Brake Wheel Cylinders

Leaking brake wheel cylinder.

The wheel cylinder's pistons can stick in their bores, resulting in uneven pad wear. They contain a return spring, cups, and two pistons, one for each shoe. Be careful when checking behind dust boots; they're designed to keep leaks and the environment out.

Leaking and sticking wheel cylinder diagnosis explained in illustration.

When the dust boot is damaged or worn, water enters the wheel cylinder, resulting in rust and corrosion. This contamination can cause the piston to stick in its bore. It can be hard to notice without inspection because the other shoe contacts the drum and slows the vehicle.

Leaking seals are the most common problem with wheel cylinders. When this happens, the wheel cylinder is typically replaced. Some iron wheel cylinders can be honed and the seals replaced, but most are made of aluminum with a hardened bore that cannot be honed.