We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Master Cylinder?

Dan Cavallari
By
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
WikiMotors is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WikiMotors, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Normally used in braking systems on vehicles, a master cylinder is a tube or reservoir of fluid that supplies the pressure to a hydraulic system that eventually leads to actuation of the brakes. It is the first major component of the hydraulic system and is necessary for converting the movement from a brake pedal or lever into hydraulic pressure. In a car, the master cylinder is usually mounted in the engine compartment; on motorcycles or even bicycles equipped with hydraulic brakes, the master cylinder is mounted on the handlebar and is sometimes simply known as the brake lever.

A hydraulic braking system works by using hydraulic force to actuate pistons. This is accomplished by pushing a piston through the master cylinder, which in turn pushes hydraulic fluid through hollow brake lines. The force is then transferred to a caliper, which has pistons inside it that press the brake pads against a rotating rotor. When the force is applied, the brake pads slow or stop the rotor. While this describes only one style of brake — called a disc brake — other types of hydraulic brakes work in a similar fashion.

Cars often come equipped with disc brakes. In this case, the brake pedal acts as the piston that moves fluid in the master cylinder. Brake lines within a car's braking system are usually steel lines, though other materials that are more flexible can be used. The master cylinder on a car can be used to actuate a disc brake or a drum brake. Drum brakes work similarly to disc brakes, except instead of a caliper with pistons pushing inward against a moving disc, drum brakes use a wheel cylinder that pushes arms outward to actuate brake shoes, which in turn press against the inside of a drum. In either case, a master cylinder provides this force; on many vehicles, the same master cylinder may actuate disc brakes in the front wheels and drum brakes in the rear.

Motorcycles and bicycles use a different type of master unit that accomplishes the same thing. Since braking force on motorcycles and bicycles is applied using a hand brake, the brake lever provides the force that pushes fluid through the hydraulic system. The master cylinder is therefore mounted on the handlebar of the bike. Motorcycles and bicycles usually use a more flexible hydraulic line to transfer fluid, rather than the rigid steel lines often used on cars.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Dan Cavallari
By Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.
Discussion Comments
Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.
WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.