2 Signs Your Car Brakes' Master Cylinder Pistons Are Going Bad

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If your car has a disc braking system, this system works to stop your vehicle by pressing brake pads attached to calipers against the discs to create enough friction to slow and stop the wheels. The calipers themselves are operated by the master cylinder pistons that use the brake fluid to build up enough pressure to operate the calipers.

If you have noticed you are having trouble braking while driving, there is a possibility that the issue is caused by failing master cylinder pistons. Below are a couple of the signs you should watch out for that indicate the pistons are going bad and need to be fixed by a professional.

1. Brake Pedal Feels Spongy and Harder to Push When Trying to Stop

One sign that your car brake's master cylinder pistons are going bad can be felt when you apply the brake pedal. You may find that the pedal feels spongy, making it necessary to push down on it harder than normal to bring the car to a stop. When this happens, there is not enough pressure building up within the braking system.

If this is the case, you should first check the brake fluid level to see if it is too low since inadequate fluid will affect the pressure level. If the fluid level is normal, the pistons are not working properly and cannot build up enough pressure to efficiently work the calipers.

2. Presence of Tiny Pieces of Rubber Floating in the Brake Fluid

While you are checking the brake fluid level, you can also check for another sign that the master cylinder pistons are failing. Hold the brake fluid dipstick up to the light to see if you find any tiny pieces of rubber floating in it.

If so, these rubber pieces are parts of the seals of the pistons that have started to deteriorate. Eventually, the seals will completely crumble, causing a major fluid leak that could leave you without brakes at all.

If your brake pedal feels spongy and you find tiny pieces of rubber floating in the brake fluid, the master cylinder pistons that operate the calipers are most likely to blame. You may also find a coating of the fluid on the rims of the tires because the pistons are shooting out a small amount when they are in motion. If you suspect the pistons are going bad, do not continue to drive, as they will eventually fail and leave you with no way to stop your car. Instead, take your car to an automotive shop that offers brake repair services in your area.

For more information on auto brakes, contact a professional near you.