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Am I being ripped off? Spent $1000 on repairs. Car still not working

Hey everyone. This is my first post. I would appreciate any and all advice, as I am not very automobile savvy. Last Wednesday my car broke down. I was in neutral at a stop light. When the light changed to green, I stepped on the clutch to put it into first, but the the pedal hit the floor and wouldn’t come back up, and the car wouldn’t go into gear. I tried lifting the pedal up, but it just fell back down. Had it towed to a local repair show with excellent reviews on Yelp. They said it needed a new clutch kit, slave cylinder, and flywheel. I paid $971, and got the car back a few days ago, on Tuesday.

For the first day, it was fine. The second day back, when I would go to switch gears on several occasions, the pedal would sink to the floor again and not come back up. However, I was able to manually pull the pedal up each time and get it to go into gear. I took it back into the repair shop. They said they were not able to replicate the problem I was experiencing, and that the car drove fine for them, but they went ahead and bled the hydraulic fluid again to get out any air bubbles again, as they said that is probably what happened. They did this a few days ago, then I once again got the car back.

Yesterday, the car started doing the same thing again. About 50% of the time I went to switch gears, I would step on the pedal, it would stay on the floor, but was able to manually pull it up and still get into gear. I drove back to the shop. They said it was very odd this was happening, and that it sounded like I needed a new slave cylinder. I said, “But I just got a new slave cylinder. You guys put one in 4 days ago.” He said that every now and then they “get a bad part”, and that they would put another new slave cylinder in on Monday. I asked him if he just wanted me to leave my car there and he said no, he wanted me to be able to have my car for the weekend, and as long as I could pull the clutch pedal up and still get into gear, it would be fine. This was yesterday.

Today my emergency brake light came on out of the blue. Just to check it, I pulled it up while I was in neutral at a stop light, and sure enough, it was out. There was no resistance feeling at all. Pulling it up felt like picking up a feather. I tried it periodically throughout the afternoon. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes it didn’t. I have never had this problem before. Then, just a couple of hours ago, my car broke again, (the same way it did last Wednesday when I first had it towed to the shop BEFORE they put a new clutch kit, slave cylinder, and fly wheel in it). I pushed the pedal to the floor to switch gears, the pedal stayed there and I was not able to pull it back up manually. And so I couldn’t get the car in gear.

I called the shop and told them what happened to see if one of them could tow the car and give me a ride. They said they were unable to, and that I should just have it towed there again, and that we would get “squared away” on Monday. So I had it towed there again, and took a cab home. Keep in mind, I have had my 2 year old little girl with me during all of this, and so it’s been more inconvenient than normal.

Okay, so I REALLY need some opinions here. Do you all think I am being ripped off? Is it possible that after getting a new clutch kit, flywheel, and slave cylinder for almost $1000 that the SAME EXACT thing would be happening again? Furthermore, is it possible that a BRAND NEW slave cylinder could have “a bad part” as the clerk at the garage said? My car has just been towed there but they won’t be able to look at it again until Monday, so once again, I am stranded at home with my toddler for God knows how long, while they work on my car again. Just wondering what I should do. If I should let them try to fix it again or take it somewhere else. I’ve already spent almost $1000 that I didn’t have (had to get a title loan just to pay for the initial repair), so I just don’t know what to do :confused:

If there were a problem with the slave cylinder, there would be hydraulic fluid leaking onto the ground.

Have these knuckleheads thought about replacing the clutch master cylinder?

Because everything you describe points to a problem with the master cylinder.



I don’t know anything about clutches but think Tester’s advice is good. I wouldn’t rely on Yelp at all. Take it to a different shop and have it fixed, then you can proceed to try and get some of your money back for the other repairs.

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Thank you so much for your response! After this initially happened last week, I came home and did some Googling while they were looking at my car. Google also said master cylinder and that often times if just the master cylinder was replaced, it wouldn’t need a new clutch. So when they called me and said I needed a new clutch kit and slave cylinder, I asked them about the master cylinder and told them what I had read. The guy was very rude to me, told me his guy has been a mechanic for over 25 years, and said that it wasn’t the master cylinder. Do you think that’s what it was all along? And maybe I didn’t need the other stuff I paid for? Ugh. I just don’t know what to do. So frustrated. Anyway, thanks a lot for responding. I really appreciate it!

Thank you for your feedback. My car is being towed there now (to the old garage), but if they say they need to put in a new master cylinder or anything else, I will definitely be taking it somewhere else. I don’t know how I would go about getting my money back, but I will certainly ask. I am starting to wonder if they replaced anything at all :’(

Well, I’ve been a mechanic for over 50 years.

And any mechanic worth their salt knows, if the clutch slave cylinder is bad, you also replace the clutch master cylinder.

And vice versa.



Thank you Tester :slight_smile: If they tell me it needs a master cylinder on Monday (after I already suggested it last Wedneday!) I will be taking it somewhere else to have that replaced. About the slave cylinder, is it possible by some fluke that they really did get “a bad one”? Does that happen? Thank you!


A slave cylinder only fails when it leaks hydraulic fluid externally. Just like a wheel cylinder.

A master cylinder can fail internally where there are no external leaks. But no longer functions.


I also think it’s the master cylinder. When that fixes it, I’d be thankful and realize I do now also have a new clutch (which may have been very worn) and enjoy many more thousands of miles not worrying about the clutch. Life’s too short.


Thank you, insightful! I have actually been doing a great job of staying positive all week while all of these problems continued to ensue, but I guess I lost my footing after my car broke down again today. Hopefully they will just have to replace the master cylinder like you said, and that everything else really did need replaced anyway :slight_smile:

This is a typical response from a mechanic to hide his/her inability to correctly diagnose a problem the first time. What the hell…be happy that more was fixed then perhaps necessary?

I expect a mechanic to fix a problem and not come back and say…oops we screwed up but you should be happy anyways…

Not if the leak were internal, however I agree with the reply overall.
Except that IMHO the description also points to a problem with the SHOP!

I should suggests to our new friend the new poster that the year, make, and model of the vehicle is highly important to giving a correct answer. If this is an Aston Martin DB9, an MGA, or a '29 Hupmobile, I might reconsider my answer.

Explain a how a slave cylinder leaks without leaking hydraulic fluid?


Could be a Ford Escape as shown at the top.

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"Explain a how a slave cylinder leaks without leaking hydraulic fluid?"
Simple. The fluid’s force passes by and around the piston’s seal without pushing the piston. It makes the pedal hard unless the master is also leaking internally (which is often the case, as the seals age together), but it doesn’t move the release bearing and lift the pressure plate.
The likelihood is that it’s a clutch master cylinder, but an internally leaking slave isn’t impossible.

I’m sorry.

But the statement you just made, indicates you have no idea on what you’re talking about when it comes to a clutch hydraulic system.


If you’re trying to bait me Tester, and you clearly are, forget it. I know you often post here just to start fights and insult people, and I’ll not be baited.
Or perhaps you’re just trying to insult me… don’t bother. Because frankly, I don’t give a damn what you think. So don’t bother feeling superior about it.

Or maybe you just don’t understand how pressure in the fluid on one side of e piston with a leaky seal can be forced around the piston and pressurize the backside without pushing the piston forward when the piston shaft is preloaded by the pressure plate. Is this the problem? Is it a lack of knowledge on your part?

Or perhaps you just don’t know how to disagree with others without insulting them. Is that the problem?

I’m not going to play your game with you anymore on this thread, so don’t bother replying. Unless, of course, you can manage to do so intelligently and respectfully. See? I can be insulting too! It’s much less challenging than actually forming an intelligent response! :imp:

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I’m not baiting you!

Just explain how a slave cylinder leaks without leaving evidence of failure.

Because every slave cylinder failure I’ve seen always shows a hydraulic leak.

So if you’re unwilling to accept the basics of hydraulics, and it doesn’t fit the physics in your world, that’s not my fault.


I just did. I’m sorry you can’t understand it.
And your post was just plain insulting. There’s never any excuse for that.

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Show me where I’m insulting?