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Brake Master Cylinder Replacement Cost Estimate

Worried you might overpay for your brake master cylinder replacement? Use Jerry's GarageGuard to get fair cost estimate for your brake master cylinder replacement.
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John Davis
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Reviewed by Kathleen Flear, Director of Content
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Edited by Jessica Barrett, Senior Car & Insurance Editor

How much does it cost to replace a brake master cylinder?

The average cost for a brake master cylinder replacement is $275, including $132 for parts and $143 for labor. The exact price will depend on your vehicle’s year and model.
Your parts bill pays for a new master cylinder, but might also include new brake lines and fluid, depending on the extent of the damage. As for the labor cost, it takes around 1.2 hours for a certified mechanic to dismantle the wheel assembly, determine whether a repair is necessary, and then perform the brake master cylinder replacement. 
Here’s how much you’ll pay for a brake master cylinder replacement for some popular vehicle models:
Brake drum replacement cost for various vehicles
Estimate DateCustomerCarFair Cost EstimateParts CostLabor CostLabor Time
May 22, 2024
Mazda 5
$280
$92
$188
1.6 Hours
May 20, 2024
Chevrolet Equinox
$289
$92
$196
1.6 Hours
May 18, 2024
Dodge Dakota
$237
$71
$166
1.6 Hours
May 14, 2024
Isuzu Rodeo
$276
$92
$184
1.6 Hours
May 14, 2024
BMW M550
$229
$71
$158
1.6 Hours
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How did we estimate these prices?

Jerry's experts researched and collected data from 2500+ real repair shops in all 50 states in the US, including everything from the total cost of repair services to the hourly labor cost for mechanic labor in each shop. We combined that data with our expert database of hundreds of real repair jobs, thousands of real cars, millions of real car part prices in order to best estimate the cost of each repair service. Our labor cost estimate is calculated by taking the average hourly labor rate for a certified mechanic in the US, times the number of hours it takes on average to complete a repair. We recommend you compare your local shops with Jerry and contact those shops directly to get final pricing for your vehicle.

What parts do I need for a brake master cylinder replacement and how much do they cost?

A brake master cylinder replacement will probably involve the following part
  1. Brake master cylinder ($15-$500): Braking puts the brake master cylinders under a lot of pressure—literally! Depressing the brake pedal causes the brake master cylinder forces fluid through the brake lines to activate the vehicle's stopping mechanism. This part is prone to leaks and cracks.
  2. Brake fluid reservoir ($10-$70): The brake fluid reservoir supplies the fluid that the brake master cylinder forces through the brake lines and hoses. It must be filled at all times to prevent air bubbles from forming.
  3. Brake fluid
    ($5-$40): Brake fluid is the thin, hydraulic blood that courses through the veins of your vehicle’s brakes, so to speak. In most cases, a failing brake master cylinder will lead to a low brake fluid level that needs to be topped up.
  4. Brake pads
    ($15-$540): In a disc brake system, brake pads provide the friction that slows the wheels and stops the car. Good mechanics check them (and the brake rotors they rub against) whenever possible since brake pads wear down quickly. Front brakes often use disc rotors.
  5. Brake shoes
    ($15-$90): In a drum brakes system, brake shoes press against the inside of the brake drum and slow the wheels. Because they’re crucial for stopping and prone to wear and tear, good mechanics check them (and the brake drums they rub against) at every opportunity. Rear brakes often use drums.
We recommend purchasing parts at local auto parts stores such as AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, and NAPA Auto Parts, as well as online retailers like Amazon and RockAuto. We also recommend reputable brands like A1 Cardone, Raybestos, and Centric Parts. However, like price, recommended brands may also vary depending on your vehicle’s specific year, make, and model.
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts cost a lot more than aftermarket parts, but are they really better? It depends on the brand. However, OEM parts usually justify their higher price tags with a better warranty. For example, every Honda brake master cylinder includes a 12-month warranty.
You can buy parts for a brake master cylinder replacement at auto body and parts shops like AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts or NAPA Auto Parts, or online at Amazon and RockAuto. If you prefer OEM parts, you can also try your vehicle manufacturer’s official website. Toyota, Chevrolet, BMW, Nissan, and just about every other car maker sell OEM parts online. Check your owner’s manual for any crucial specifications so you don’t buy the wrong part.
Yes, it’s possible for a brake master to fail without leaking if one of its internal seals develops a crack. But even if you don’t see a brake fluid leak, you should still fix it. A mechanic can test your brake master cylinder by blocking off the ports and measuring how much internal pressure builds when you press the brake pedal.

Where can I get my brake master cylinder replaced?

Finding the right place to get your brake master cylinder replaced can be tricky—especially if you don’t have a trusted mechanic to turn to. Luckily, Jerry's
GarageGuard™
can help you compare costs for the services you need from over 2,500 reputable repair shops across the country. 
Jerry's GarageGuard™ compares fair price estimates from shops using their actual hourly labor rate. Jerry's GarageGuard™ will also let you know if you need to budget for diagnostic fees and show you reviews from real customers to help you choose the best service.
Check out some of our vetted shops below and download the app to compare car repair quotes in your area.
184 Reviews
Cleve-Hill Auto & Tire - Buffalo
address
1050 Main St, Buffalo, NY
Brake Master Cylinder Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$286
(Parts - $132, Labor - $154)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$140
177 Reviews
54th Street Auto Center
address
415 W 54th St, New York, NY
Brake Master Cylinder Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$331
(Parts - $132, Labor - $199)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$191
194 Reviews
Jefferson Auto Service
address
901 Shrewsbury Rd, New Orleans, LA
Brake Master Cylinder Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$280
(Parts - $132, Labor - $148)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$99
156 Reviews
Otwell's Auto and Tire Care
address
7304 Indiana Ave # 1, Riverside, CA
Brake Master Cylinder Replacement Cost
Fair Cost Estimate for This Shop
$268
(Parts - $132, Labor - $136)
Shop Diagnostic Fee
(Included in service charges)
$125
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How did we vet these shops?

Jerry experts researched 2500+ real repair shops across the US. We talked to real shop customers, and analyzed both real shop pricing data and thousands of real customer reviews from each shop to verify them individually. We do not partner with the shops listed above, and our analysis is always unbiased.

How do you replace a brake master cylinder?

Replacing a master cylinder costs a lot because the repair is difficult and requires special equipment—you can’t safely do this at home in your driveway or garage, unlike some other forms of car maintenance. 
The mechanic’s labor will include:
  1. Disconnecting the brake lines between the brake master cylinder, the brake fluid level reservoir, and the brake wheel cylinders.
  2. Unbolting the old brake master cylinder from the brake booster or firewall (depending on the type of brake system)
  3. Bleeding the air from the brake master cylinder body and fluid reservoir
  4. Bolting the new brake master cylinder to the brake booster or firewall
  5. Reconnecting the brake lines and fluid level sensor
  6. Bleeding air, oil brake fluid, and other contaminants from the brake hoses and using a bidirectional scanner to activate the ABS pump (depending on whether your vehicle has anti-lock brakes)
  7. Testing the brakes for safe and normal function

Can I drive my car with a bad brake master cylinder?

In the event of a brake master cylinder malfunction, your brakes could fail completely, resulting in a serious car accident.
Stopping power is crucial to preventing a car accident, so if you feel your brakes are compromised, see a mechanic right away. If you can't get to a garage, call them for a tow—they might be able to recommend some cheap or discounted businesses.

What is a brake master cylinder replacement?

A brake master cylinder replacement involves removing the old brake master cylinder and installing a new one. A mechanic must disassemble the braking assembly, clean the parts, and then reconnect them. Last but not least, they'll test the new part and your car's braking system as a whole to ensure everything is working properly.

How do you know if your brake master cylinder is gone?

You’ll want to take your car to a professional mechanic immediately if you encounter any of these symptoms:
  1. The brake system warning light is on: It could be a check engine light, a brake, or ABS light—either way, it’s time to get an inspection.
  2. Your brake pressure is off—the brake pedal feels spongy, slow, or like it’s sinking: These are all tell-tale warning signs of a faulty brake master cylinder.
  3. The car swerves when you press the brake pedal: Swerving, drifting, or weaving to a stop isn’t normal brake performance! If one wheel has more braking power than the other, it may be caused by a faulty brake master cylinder.
  4. Brake fluid is leaking from your car: Since your brakes can’t work without brake fluid, it’s important to find and stop any leaks ASAP.
  5. The brake master cylinder looks damp, wet, or like it might be leaking: When the master cylinder reservoir appears damp, it may indicate that it needs to be replaced.
Key Takeaway Steering issues, brake issues, and leaks can all point to a faulty brake master cylinder.
MORE: Brake fluid is leaking inspection cost

How long should a brake master cylinder last?

The life expectancy of a brake master cylinder is all over the place. You might see a crack at 60,000 miles if you floor the gas pedal and brake just as hard in the city. However, if most of your driving takes place on the highway, you might be able to go 200,000 miles without any problems.

Is a brake master cylinder hard to replace?

Yes, a brake master cylinder can be hard to replace and should only be attempted by a qualified professional with the right equipment. Don't risk your safety by disassembling and reassembling your brake system by yourself. At worst, you could compromise your vehicle’s safety—and at best, you’ll end up covered in hard-to-clean engine oil!

FAQs

It’s better to replace than rebuild your brake master cylinder. The brake master cylinder experiences a ton of pressure and wear and tear during normal driving. Whatever cracks or leaks you rebuild today could reappear tomorrow—with catastrophic results.
Piston bore wear and piston seal failures can all make a master cylinder go bad. The master cylinder has a hole (or bore) through its center, through which the piston pumps. If the piston rubs against the walls of the master cylinder, it may break. It’s also quite possible for the seal connecting it to the surrounding brake lines to fail, resulting in a major leak.
At $22-$980 apiece, brake calipers are often the most expensive part of any braking system. They have to be sturdy, but because they contact so many other pieces and experience so much wear and tear, it’s not uncommon for them to need replacement.

Meet Our Experts

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John Davis
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Car Expert
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Certified mechanic with 10+ years of experience
John Davis is an expert automotive writer and former automotive mechanic. John's work spans multiple categories, and he relishes the opportunity to research a new subject and expand his area of expertise and industry knowledge. To date, John has written more than 200 articles covering car maintenance and care, car advice, how-to guides, and more.
Prior to joining Jerry’s editorial team, John worked as a mechanic and freelance writer, creating content for clients including HotCars and SetPower.
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Jessica Barrett
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Car Expert
Jessica Barrett is a senior insurance writer and editor with 10 years of experience in the automotive and travel industries. A specialist in car insurance, car loans, and car ownership, Jessica’s mission is to create comprehensive content that car owners can use to manage their costs and improve their lives. As a managing editor for a team of writers and insurance specialists, Jessica has edited over 2,000 articles for Jerry on topics ranging from local insurance shopping tips to refinancing car loans with bad credit.
Before joining Jerry as a senior content editor in 2021, Jessica created visual content for clients such as Expedia, Vivid Seats, Budget Direct Car Insurance, Angie’s List, and HomeAdvisor. Her content was published in Business Insider, Forbes, Apartment Therapy, and the BBC.
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Kathleen Flear
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Car Expert
Kathleen Flear is an expert insurance writer and editor who heads up Jerry’s editorial team as director of content. Kathleen empowers drivers to make smart car ownership decisions through  best-in-class articles on insurance, loans, and maintenance. Prior to joining Jerry in 2021, Kathleen served as managing editor for a team of SEO content marketing professionals at Article-Writing.co and worked as a freelance writer and editor for a range of digital publications, including Chicago Literati magazine and Golden Words. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from Queen’s University, and a master’s degree in creative writing and fiction from Sierra Nevada University.
*The price information provided on our car repair webpages is intended for general informational purposes only. Actual prices for car repair services may vary based on various factors, including but not limited to the make and model of your vehicle, the extent of repair required, and the prevailing market conditions. All prices for real repair shops are estimations based on our research only. Therefore, the prices listed on our webpages should not be considered as final quotes or binding offers.