What is a Brake Caliper all about?
Most cars come with disc brakes in the front, and many models also have disc brakes in the rear. A caliper is part of the disc brake system. When you press the brake pedal, the brake fluid flows from the master cylinder to the calipers. Brake fluid then applies 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. If the car has two rotors and two drums, then it will come with two calipers in front. The calipers can become contaminated, rusty, and start to leak brake fluid. Brake calipers absorb a lot of heat generated from the braking system. Over time, this heat can destroy or weaken the seals inside the calipers. Caliper servicing is usually done as part of a brake service job.
Keep in Mind:
Work on brake calipers would likely include 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.
- Check brake system performance.
- Keep up with the regular brake services as suggested by the manufacturer.
- If you drive the car with thin brake pads or rotors, it will ruin the calipers.
- Change the brake fluid on a regular basis (approx. every 30,000 miles).
- If you notice 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 inspected.
What common symptoms indicate you may need to replace the Brake Caliper?
- Abnormal squealing noise from brakes.
- When braking, the car will pull hard left or right.
- Braking feels soft and spongy (brake pedals are easier to push than usual, 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 service?
All services associated with proper function of your brakes are important. In addition to safety issues, ignoring small repairs can quickly lead to more serious (and more expensive) problems.