The wheel cylinder is a part of the brake drum assembly. Its job is to press the brake shoes against the brake drum. This creates the friction needed to slow your vehicle. Every time you press your brake pedal, the master brake cylinder transfers hydraulic pressure to the wheel cylinder through the brake fluid in your brake lines. The housing of a wheel cylinder is made out of grey cast iron, lightweight aluminum is typically used for newer vehicles.
Brake fluid has the ability to absorb water. If you fail to replace your brake fluid, the moisture content leads to internal rusting that will deteriorate the cylinder bore leaving holes. Worn piston seals made out of rubber will wear out and become brittle due to age. A cracked piston seal will allow fluid to leak past the pistons. Poor brake response and a mushy brake pedal are other signs it's time for a replacement. A leaking wheel cylinder compromises the braking power of your vehicle. There are things you can do preserve the wheel cylinder. Getting recommended service and maintenance and replacing brake fluid can prolong the life of your wheel cylinder. Unfortunately, because the cylinder is a hydraulic component subject to heat and the other strains of braking, they will need to be replaced eventually. We can’t stress enough how important it is to have properly functioning brakes. If you suspect you have a leak or missing full brake function, bring your vehicle to Ferber’s tire and auto for a brake inspection today.