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Master Cylinders 101

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Last week we looked into the use and value of brake proportioning valves. A small device attaches to your master cylinder and runs through to the rear brakes. This week we’ll look at the all-vital master cylinder and its importance for your vehicle. Here at Pirate Jack Hot Rod Restoration, we focus on delivering high-quality products and information to our customers. When it comes to your braking system, we have the solutions for maximizing performance and safety. This includes replacement master cylinders. Before perusing our inventory, read about what master cylinders are and how incredibly useful they are!

The master cylinder is an intuitive device consisting of pistons, springs, and reservoirs that all work in tandem to push fluid to your breaks. It converts the pressure of your foot on the brake pedal into hydraulic pressure that stops the vehicle. The process can be simplified into the following:

  1. Applying the brakes. Your foot pushes down, sending pressure through the force rod down to the cylinder.
  2. Pressure builds. As the piston at the end of the force rod is pushed forward, hydraulic pressure is trapped and starts to build.
  3. Pads are applied. The pressure of blocked hydraulics is transferred to the cylinder or caliper, activating the stopping devices and slowing the vehicle down.

The master cylinder is the brain for hydraulic braking. Modern systems require two reservoirs be used for the braking system. Vehicles made in the last four decades use this dual circuit setup for safety reasons. In the past, your entire brake setup was maintained by one circuit. However, if that circuit failed due to malfunctions or reservoir leaks, then all of your brakes would fail simultaneously. Today’s dual circuit systems are much better in that one failure means you can still stop your car. Even though two of the four brakes will fail to work, you’ll still be able to come to a halt!

Your car’s braking system must be in optimal condition to ensure the safety of you and those around you. With its simple design and focus on safety, the master cylinder should a quiet, durable component that operations for years without complaint. The lifespan of this device depends on many factors including:

  • City vs. highway driving
  • Braking habits
  • Frequency of brake fluid changing
  • Moisture present in air

Although failure is a rarer occurrence, replacing a worn or leaking cylinder head is of utmost importance. If there any question of faulty operation in your brakes, get it checked! Pirate Jack offers master cylinders along with the brake hardware kits needed for installation. We carry cylinders for all types of brakes and conversions and have what you need. Contact us today to get the help you need to modify your ride for the better!