Master Cylinder Cost: An Estimation & Symptoms

Naomi O'Colman

Master Cylinder Cost

Master Cylinder Cost

The cost of cylinder replacement can vary depending on the type of machine and model. In this blog, I’ll give you an estimate of the master cylinder cost and the symptoms that your master cylinder needs to be replaced.

What Is Brake Master Cylinder?

A master cylinder is a hydraulic unit that is used to apply brake fluid pressure to the braking system. It is commonly found on the left side of the vehicle around 7 inches below the steering wheel. Its primary function is to provide power for braking, allowing you to stop or slow down your automobile. It also provides hydraulic pressure for other systems for your car or truck, such as clutch, power steering, and ABS brakes.
I know how daunting the task of repairing your own brakes sounds. Since you are planning to repair or replace your own brake system, either way, you’d like to know what it will cost you in the long run. Most mechanics charge by an hour of work, but some will quote you a flat rate which includes both parts and labor.

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Master Cylinder Cost: An Estimation

The cost of replacing the master cylinder varies depending on its make and model. For instance, the process to replace a master cylinder on a Hyundai Sonata would be totally different than replacing it on a Mercedes Benz.

According to number of auto shops’ survey we did, the average cost to replace a brake master cylinder can range from $320 to $500, including the part and labor costs. But of course, the cost may differ, depending on the type of car or truck that you have and how easy or difficult the installation process is.

Among the more popular models of cars, trucks, and SUV’s which require master cylinder replacement include:

Chevrolet C1500 pick-up trucks manufactured from 1997-2003. Chrysler PT Cruiser manufactured from 2001-2011. Dodge RAM 1500 pick-up trucks manufactured from 2003-2007. Nissan Pathfinder manufactured from 2000-2005 Honda CRV manufactured from 2000-2006. Toyota Camry manufactured from 1991-2001.

Master Cylinder Cost: Common Symptoms Of Bad Brake Master Cylinders

The primary symptoms that the master cylinder is in need of a replacement are:

#1 Low or no brake fluid in the master cylinder reservoir.

Moisture or dirt buildup within the reservoir, which may prevent the braking system from functioning properly. The pedal will begin to feel mushy just before the brake fails completely, making driving conditions extremely dangerous since you won’t be able to stop your car or truck safely. For those of you who want to do it yourself, replacing a brake master cylinder should not be too difficult if you’re careful and can follow the steps correctly. However, if you’re not confident in doing the job yourself then we suggest that you bring your car or truck to a professional mechanic or auto shop for servicing.

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#2 Warning Light On

Menus will be highly restricted or off when the brake master cylinder is replaced. You’ll notice that the brake pedal will not feel firm under any conditions. Additionally, you should also get a mechanic to check your brake lights and make sure they operate properly. The yellow warning light which signals low brake fluid if left unnoticed for too long can cause serious accidents, especially during wet rainy weather. Also, if your brake lights are not working properly, your brake pedal will be too soft which may make driving conditions very dangerous.

#3 Contaminated Brake Fluid

When the brake master cylinder fails, it can cause contaminated brake fluid. This is because this component acts as a reservoir and stores the brake fluid until it is needed for braking. When the master cylinder fails, brake fluid can leak and contaminate your brake lines and your entire braking system.

#4 Squishy Pedal

The pedal may start to feel soft or squishy while you are driving, or while you are applying the brakes on a hard surface such as a highway. Another symptom that master cylinder replacement may be required is that the brake pedal will begin to feel soft when you apply the brakes.

#5 The Noise

One of the primary symptoms that master cylinder replacement is required is sometimes you will hear grinding or groaning noises while braking. These noises occur because the pistons inside your master cylinder may be damaged or worn out, so they need to be replaced. This can also cause your brakes not to function properly and therefore your car will not stop when you need it to.

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#6 Reduced Brake Pads

When the brake master cylinder fails, it can sometimes cause the brake pads to become damaged or worn out. This can cause your brakes to stop working properly which can be dangerous. If this happens, you should have your brakes replaced immediately.

Why Should I Replace Brake Master Cylinder?

Because Over time, the hydraulic fluid inside your master cylinder will become contaminated, and this will eventually result in reduced braking power and safety. When the pressure of your hand applied to the hand brake is not enough to slow down your vehicle, your brake master cylinder may need to be replaced.

How To Fix Brake Master Cylinder

Step 1 – Locate The Brake Master Cylinder

The first step would be to find the brake master cylinder. It is located near the driver’s left foot, found on top of or underneath the dashboard. It’s a small cylindrical area that holds the brake fluid and contains a small piston and valve.

Step 2 – Replace The Brake Master Cylinder

To replace the brake master cylinder, you’d remove its retaining bolt and unscrew it. Then, use an auto jack to remove the old one and install the new one. You can now put your car or truck back to work without any delays or safety concerns.

Step 3 – Test It

After installing a new brake master cylinder, you should test it immediately. Make sure that the fluid level is correct and the brake fluid doesn’t have any contamination before driving your car or truck.


Replacing the brake master cylinder is not an easy job because it can be very complicated. If you are not up to the task, it is best to have your car or truck towed to a professional auto mechanic or auto shop. If you see any of the bad brake master cylinders mentioned above, it’s best to have your car checked by a mechanic.