The master cylinder of your car's brake system is the component that moves brake fluid through the brake lines, putting pressure on the actual brakes and slowing down your vehicle while driving. If your master cylinder has become worn or damaged and is no longer working properly, it can severely increase the risk of an accident or collision occurring by reducing the overall amount of control you have over your vehicle's speed. Thankfully, there are a couple of early warning signs of a brake master cylinder that is in need of replacement.
Soft Brake Pedal
One of the easiest warning signs of a damaged or failing brake master cylinder is if your car's brake pedal begins to feel soft or squishy. This can usually be attributed to physical damage to the seals or the body of the master cylinder itself, which then in turn is allowing brake fluid to leak out of your brake system. Keep in mind that damaged brake lines can result in the exact same symptom. Either way, you should contact a mechanic immediately to take a look at your brakes if you notice that the pedal has become soft, as leaking brake fluid can severely reduce the effectiveness of your brakes.
In line with the above point, you should check your brake assembly and the driveway under your vehicle for any signs of brake fluid leaks. The master cylinder is composed of a variety of parts, but has the brake fluid reservoir sitting right on top, visible as soon as you open the hood. Check around the reservoir for any signs of leaking fluid. If there are signs of fluid on your driveway, wipe it up with a rag to see what color it is: brake fluid tends to be fairly clear, with a yellow or orange tint to it, depending on age. If you do find evidence of a brake fluid leak around your master cylinder, you should talk to a mechanic about replacing or repairing the part.
Discolored Brake Fluid
Another clear sign that your master cylinder is on its last legs is if your brake fluid has become a dark brown or even a black shade. This is because of the degradation of the rubber gaskets and seals within the master cylinder, causing the particles to mix into the brake fluid. While you can fix the fluid by replacing it, the master cylinder will not be able to hold the fluid under the same amount of pressure as its gaskets have begun to fall apart. Thus, if you notice that your brake fluid has become discolored, you should talk to a professional about having the master cylinder replaced. For more information, contact a business such as H & S Tire & Auto Center.