A gear that is hard to shift into when the engine is cold is the first sign of a clutch problem. If there is grinding when you try to put the shifter in that gear, then you probably have more than just master cylinder problems. In this article we will tell you a few ways to test the clutch to see if the master cylinder is your problem.
Step 1 - Raising the Front and Back
Test the clutch and master cylinder operations. Jack the front of the car up at an angle to simulate being parked on an incline overnight.
Step 2 - Testing the Clutch
Lower the vehicle and start it. Immediately with no pumping of the clutch put it in reverse. If it doesn't go in right away. This is an indication of a bad master cylinder. Now do the same on the back end of the vehicle. Raise it up about a foot. Lower the car and test by putting into reverse immediately after starting. If this works, it could just be that the slave is holding back some fluid and the depression of the clutch is stretching the ring seal. A good flush of the system should take care of this.