the new master cylinder. 
  • Proceed with the installation of the new master cylinder. 
  • Reconnect the brake lines and the brake fluid sensor connector. 
  • Refill the master cylinder fluid reservoir using fresh brake fluid. 
  • Remove any air bubbles from the brake system by bleeding the brakes. 

Please keep in mind that brake fluid is corrosive and has the potential to harm painted surfaces. Make sure to have a brake cleaner readily available if you need to clean up any brake fluid spills. 

Brake Master Cylinder Replacement Costs

The average cost to replace a brake master cylinder is usually around $400 to $800. The estimated labor costs range from $140 to $200, while the estimated cost of parts ranges from $260 to $600. 

Replacing a brake master cylinder will likely involve a lot of parts. Here is the list of parts that come along brake master cylinder replacement with its cost: 

  • Brake master cylinder – $15-$500 
  • Brake fluid reservoir – $10-$70 
  • Brake fluid – $5-$40 
  • Brake pads – $15-$540 
  • Brake shoes – $15-$90. 

Factors Affecting the Cost of Replacing a Brake Master Cylinder

The cost of replacing a brake master cylinder can vary based on a few factors, such as: 

Type of Vehicle

Some vehicles may require more specialized parts or additional labor, affecting the overall cost. 

Brand of Brake Master Cylinder

The price of a replacement brake master cylinder can vary based on the brand. Some brands are more expensive than others. 

Replacement Location 

The cost of labor for a replacement can vary based on the location. This is because labor rates can differ from one place to another. 

Labor Costs 

The labor cost can vary based on the mechanic’s experience, skill level, and the time needed to complete the job. 

Cost of Parts 

The cost of the brake master cylinder can vary based on the brand, quality, and availability of the ancillary parts. 

braking system

Options for Brake Master Cylinder Replacement

When it comes to replacing the brake master cylinder, multiple options are available, each with advantages and disadvantages. Such as: 

Original Equipment Manufacturer Parts 

OEM parts are made by the same company that made the vehicle. They are created to match the original specifications of the vehicle. Using OEM parts has several benefits, like: 

  • They perfectly fit your vehicle, ensuring everything works seamlessly together.
  • OEM parts are known for their reliable performance, giving you peace of mind that your vehicle will operate as intended.  
  • When you use OEM parts, you typically receive a warranty directly from the manufacturer, offering additional protection and support.  

One drawback is that OEM parts can be pricier compared to aftermarket parts. 

Aftermarket Parts  

Aftermarket parts are made by companies that are not vehicle manufacturers. They are made to fit many different types of vehicles. Using aftermarket parts has several benefits. They are generally cheaper than original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts.  

Additionally, aftermarket parts offer a wide variety of options to choose from. One disadvantage is that aftermarket parts can have varying quality and fit. It’s important to ensure they meet the original specifications for your specific vehicle. 

Rebuilt Brake Master Cylinders 

Rebuilt brake master cylinders are previously used parts that have been restored to a condition like when they were new. They are cheaper than new parts and more environmentally friendly.  

One drawback is that the quality and reliability of rebuilt parts can vary. Additionally, these parts may only last for a short time compared to new parts. 

How Frequently Should Brake Master Cylinders Be Replaced? 

Replacing the brake master cylinder is a common repair for many car makes and models. However, most vehicles will not require this repair until they have reached 125,000 miles or more. 

brake fluid

Is a Brake Master Cylinder Hard to Replace? 

Replacing a brake master cylinder can be difficult, so it’s important to have a qualified professional with the proper equipment to handle the task. It is not advisable to attempt to disassemble and reassemble your brake system on your own, as it may pose a risk to your safety.  

In the worst-case scenario, tampering with your vehicle could put its safety at risk. In the best-case scenario, you might just get engine oil on yourself, which can be difficult to clean. 

What Is the Most Expensive Part of the Brake System? 

Brake calipers can be costly, ranging from $22 to $980 each. They are often the priciest component of a braking system. The pieces must be strong because they come into contact with many other pieces and go through a lot of wear and tear. It is common for them to require replacement. 

How Long Do Brake Master Cylinders Last? 

The lifespan of a brake master cylinder can vary greatly. If you drive aggressively in the city by rapidly accelerating and braking, a crack may appear at around 60,000 miles. If you primarily drive on the highway, reaching 200,000 miles without encountering any issues is possible. 

Is It Safe to Drive with a Bad Brake Master Cylinder? 

No. If the brake master cylinder malfunctions, it can cause your brakes to fail, which could lead to a severe car accident. 

If you think something is wrong with your brakes, it’s important to get them checked by a mechanic as soon as possible. Stopping power is important for avoiding car accidents. If you cannot reach a garage, call them and ask for a tow. Just don’t drive with a bad braking system. 

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