Clutch Slave Cylinder

Clutch Slave Cylinder

A clutch slave cylinder is an essential component of a modern clutch assembly. Operating in tandem with other clutch components, it allows for smooth and safe shifting while the vehicle is running. 

Your clutch slave cylinder comes into play each time you step on the clutch pedal. When the pedal is depressed, the clutch master cylinder forces hydraulic fluid into the slave cylinder, causing it to move the release bearing. The latter puts force on the pressure plate to disengage the clutch disk, making it possible to go into gear in motion. Besides, the clutch slave cylinder allows for returning the pedal to its raised position when you take off your foot from it. 

Depending on the design of your transmission system, your clutch slave cylinder can be placed either inside the transmission or outside it. Wherever it is located, it performs the same function, disengaging the clutch, so you can shift up or down. That’s why if it fails to operate, you will not be able to go into a desired gear and, therefore, to control your vehicle’s speed. In some cases, a faulty clutch slave cylinder can cause a loss of power and lead to an accident. 

While most clutch slave cylinders are designed to last the life of a clutch, they can fail ahead of time. Fortunately, before this happens, a failing clutch slave cylinder will alert you of the problem with a number of warning signs:

  • Loose or soft clutch pedal
  • Inability to disengage the clutch
  • Hard clutch pedal
  • Abnormal noises from the clutch area
  • Inability to go into gear
  • Engine stalls when trying to shift out of gear 
  • Fluid leaks underneath the transmission or around the clutch pedal

How to repair or replace a bad clutch slave cylinder

A faulty clutch slave cylinder is not repairable and should be replaced if it is damaged or worn-out. It is forbidden to drive a vehicle with a failed clutch slave cylinder as this may cause an accident, which is why you should have your car towed to a repair shop. Keep in mind that the labor cost will vary depending on the location of your slave cylinder. If your slave cylinder is placed inside the transmission, its replacement will involve disassembling of the transmission to access the cylinder, which will affect the repair cost.

Your mechanic should inspect the slave cylinder for signs of wear and damage before replacing it. Once the problem is detected, he or she will remove the transmission, if necessary, and replace your slave cylinder with a new one. You can also be advised to replace the clutch master cylinder along with the slave cylinder as it might also have signs of wear. When everything is done, the mechanic will reinstall the transmission if it was removed, and then refill the hydraulic system. It should also be bled and tested to ensure trouble-free operation.

Can I replace the clutch slave cylinder myself?

Replacing a clutch slave cylinder is not a typical maintenance job. It involves a lot of labor and may require using special tools and equipment. Besides, the hydraulic system must be properly flushed, refilled and bled to prevent driveability issues and damage to the clutch and the transmission. That’s why it is recommended to leave this job to a professional.

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