BMW X4 Brake Master Cylinder Replacement Cost

Know what price you should pay to get your vehicle fixed.

Brake Master Cylinder Replacement
The average cost for a BMW X4 brake master cylinder replacement is between $746 and $805. Labor costs are estimated between $214 and $271 while parts are priced between $532 and $534. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.
Note about price: This service is typically done as part of a bigger, more expensive repair, so the estimate you see above may not represent your total cost. Some of these bigger related repairs are listed in the table below. Talk with a RepairPal Certified shop to learn which repairs may be right for you.

What is a brake master cylinder?

The master cylinder is mounted under the hood, in front of the brake pedal. It is the first step to developing braking force, and simultaneously controls the action of the individual brakes.

How does the brake master cylinder work?

When the brake pedal is pressed, the master cylinder pushes fluid under high pressure to the brake calipers, forcing them to squeeze the brake pads into the brake rotor. This pressure is created by two small plungers inside the master cylinder that compress the brake fluid as the brake pedal pushes them forward.

What are the symptoms related to a bad brake master cylinder?

The term 'spongy' is well known in the automotive field, and describes the feeling of the brake pedal when air has been introduced into the master cylinder, or the master cylinder has pushed air into the brake lines. The brake pedal may also sink to the floor when pressed and held. This indicates the plungers inside the master cylinder are leaking internally, and will not produce the pressure needed to cause the vehicle to slow or stop.

Learn more about brake master cylinder symptoms

Can I drive with a brake master cylinder problem?

It is not safe to operate any vehicle with any braking problem. If there exists any sign that the brakes are not performing as originally intended, the vehicle should immediately be placed out of service, and repaired. Collisions result from brake system failure, and the parking brake should never be substituted for the normal service brakes.

How often do brake master cylinders need to be replaced?

Replacement of the brake master cylinder is a common repair to many makes and models, however, the majority of vehicle's will not need this repair before 125,000 miles. This is because there are very few moving parts, and the system is sealed from air, dust, and other brake fluid contaminants. Each manufacturer protects their customers from master cylinder failure by providing a schedule for maintenance for the entire braking system. This maintenance includes flushing the brake fluid, cleaning, and inspecting components, as well as replacement of wear and tear parts. Following these recommendations may even ensure the master cylinder will last the lifetime of the vehicle. However, neglecting maintenance specified by the factory may cause premature wear of the master cylinder plungers, leading to an early onset of the mentioned symptoms.

How are brake master cylinder issues diagnosed?

The operation of the brake pedal is the best indicator of master cylinder failure. If the pedal falls to the floor when pressed, little or no braking force is being created, and there are no external leaks, there is a strong possibility the master cylinder has failed. If the brake pedal becomes firm after pressing quickly and repeatedly, but returns to the floor when held, the master cylinder will most likely be at fault.

Brake Master Cylinder Replacement Cost Estimates

The average cost for a Brake Master Cylinder Replacement is between $746 and $805 but can vary from car to car.

How is a brake master cylinder replaced?

After the brake fluid is drained from the system, the brake lines must be removed from the master cylinder. There is normally one electrical connector to remove, and finally, the master cylinder can be unbolted and removed from the brake booster. Replacing the master cylinder is the reverse order, but the master cylinder must be bled of air prior to bleeding the air from the rest of the braking system.

RepairPal Recommendations for brake master cylinder issues

If the master cylinder has failed, there is a possibility of rubber particles floating through the brake lines. Rubber can be compressed, whereas brake fluid cannot. This means that rubber particles in the brake lines can produce the same symptoms as air, and a spongy feeling brake pedal may result. To avoid this, the brake system must be thoroughly flushed to return the brakes to normal operations.

What to look out for when dealing with brake master cylinder issues

Master cylinders, as noted above, have two plungers that push fluid. If one of them fails, either the front or rear brakes may work properly, while the others will not. This will greatly reduce stopping power. If braking ability has diminished, the vehicle should be towed to a repair facility, and only driven once repaired. Mixing brake fluid types can cause complete brake system failure. The type of fluid noted on the master cylinder is the only type that should be introduced to the system. Normally DOT-3 brake fluid is used, but this varies by vehicle. Brake fluid is corrosive to automotive paint, and can cause blindness if contact with the eyes occurs.

Can I replace the brake master cylinder myself?

The braking system can be maintained by a DIYer with a complete knowledge of hydraulically actuated systems. This is important as testing brake operation, and safe installation of braking components rely on this knowledge. If the complete braking system is not understood, damage to the expensive braking components, or injury is likely. Trusting a professional technician with the replacement of a master cylinder is normally the best course of action.