WHAT IS THE BRAKE CALIPER ALL ABOUT
Most cars come with disc brakes in the front, and many models also have disc brakes at the rear. A caliper is part of the disc brake unit. When you press the brake pedal, the brake fluid flows from the master cylinder to the calipers. Brake fluid then gives pressure on the piston inside the caliper, pushing the brake pads against the rotors to slow/stop your car. A car can have either 2 or 4 calipers. If the car has rotors on all four tires, then it will have four calipers too. If the car has two rotors and two drums, then it will have two calipers in front. The calipers can get contaminated, rusty, and start to leak brake fluid. Brake calipers absorb a lot of heat created from the braking system. Over time, this heat can destroy or weaken the seals inside the calipers. Caliper servicing is usually done as one of a brake service job.
Work on brake calipers would likely involve new brake pads because if the calipers have gone bad, it is very likely that the brake pads are worn out.
HOW IT’S DONE
- Remove and replace brake caliper and pads.
- Inspect brake rotors.
- Inspect brake line hoses.
- Replace brake fluid.
- Re-check brake system for fluid leaks.
- Bleed the brake system.
- Torque wheels to factory specifications.
- Inspect brake system performance.
- Keep up with the regular brake services as recommended by the manufacturer.
- If you drive the vehicle with thin brake pads or rotors, it will ruin the calipers.
- Replace the brake fluid on a regular basis (approx. every 30,000 miles).
- If you experience a clear fluid on the tires or on your driveway and a change in the way the brake pedals feel (softer pedals), it is time to get the brake system checked.
WHAT COMMON SYMPTOMS SHOW THAT YOU MAY NEED TO REPLACE THE BRAKE CALIPER?
- Abnormal squealing noise from brakes.
- When braking, the car will turn hard left or right.
- Braking feels soft and spongy (brake pedals are easier to push than normal, going all the way to the floor when stepped on).
- Brake fluid is leaking (clear fluid on the driveway or on the wheels).
HOW IMPORTANT IS THIS
All services associated with proper function of your brakes are vital. In addition to safety issues, ignoring small repairs can quickly lead to more serious (and more expensive) issues.