The clutch slave cylinder is located on the inside or outside of the transmission. If the slave cylinder is mounted on the outside of the transmission, it is normally attached by two bolts. Every time hydraulic pressure is applied, the clutch slave cylinder has a rod that extends out to the master cylinder. The rod contacts the clutch fork, which activates the clutch pressure plate and allows you to smoothly switch gears.

If the clutch slave cylinder is located on the inside of the transmission, the slave cylinder and clutch release bearing are one unit. This unit is held on by two or three bolts and slides into the input shaft of the manual transmission. Since this is a single unit, there is no need for the clutch fork.

The clutch slave cylinder is part of the hydraulic clutch system and helps with clutch disengagement. Once you press the clutch pedal, the master cylinder applies a certain amount of pressure to the clutch slave cylinder, which allows the clutch to release.

The clutch slave cylinder can go bad over time after being used every time you depress the clutch. As the slave cylinder goes bad, the vehicle will not be able to properly shift gears, and there will be several other issues as well. In addition, normally when the clutch slave cylinder is going bad, it starts leaking because the seal is going bad as well. It will also allow air inside the clutch system, which will make your pedal feel soft. This can be very dangerous and is a very clear sign that the clutch slave cylinder needs to be replaced.

Since your clutch slave cylinder can wear out and leak over time, you should be aware of symptoms that indicate that the failure is happening.

Signs that your clutch slave cylinder need to be replaced include:

  • You are not able to change gears when you are driving
  • Brake fluid is leaking around the clutch pedal
  • When you press the clutch pedal, it goes all the way to the floor
  • Your vehicle constantly has low fluid levels because of a leak
  • The clutch pedal feels soft or loose

The clutch slave cylinder is an essential part in your clutch system, so it is vital you have the cylinder repaired right away if you find that you are having troubles with it.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How Long Does a Clutch Slave Cylinder Last? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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