5 Symptoms of a Bad Clutch Master Cylinder in Your Car

(Updated on July 17, 2020)

The clutch master cylinder is an important component in any vehicle which has a manual transmission. When you apply pressure to the clutch pedal on the floor, it separates the drive wheels and engine so that you can change gears. The clutch would not be able to perform this function if it weren’t for the hydraulic pressure created by the clutch master cylinder. That is why if something were to ever happen to the clutch master cylinder, it would greatly impact your ability to change gears or drive the car in general.

The Top 5 Symptoms of a Bad Clutch Master Cylinder

You simply cannot afford to drive with a bad clutch master cylinder in your vehicle. It could not only put your life at risk, but it could also put the lives of your passengers and other people on the road at risk as well. To understand when the clutch master cylinder in your vehicle is starting to go bad, there are certain symptoms that you can recognize which will indicate this.

Need immediate help for your car problem? Chat online with an expert:

Below are the top 5 symptoms of a bad clutch master cylinder.

Strange Noises – When you go to shift gears or apply pressure to the clutch pedal, do you hear any weird sounds or noises? If you do, this could be an early warning sign that your clutch master cylinder is going bad. The noises will often become louder or more frequent as the cylinder condition gets worse. Don’t let them get too much louder if you already notice them. Replace your clutch master cylinder right away.

Shifting Problems – Anytime you have problems shifting the transmission, it is always a reason to be alarmed. In most cases, your clutch master cylinder is to blame for this. Whenever you have a damaged or worn out clutch master cylinder, it won’t be able to generate the hydraulic pressure needed to shift the transmission properly. Perhaps there is a leak inside of the cylinder that is causing this to happen. As a result, you won’t be able to disengage the clutch when you apply pressure to the clutch pedal.

Low Resistance in the Clutch – There should always be a little bit of resistance when you step on the clutch pedal with your foot. If the clutch pedal feels too smooth as you apply pressure to it, then there must be a leak in your clutch master cylinder. In a lot of these cases, the seals of the cylinder are responsible for the leak. You can try to repair these seals, but it might be better to just replace the entire cylinder.

Clutch Falls to Floor – Does the clutch pedal fall right to the bottom of the floor after you step on it? Whether it goes all the way to the bottom or stays near the bottom, this is a sign that the clutch is not receiving enough hydraulic pressure. This symptom will happen once your clutch master cylinder has completely died. The only thing you can do is replace the cylinder to fix this problem.

Read also: How Often to Change Transmission Fluid: Manual and Automatic

Dirty Clutch Fluid – Check the reservoir to see the condition of the clutch fluid. If the fluid looks dirty or there isn’t enough fluid in the reservoir, then it will cause problems for your clutch master cylinder. The cylinder may get dirty if its inner seals are damaged or worn out, causing contamination of the fluid. This commonly takes place as the seals’ age and get older. You will also get low fluid levels once the clutch master cylinder starts leaking too. As soon as you notice dirty fluid, replace your clutch master cylinder immediately.

8 thoughts on “5 Symptoms of a Bad Clutch Master Cylinder in Your Car”

  1. My clutch master cylinder housing is brand new…but still I have to replace the inner rubbers every 5 to 6weeks

    • Make sure the clutch pedal adjustment is within spec. It’s possible the pushrod is pushing too far, or not enough. If it’s a remanufactured master cylinder, it could simply be defective.

  2. I just had my clutch master cylinder replaced and within days I was right back to not being able to shift. The obvious answer is that I have a leak somewhere. I don’t know much about cars so my question may sound stupid. But ohh well. I’m thinking that my issue may be electrical. I have a 2010 Dodge Caliber with a manual transmission. However isn’t there a fluid sensor somewhere in regards to the clutch fluid? And this the break fluid reservoir? Are they the same? Or am I completely off?

  3. I have all of the symptoms of a bad CMC but my car creeps forward when I have the clutch fully pressed down and but it doesn’t slip or move any faster if I increase throttle, it has a new clutch that’s less than 10k old and the mechanics didn’t replace the cmc. Before I spend any more money on it I’d like to make sure it’s the CMC but don’t know anything so I’m asking you guys.


Leave a Comment