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The all-important slave cylinder

In motor vehicles, the slave cylinder is the device that converts non-hydraulic pressure from the driver’s foot into hydraulic pressure. By converting this pressure, it allows the driver to easily stop the vehicle when needed without applying excessive pressure. If the slave or master cylinder were not present in motor vehicles it would be very difficult to exert enough pressure on the braking system to stop the vehicle.

How a slave cylinder works

This type of cylinder has a piston within it that moves along the bore of the cylinder. This movement is transferred through the hydraulic fluid and results in the movement of the slave cylinder. These cylinders can wear over time, particularly within the braking system of a vehicle. If you notice that when you depress the brake in the vehicle the brake pedal is spongy and fades away, there might be a problem with the integrity of the cylinder. Replacing the seals and components of the slave cylinder is inexpensive to do and a mechanic can easily fit new components.

Where slave cylinders are used

Typically, slave cylinders are used in brake and clutch systems in motor vehicles. Brake fluid lubricates these cylinders. Most modern vehicles have one master cylinder for the brakes. The slave cylinder is an integral part of the motor vehicle and makes up a major portion of the braking and clutch system in vehicles. Regularly checking the feel of the brakes to determine if the slave cylinder is functioning correctly is one way of staying safe on the road. Many high-performance vehicles, such as Formula 1 cars, have two separate master cylinders each with their own piston. Slave or master cylinders can easily be replaced on most vehicles by qualified mechanics.