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Q: Master brake cyclinder on 2001 Ford Escape

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For the past 5 years or so, the light for the brake used to come on about every 6 months and I had to add fluid to the master cylinder. All this time, no one every found a leak and I am avid about scheduled maintenance for my Escape SUV. Finally a leak was detected when I went for an oil change and tire rotation. They said the master cylinder is leaking and should be replaced. Is it possible all this time it was leaking? Could it possible be something else? There was no code. They visually found it. The brake light always came on when it was time to fill it. About 1/2-3/4 can a year. Does the complete Master Cylinder have to be replaced or could it possible be something else, since the code never came up when diagnosed? What would a Ford dealership charge?
there is no code for master cylinder leaking. the leak may be the rear seal or the booster sucking fluid out of the back of the master. you may never see a leak like this until it becomes external.

ford new 325 part
labor 1.8 hours
brake fluid exchange 79

aftermarket new 180
labor 1.8 with much less labor per hour
exchange 59

like master tech stated its a visual thing, personally I'd go to a salvage yard or a pull it yourself and save about 100 dollars and bench bleed the new one and save the labor charge and drop it in and bleed the master cyclinder then bleed the brakes, takes about 2 hours but save a ton of money, and follow the direction on with their car repair guide they are a great tool for DIY
You may want to check for recalls, many many fords had their brake pressure switch recalled for leaking and causing a fire. The switch is located on the master cylinder. Dont recommend ever using used brake componets, it not worth comprimizing saftey.
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Definitely no recall on the Escape for the cruise interrupt switch on the master cylinder. For safety sake, do not install used brake parts. There is a difference in labor times and parts costs depending on transmission type.
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