Caliper: The Definitive Guide (2023)

Caliper: The Definitive Guide (1)

A caliper is the heart of a disc brake system. Allows a braking effect, which increases safety and handling.

Now that vehicle manufacturers prefer disc brakes to drum brakes, these components are more common than ever. But how do brake calipers work and what is their role in the car? And how can you tell a faulty device to fix or replace it?

That's why we put together this gauge guide; to answer any questions you may have about this must-have car. The guide contains information on how the caliper works, how it works in a vehicle's braking system, and the different types of calipers. You will also learn how to troubleshoot a brake caliper. And if you find it damaged how to repair or replace it. Read.

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Chapter 1

What is a brake caliper?

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Chapter 4

Symptoms of a bad caliber

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Episode 2

gauge type

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Chapter 5

Diagnose and solve calibrator problems

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Chapter 7

rebuild brake caliper

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Chapter 3

When to replace the caliper

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Chapter 6

Replace brake caliper

Chapter 1

What is a brake caliper?

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What is a brake caliper?

A caliper is the part of a vehicle that presses the brake pads against the brake disc when you apply the brakes. It's ahydraulic actuator, which means that it uses the pressure of the fluid to cause movement.

A caliper is usually a strut-like assembly and partially frames the brake rotor. It forms the hydraulic outlet of a disc brake system and houses the necessary parts such as brake pads and pistons.

It can be said that the calipers are the heart of the braking systems of vehicles that use disc brakes. Since disc brakes are the most common, you'll find calipers on almost every modern car.

Calipers come in two main types, as we'll see later. Both types of calipers work slightly differently - the basic principle of operation and construction remains the same.

Each type of caliper has its pros and cons, and a car will have one or the other depending on the vehicle's application. The type of caliper used on a vehicle also depends on the model or make.

What is the purpose of these components?

brake caliper function

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In every motor vehicle there is a movement of the wheels that must be controlled. This is usually done with brakes, which can be drum or disc brakes (rotors). Calipers are part of a disc brake system, which is also the most common in the automotive industry today.

Brake calipers have two functions on a motor vehicle:

First they house and guide the brake pads. This ensures that the brake pads are in the correct position to move on the brake disc each time you brake. Brake calipers are generally designed in such a way that wear on the brake pads is compensated for. As a result, the pads always have the correct distance to the brake disc for efficient and reliable braking.

Second, the calipers provide the hydraulic actuation that converts brake fluid pressure into mechanical movement. This movement allows the effect of braking in motor vehicles. Therefore, we can say that a caliper is a braking device that contributes to safe driving. Without them, your disc brake system would be useless.

How do the gauges work? We will see.

Gripper operation

Brake calipers play an important role in slowing or stopping a moving motor vehicle. But how does the assembly achieve this if it only applies a slight force to the pedal? The principle of operation of this component is quite simple and straightforward. How a brake caliper works:

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  • When you apply the brakes, a piston moves and creates brake fluid pressure in the master cylinder. This pressure is transmitted to the brake lines, through the hoses, and to the piston or pistons of the caliper.
  • Fluid pressure causes the caliper pistons to pop out of their bores. This pushes the brake pads forward to make contact with the brake rotor or disc.
  • The compressive action of the brake pads on the brake rotor causes enormous friction that counteracts its rotation.
  • Depending on the level and duration of pedal pressure, the brake disc slows down or comes to a complete stop.
  • The brake disc (rotor) is attached to the wheel, so the action of the calipers on either side of the axle causes the car to stop or slow down.
  • As soon as you release the brake pedal, hydraulic fluid returns to the master cylinder and exits through the caliper pistons.
  • The resulting pressure drop causes the pistons to move back and the brake pads to release the rotor. Rubber piston seals pull the pistons toward their bores.
  • The brake caliper is then ready for further actuation to stop or slow the rotation of the brake rotor and therefore the moving vehicle.

This YouTube video explains how a caliper works

When you step on the brake pedal, fluid pressure is transmitted evenly through all brake lines and hoses. As a result, the brake caliper pistons experience the same force at all wheels. The result is balanced braking that guarantees safety.

The calipers will also have a variable number of pistons. It can be single piston for the lighter car or multiple for heavy trucks that need more stopping power. The number generally depends on the gauge type, the application, and partly the design.

clamp position

Where can you find brake calipers? Well, the position of the caliper usually depends on a vehicle's make and application. You can usually find these assemblies on the wheels and the front axle. Brake calipers are usually attached to the steering knuckles of a car.

Brake calipers are attached to the steering knuckle in two different ways. It can be directly fastened with screws and pins. Or it can be done with the help of a mounting bracket that secures the assembly to the joint.

Although not common, there are vehicles that have brake calipers on the front and rear axles. These are cars that use disc brakes on all wheels. When calipers are mounted to the rear wheels, they are usually attached to the rear knuckles with bolts.

Now let's see what a caliper looks like.

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As you can see in the caliper diagram, the device looks like a C-clamp and works its way up to the brake rotor. This allows you to press the brake pads against the disc with more precision and force. Most bars have these main parts:

  • Pistons: move when pressed by brake fluid to close the gap between the brake pads and the brake disc. The pistons can be made of steel, plastic or even aluminum. You can also be one or more of them.
  • Brake Pads – The pads press against the brake rotor to create the frictional force that stops or slows down rotation. Brake pads are made of different materials, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
  • A dust guard prevents contaminants such as dust and dirt from entering the piston cylinder. This is important because the caliper's low position and open mounting expose it to all kinds of road debris.
  • A bleeder screw allows you to remove (bleed) air from the brake lines when replacing brake fluid or performing other caliper maintenance
  • The rubber piston seal serves two purposes: first, it prevents brake fluid from escaping, and second, it causes the piston to return to its original position when you release the brake pedal.

Caliper Torque Specifications

You may have heard of caliper torque specifications and the importance of knowing them. Furthermore, even mechanics find it difficult to determine the values ​​when installing or servicing brake calipers. Why this? Brake calipers are usually identical in structure and mode of operation. However, there are some differences. One is in the torque specs of the bolts. They differ from manufacturer to manufacturer and are indispensable for brake calipers.

When installing a new caliper, it's always a good idea to get accurate torque specs to ensure proper clamping pressure. This is because over or under adjustment can have bad results.

Torque specifications for the calipers can be found in the service manual for the specific vehicle. Alternatively, you can contact the manufacturer for information. This is much better than having to guess the values.

Episode 2

gauge type

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(Video) The Complete Guide to Using Dial Calipers

Calipers come in two main types: fixed and floating.

How can you distinguish one from the other? Grippers differ primarily in design, mounting, and operation.

Let's look at each type in detail.

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fixed gauge

They are usually large, heavy and powerful. As the name suggests, a fixed clamp does not move but is firmly attached to the clamp holder. During braking, the piston or pistons on each side move with equal force to hold the rotor.

Fixed calipers have pistons on either side of the brake disc. Since they come in pairs, the number of pistons varies between 2, 4 and 6. Some even have 8 pistons in total. However, this is the case when high braking power is required, for example on high-speed or heavy vehicles.

floating indicators

Floating calipers are compact, lightweight, and not as powerful. They are not rigidly mounted but slide freely on lubricated pins and bushings. Floating calipers are available with one or two pistons. Both pistons are inside the brake disc.

A floating caliper uses a slightly different method to move the brake pads to the rotor. As with the fixed caliper, the pistons and brake fluid are involved. That is what happens.

When you step on the brake pedal, fluid pressure moves the pistons which then press the inner brake pad against the brake disc. Now the rotor is fixed and the caliper is free to move.

As a result, the force of the piston pushing against the rotor causes the caliper to move backwards. This causes the brake pad to move the other way towards the brake disc. The clamping action of the two inserts slows down the record.

The floating gripper is a variant of the floating gripper type. It works the same, the only difference is the assembly. Instead of having plugs and sockets

Each gauge type has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Fixed calipers have multiple pistons. This makes them more powerful than the floating type and suitable where a lot of force is needed to stop a vehicle. They are widely used in racing cars, high-speed bicycles, and heavy vehicles that require a lot of force to stop.

When it comes to braking force distribution, fixed calipers work best. Multiple pistons in a single caliper also allow for longer brake pads. Another benefit of fixed calipers is the feel they create at the brake pedal. They create a fast, firm and powerful rotor grip that is transferred to the rider's foot.

Fixed clamps are not without their drawbacks. They have more than one piston, making them heavier than floating ones. They are also usually large, especially when the number of ears exceeds four.

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Because fixed clamps require precision machining, they are more expensive to manufacture. Multiple pistons also contribute to increased manufacturing costs. Another disadvantage of this type of gauge is its low tolerance for rotor error. They are rigidly mounted, which causes them to pulsate at the rotor outlet.

Floating calipers are the most common on motor vehicles today. There are many reasons for that. First of all, floating calipers don't usually have more than 2 pistons, making them compact and lightweight. Therefore, they are suitable when little braking force is required, e.g. B. in passenger cars, passenger cars or light trucks.

The reduced number of parts (pistons) also makes floating calipers cheap and easy to mass-produce. In contrast to the fixed caliper, this type is more tolerant of irregularities or runout of the rotor. This is because it moves freely and cancels out the vibrations that are created.

Disadvantages of floating calipers include reduced stopping power, making them less than ideal for certain applications. For example, this type of caliper cannot be used in braking systems for heavy vehicles.

These types of calipers also tend to bind when the pins erode to make sliding difficult. Floating calipers can cause uneven brake pad wear. This happens due to the almost inevitable retarded movement of the outer pad under braking.

Fixed compass vs floating compass

Differences in caliper design

Brake calipers can be one or two pieces.

Monobloc calipers, as the name suggests, are cast from a single piece of metal. They are stronger and can last a long time. Strength and durability come at a price, as grippers are expensive to manufacture.

Two-piece brake calipers, on the other hand, consist of two pieces of metal that are held together by bolts. These types of pliers are not as strong as monobloc pliers. However, they are easier and cheaper to manufacture.

differences in building materials

Gauges can be cast iron or aluminum. Older vehicle calipers are mostly made of cast iron, while newer calipers are made of aluminum. Each building material has advantages and disadvantages.

Cast iron calipers are strong, less expensive to make, and better at dissipating heat. Those made of aluminum are loved for their light weight.

When it comes to caliper pistons, the materials from which they are made are more diverse. The pistons can be made of chromed steel, plastic or aluminum.

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The use of aluminum to make caliper pistons reduces their weight. However, aluminum is prone to corrosion. It also easily transfers heat to the brake fluid, which can be a disadvantage.

Steel pistons are stronger and are chrome plated, which minimizes the risk of rust or other forms of corrosion. But steel transmits heat easily and can cause hydraulic fluid to boil and other problems.

Plastic pistons are lightweight and corrosion resistant. They do not conduct heat that could cause fluid overflow or brake wear. However, plastic can absorb moisture and swell, causing the pistons to stick and lead to braking problems. Steel and aluminum pistons can also have sticking problems, but only if the material is heavily corroded.

Chapter 3

When to replace the caliper

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Calipers are tough, tough, and resistant to various types of damage. However, they sag over time and show signs of aging. If calipers are not replaced or rebuilt on time, wear and damage can seriously affect braking.

Reliable brakes are essential to ensure safe driving. This means making sure that all parts of the brake system are in good working order. Components to look out for include the brake calipers. You need to know when to install new ones.

How long do brake calipers last and how do you know when it's time to replace or service them?

It is not easy to recommend precise hours. The reason?

Brake calipers wear differently from vehicle to vehicle. Because the wear rate depends on your driving habits, driving conditions and local weather. The wear rate also depends on the type, design and quality of the caliper.

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This is what is happening:

Heavy braking causes excessive heat in the calipers, brake pads and brake discs. Although heat quickly dissipates into the air, constant heating and cooling can have a detrimental effect on the tweezers.

(Video) How to Rewind a Rear Brake Caliper Piston Using a Pliers

Poor road conditions force you to apply the brakes very frequently. This affects not only the pads and rotor, but also the brake calipers and accelerates their wear. These paths can also produce other corrosive elements such as dust and cause the caliper to wear prematurely.

Moisture is also to blame when it comes to caliper wear rate. It causes pistons, piston bore, caliper and other parts to corrode and wear out quickly. And if your car uses floating calipers, moisture can cause them to rust and cause the caliper to stick.

Floating calipers are more prone to damage or wear. They have more moving parts that can fail at any time. In addition to pistons, which can freeze due to corrosion, there are sliders and pins that rust easily and prevent slippage.

However, the gauges on a typical modern car can last 100,000 miles or more. In terms of time, that can mean around 10 years of normal driving. But as we have seen, this varies and depends on several factors.

How do you know when to change the calipers?

It is advisable to check the condition of the clamps from time to time. This can happen when examining other brake parts, such as pads and rotors. You can also take advantage of times when other parts of the vehicle are in use. An example is working on wheel hubs, axles, and related components.

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A rusty brake caliper

A simple observation can reveal wear and give an idea of ​​its extent. These include signs of corrosion, brake fluid leaks due to worn piston seals, corroded pistons that can get stuck in their bores, and more.

If your calipers are floating, you may need to examine the sliders, bushings, pins, and pistons. Fixed calipers don't have many moving parts and are easier to service. You would still need to inspect them for wear.

If you find signs of damage (which we'll get to later), you need to take action. The last thing you want is a broken brake system due to a worn caliper.

Corroded pins or blades may require a lubricant or, if badly damaged, new ones. To do this, you can replace the entire caliper, especially if the rest of the parts are also very worn.

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You can also choose to rebuild the caliper. Of course, a brake caliper conversion has its advantages and disadvantages. You would have to weigh between the two and choose the option that works for you.

Do brake calipers have to be replaced in pairs?

This is a question many car owners ask themselves. Your mechanic may suggest that you install new calipers on either side of the front or rear wheels. And that even if only one of the terminals is obviously defective. It is right?

The answer is, it depends.

As a general rule, only replace the damaged caliper. This makes business sense and there is no need to replace a component that has not failed or is about to fail.

But that is not always the case. There are several cases where you will need to replace the caliper on the other side as well. They include:

  • When the other grippers are reaching the end of their useful life. Although it appears to be working perfectly, it probably isn't working as well as new. You don't want to experience that different braking forces can cause braking jerks. It can also lead to uneven pad wear and uneven braking.
  • If the other caliper shows signs of wear or damage, it may not be long before you need to replace it as well. Also, the damage can cause the pistons or skids to bind and pull the car to one side under braking. It could also be the case that worn pistons deteriorate rapidly, causing fluid leaks and loss of stopping power on one side of the vehicle.
  • If the new caliper is made of a different material or design, although this is unlikely to be the case, the new caliper may differ slightly in certain specifications. This can lead to uneven braking and pad wear. Also, the brake pulls when you step on the pedal or lift your foot.

Ultimately, the time to change the calipers depends on many factors. Because driving conditions and habits vary, there is no set time or useful life for a caliper. That means you change them when they start working inefficiently.

Replacing just one caliper may not affect braking too much. However, if both calipers were installed on the same day, it is advisable to change them at the same time. Because? The lifespan of the pair should be more or less similar and it may not be long before the other one falls off.

Chapter 4

Symptoms of a bad caliber

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Calipers are critical components of disc brake systems.

Its failure could mean that a car will not stop normally, which is undesirable when crossing a road at high speed.

In addition to occasionally checking the calipers for damage, it is very important to know the signs to look out for.

It guarantees safe braking and comfortable driving.

What are the symptoms of a faulty brake caliper?

They are various and include the following:

1. Stopping power

Have you ever felt your car rock to the side when you press or release the brake pedal? This is called a brake pull. It occurs when, when braking, the wheel spins faster on one side than the other. Brake cable is common when the caliper on one side of the wheel hub is not working. There are different reasons for this.

The main cause of this is a stuck caliper that won't move towards or away from the brake disc. The piston may have pushed against the brake disc during braking, but did not retract when the pedal was released. Vehicle or brake pull can also be caused by a piston freezing before compressing the brake disc.

There are several causes of stuck calipers. It could be debris that got into the cylinder and is causing it to seize. Or there could be a situation where the caliper or piston is corroding due to exposure to moisture and other elements. Both cause the piston to wear out and its movement to become less efficient. The heat generated during braking can also cause the brake caliper to lock up.

2. Less powerful brakes

Decreased braking power means that a caliper is not performing optimally. In such situations, various components or mechanisms may be to blame. There could be a leak in the brake lines or caliper pistons. A leak reduces fluid pressure. This reduces the force with which the piston presses on the brake pads.

When one of the pistons freezes in its bore due to dirt, corrosion or deposits, a problem arises. The piston cannot force itself to move towards the brake pad. The clamping force of the calipers will decrease and you will feel the results while driving the vehicle.

You can easily tell if your brakes aren't as powerful as they used to be. If you need more force to stop the car, it could mean that you have lost some fluid pressure. It could also be a malfunctioning piston. You may want to take your vehicle to a professional so they can fix the problem.

If possible, you can also check the calipers yourself. If they are badly damaged, they may need to be replaced to restore braking. Correct braking performance is crucial. If the vehicle is heavy, a small loss of braking force can result in a dangerous situation.

3. Uneven wear of brake pads

Under normal conditions, the brake pads should wear evenly. But sometimes that doesn't happen and you may notice that one side is thinner than the other. In these cases, a bad caliper is usually the cause. The caliper assembly holds the mechanism that presses the pads against the rotor, and uneven wear can cause the caliper to malfunction.

While uneven pad wear is one of the signs of caliper problems, it can be difficult to diagnose the blemish yourself. It is necessary to have a professional examine the electrodes to correct this symptom. That's because there are other causes besides a bad gauge.

4. Squeaking noise

This noise occurs when you do not depress the brake pedal. It is different from the noise that indicates brake pad wear, which only occurs when braking. The noise indicates that a brake caliper is seizing. Caliper binding noise may sound like metal rubbing against metal. It could also be a high pitched squeal.

The brakes should not make any noise regardless of whether or not you have stepped on the pedal. In this case, it is advisable to have them examined as soon as possible. The problem of a stuck brake caliper while driving can often be solved very easily by repairing or replacing the brake caliper.

5. Squeaking noise

In the worst case, a caliper mount can come loose from its mount. This can render the caliper useless and endanger other vehicle components. While it is rare for a brake caliper to break, it can and does happen.

A broken brake caliper will not stop your vehicle and you will not have to continue driving if it happens on the highway. Always listen for a popping or knocking noise that occurs when you apply the brakes. This is often a sign that the caliper is no longer securely attached to the mount.

Please upload and resolve the issue before continuing. You don't want to drive if one side of the brake system isn't working. In addition to reduced braking power, each step on the brake pedal can cause dangerous rocking.

6. Brake fluid leak

The brake fluid that reaches the caliper is always retained by gaskets and rubber hoses. Over time, dirt, heat, and other elements will weaken these seals. Eventually, one or more leaks will develop and reduce brake pressure. Pressing the brake pedal does not generate enough force to hold the rotor in place and it will take longer for your car or truck to stop. This is a dangerous situation that requires immediate action, usually by escalating the problem to a professional.

(Video) How to Replace Brake Pads and Rotors (COMPLETE Guide)

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You can identify a leak by looking at the areas along the brake lines and hoses. In the case of a bad brake caliper, you can look at the area just below the caliper location on the steering wheel. If there is oily fluid or a puddle, the piston seals are broken and brake fluid is leaking. The smell of burning rubber can also indicate a leak.

7. Brakes that seem to be on all the time

A simple sign of this caliper problem is feeling that the vehicle you are driving is having trouble moving forward. You may also feel that your speed is dropping drastically or that the parking brake is on when it is not.

All of these problems point to stuck calipers. The rubber seal that retracts the pistons may be old and ineffective. Or debris could jam the pistons and cause the pads to stay pressed against the rotor.

If it's a floating collet, we could be talking about blades that have lost their lubrication or are too corroded to prevent free movement. If you notice these symptoms of a stuck caliper, it means that the assembly needs to be checked immediately. This would allow you to make repairs or replace the entire assembly.

8. Dashboard brake light

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A dash brake light can come on for a number of reasons, one of which is a brake fluid leak. Since caliper piston leakage can occur due to a worn rubber seal, the light could be a sign of a bad caliper.

A qualified mechanic can check this caliper problem to rule out other causes for the brake light. Alternatively, you can also check the piston for leaks yourself. As we've already seen, an oily smear near the caliper could indicate a broken piston seal.

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Chapter 5

Brake Caliper Diagnosis and Troubleshooting

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Inspection and maintenance of brake calipers are not just reserved for mechanics. Some of the diagnostic or troubleshooting tasks are simple and you can do yourself.

Watch this YouTube video

It takes a bit of skill to figure out what a caliper is all about. This includes knowing how to check the function of the brake caliper. Not only that, but also how to do it like an expert. That's what this chapter is about.

First, let's look at the main problems and caliper parts that need to be checked. They include:

The brake caliper is stuck

Caliper Assembly: slide pins and bushings, pistons and mounting brackets.

Now see how to solve each problem.

The brake caliper is stuck

The reasons for a stuck caliper are:

  • Caliper assembly corroded by moisture, dirt, salts and other elements
  • A contaminated brake fluid that corrodes pistons and other internal surfaces
  • Loss of lubrication in slide pins making it difficult to move the caliper
  • An inefficient master cylinder leading to low brake pressure
  • Corroded piston or pistons stuck in the bore
  • The vehicle is not used for a long time and the brake pads stick to the brake disc
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How do you know that the calipers are stuck?

Signs of frozen tongs include:

  • A vehicle that cannot maintain speed for long
  • The brakes do not apply or release smoothly when you place your foot on the brake pedal
  • A motor vehicle that pulls to one side when braking.
  • Extreme heat on the wheels where you will find the calipers
  • The smell of burning rubber

To locate the stuck caliper, place your hand next to each wheel without making physical contact with it. If hot air hits your hand to indicate a hot wheel, that's where the caliper in question is located.

Try turning the wheel by hand. If it does not spin freely you may need to remove it and inspect the pads and caliper. If the pads wear unevenly, the fault could be a stuck caliper. You can also look at the rotor to see if it has heat marks on the surface.

If a stuck caliper is not repaired or replaced, it can lead to overheating. Plus, faster and more uneven pad and rotor wear, reduced acceleration and a stressed gearbox. In general, a stuck brake caliper reduces the effectiveness and life of the brakes.

How to fix a stuck caliper

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You can choose to change the affected part or the entire assembly. It depends on your budget and the condition of the other parts of the caliper. For this reason, a careful inspection of the entire device is essential and highly recommended.

You may also want to use the DIY approach or seek help from a mechanic. Whichever method you choose, this is the procedure for servicing your car's brake calipers.

To inspect the caliper assembly, you must remove it.

  • Loosen the wheel nuts with a wrench
  • Then lift the body of the vehicle
  • Remove the wheel to expose the caliper.
  • Disconnect and cap the brake hose.
  • Unscrew the caliper and remove the brake pads.

Caliper assembly check

You may first need to determine what type of gauge your car uses.

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If it is a floating type, the pistons are only on one side. Pistons should also be no more than two. Additionally, you'll notice the slide pins that also secure the caliper assembly to the mounting plate.

A fixed caliper has pistons on both sides and can be from two to eight. There are no slip pins and the assembly mounts firmly to the caliper bracket on the steering knuckle.

Then remove the caliper. The procedure for this varies by vehicle type or manufacturer. If your car's manual is available, it is advisable to consult it.

Here are the steps to inspect the assembly.

  • Check if the brake pads are worn and determine if they are level. Even if the pads are very worn and need to be replaced
  • Examine the slider pins. They allow the caliper to move back and forth and it is important to lubricate them properly. If there is not enough lubricant, use a suitable high-temperature lubricant. If there are signs of corrosion on the bushings and pins, you can clean them with a brush or age.
  • Check the caliper pistons. Check for signs of corrosion and other forms of wear. Also if the rubber seals are broken or too worn to be useful after the caliper gets some more use.
  • Finally, check the mount to see if it is worn or damaged. A broken brake caliper can cause noise when driving. Loose caliper noise usually occurs when you apply the brakes and you should notice it fairly easily.

If the caliper shows signs of severe wear or corrosion, it's best to replace it. This is because fixing certain parts does not guarantee that the caliper will work properly for a long time. You may need to do another repair soon.

While repairs may seem cheaper, they don't last long. In addition, few mechanics endorse it. And if you do it yourself, you'd rather install a new caliper. It is easier, faster and guarantees better results.

Once you have completed the inspection and repair or replacement of a caliper, you should take a test drive. Drive the car for a few minutes and feel the brake pedal. It must have all the characteristics of a firm, efficient and powerful braking system.

The brake pedal should not be fully depressed, but should remain slightly slack. It should also feel firm and not spongy. If you notice anything else, you may need to have the calipers checked by a professional. Also, make sure that when you press the brake pedal, there are no strange sounds like bad caliper screeching.

Chapter 6

Replace brake caliper

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(Video) How to rebuild a four piston brake caliper. The tools needed along with additional tech tips!

A worn brake caliper must be replaced.

While the tweezers are strong, they can't last forever. Eventually you will have to replace them. When the time comes, the dilemma is often whether to do it yourself or hire a professional.

The DIY approach is a popular option, and for a number of reasons. The cost to replace a worn caliper can be quite high, running as high as a hundred dollars or more. If you need to replace a pair (which is often the case), it can mean spending a lot of money.

That is why many car owners decide to do the installation themselves. It reduces the cost of replacing the caliper and gives you the opportunity to learn a skill. The only expense then is the amount you spend to buy the pliers.

The process of replacing a caliper may seem intimidating, but it shouldn't be. The task is not complicated and generally does not require previous knowledge. If you decide to go the DIY route, here's how to do it.

How to replace a brake caliper

You need these installation tools. Jack, spanner, screwdriver, torque wrench, socket set, pliers, headlamp, brake fluid, gloves and glasses. Also, be sure to keep your car's service manual with you for future reference.

15 steps to replace a caliper:

  1. Loosen the wheel nuts, but not completely.
  2. Raise the body of the vehicle with the jack, but securely.
  3. Now unscrew the nuts completely and remove the bosses and screws.
  4. Remove the wheel to access the caliper. You need enough space to make the task easier.
  5. Push the caliper piston out and into its bore. You can use a C-clamp for this or any other tool designed specifically for the task.
  6. Place an oil pan to collect the brake fluid. Then remove the hose that carries the brake fluid to the caliper. Seal the hose with a rubber stopper.
  7. Use a wrench to loosen the caliper and remove the bolts holding it in place.
  8. Raise the caliper until it is no longer covering the rotor and simply slide it off.
  9. Remove the brake pads, being careful not to drop them. Inspect and clean any corroded surfaces.
  10. Install the brake pads into the new caliper assembly.
  11. If necessary, place the new caliper in its holder and on the rotor.
  12. Screw it in, being careful not to over-tighten or over-tighten it. Overtightening the bolts can result in a loose caliper that will not provide reliable braking. Overtightening can cause breakage.
  13. Then connect the brake hose to the brake caliper.
  14. Bleed the brakes until all the air is gone and the pedal feels firm.
  15. Reattach the wheel and replace the tire.

This video shows the procedure to replace a brake caliper

Your new calibrator is now ready to use. Test drive it to ensure firm braking. If you're not getting adequate stopping power, there's a step in the process that didn't work. Get help from a mechanic.

Tips for replacing the caliper

Caliper: The Definitive Guide (32)

To ensure proper installation of the caliper assembly, here are the tips below.

  • Whenever possible, use new mounting parts. Old material can cause a rattling noise when driving and speed up the rate of caliper damage.
  • When mounting your new brake caliper, pay attention to the correct torque. These are specific to the design and model of the caliper. You may need to consult your owner's manual to find the correct torque for the collar you are installing.
  • Installing a caliper incorrectly is a common mistake. Avoid this by going over and over each step of the caliper replacement process.
  • Clean old parts that do not need to be replaced before installing the new caliper.
  • Guide pins allow a floating caliper to slide freely. Lubricate them properly and with the proper grease for the caliper. Just be sure to clean them with a solvent before applying the grease.
  • The process of replacing the front and rear calipers may differ in some aspects. Make sure you understand the procedure for the calibrator you are installing. Assemble the assembly correctly.
  • Brake fluid is corrosive. If you spill it on a painted surface, wash it off with soap and water.
  • Always flush and bleed the brake system after installing the caliper. Moisture buildup in the line can cause corrosion, while air makes the brakes less powerful.
  • The manufacturer's instructions for installing a new caliper may differ from the procedure described here. In this case, it is advisable to follow the manufacturer's instructions.

If you are looking to replace the brake calipers on your car, you may have two options. Some people might recommend that you rebuild it. While each option has its pros and cons, most car owners would rather replace the caliper than rebuild.

Because? This is the subject of our next chapter.

Chapter 7

rebuild brake caliper

Caliper: The Definitive Guide (33)

As brake calipers age, they lose their ability to brake powerfully and reliably. At this point, car owners are faced with the inevitable dilemma: buy a new caliper or simply replace worn parts.

Today, many motor vehicle owners choose to install new brake calipers. The mechanic also seems to give the same advice; that reforming is better than building again. What are the reasons for this way of thinking? Let's look at the options in detail.

Caliper: The Definitive Guide (34)

rebuild brake caliper

Rebuilding a caliper involves repairing parts of the assembly. Instead of installing a new device, simply replace worn or damaged components. The idea is to restore the efficiency of the caliper by putting new parts on the old assembly. Often the caliper rebuild kit comes complete with the necessary tools and materials. Even the instruction manual.

Replace brake caliper

Replacing a caliper, on the other hand, means removing the old assembly entirely. Instead, you mount a new one. Brake calipers are often replaced for a variety of reasons. It may be that the caliper has been on the vehicle too long and its performance has decreased. Or it could be a situation where the caliper is not producing powerful or reliable braking. Driving safety forces you to replace it.

Check x change brake caliper

Each option brings advantages and disadvantages.

A caliper rebuild is an inexpensive way to keep your disc brakes working. Usually a do-it-yourself process, a brake rebuild is worth considering if your budget is tight. It is also suitable when the caliper to be repaired is not seriously damaged. In such situations, an exchange would only cause unnecessary costs.

Sometimes a caliper fails due to minor issues like slipping pins. Because only part of the complete set is defective, you can avoid the additional expense of buying a new set of pliers. A modern brake caliper conversion kit usually comes with everything you need as a DIYer.

Caliper: The Definitive Guide (35)

Rebuilding the caliper has its drawbacks. First, it is a complicated process that requires cleaning corroded or oily surfaces. The process is also exhausting. Also, you cannot be sure that the reassembled parts are in the correct position. Also, you can fix a worn caliper only to have it malfunction right away.

Replacing a brake caliper can be very expensive. Installation costs are added to the cost of purchasing the device. It is then that he decides to hire a mechanic for the task. But that might not be a problem as you can always go the DIY route. In either case, installing a new caliper shouldn't present any challenges.

Replacing a caliper instead of rebuilding it has several advantages. First of all, it is by far the easiest and cleanest way to restore your brakes. Despite the costs involved, replacing a calibrator guarantees you more powerful equipment. You have many years of warranty before you need to replace the caliper. This is more profitable in the long run.

For one reason or another, you may choose to have your car's brake caliper serviced instead of installing a new one. When this happens, this is the procedure to follow.

How to build a caliper

Caliper Parts That May Need to Be Replaced During a Rebuild Source: Here are the tools you'll need: Caliper Repair Kit, Axle Jack and Support, Pan or Drip Pan, Socket Set, Brake Fluid, and Screwdriver .

The following steps:

  1. Loosen the nuts, but only a little, and raise the car with the jack and axle stands. Be safe and do not rely on the jack alone to support the car.
  2. Loosen the other part of the wheel nuts. Remove the wheel so that you can work on the caliper without hindrance. Place the drip tray underneath to catch any spilled brake fluid.
  3. Remove the caliper assembly by loosening and removing the mounting bolts. Be careful because you don't want to damage the brake line. Seal the brake hose with a rubber stopper.
  4. Remove the brake pads. These can be easily removed.
  5. Use the brake pedal to pump pressure into the brake system to allow the pistons to jump. There are other ways to remove the plunger.
  6. Use the screwdriver to remove the rubber seals. Be very careful during this part of the process. The screwdriver can easily puncture rubber seals and leak brake fluid.
  7. Install the new pistons along with the new seals. Properly lubricate the caliper parts and use the correct lubricant.
  8. Bleed the brake system to remove all air.
  9. If other parts need to be replaced, replace them in this step.
  10. When you're done, you can put the caliper back on its mounts and test drive the car.

You can also watch this caliper rebuild video


We have reached the end of this gauge guide. Fortunately, you've received some valuable information to help you care for this crucial vehicle component. That is, from solving problems to carrying out repairs and replacements.

Brake calipers determine the reliability of your braking system. If they are in poor condition, it may mean that driving is not safe enough. For this reason, it is recommended to always check the clamps to make sure they are working properly.

Always be on the lookout for the symptoms of a bad gauge. Check the set from time to time, especially during routine maintenance periods. If you notice a problem such as B. a stuck brake caliper, take quick action to fix it.

You can choose to replace the faulty part or parts in a so-called caliper rebuild. Better yet, you can cover the cost and fit a new caliper. In short, always check that the brake calipers of your car or truck work correctly.

All together:

Chapter 1 What is a caliper?

  • What is a brake caliper?
  • brake caliper function
  • Gripper operation
  • clamp position
  • Caliper Torque Specifications

Chapter 2 gauge type

  • fixed gauge
  • floating indicators
  • Fixed compass vs floating compass

Chapter 3 When to replace the caliper

  • How long do brake calipers last and how do you know when it's time to replace or service them?
  • How do you know when to change the calipers?
  • Do brake calipers have to be replaced in pairs?

Chapter 4 Symptoms of a bad gauge

  1. pull the brake
  2. less powerful brakes
  3. Uneven wear of the brake pads.
  4. screeching noise
  5. screeching noise
  6. brake fluid leaks
  7. Brakes that seem to be on all the time
  8. brake light on dash

Chapter 5 Calibrator Troubleshooting

  • The brake caliper is stuck
  • How can you tell if the brake caliper is stuck?
  • How to fix a stuck caliper
  • Caliper assembly check

Chapter 6 Replacing the caliper

(Video) Caliper Test: Candidate Guide, Sample Questions & More

  • How to replace a brake caliper
  • 15 steps to replace a brake caliper
  • Tips for replacing the caliper

Chapter 7 Gauge Conversion

  • rebuild brake caliper
  • Check x change brake caliper
  • How to build a caliper


1. How to rebuild rear brake caliper - VW Audi Skoda Seat - New piston and seals (COMPLETE GUIDE)
(Cars Guide DIY)
2. How To Rebuild A Front Brake Caliper - Complete Guide
(Gerard Burke)
3. How Properly to Lubricate a Caliper - Ultra Disc Break Caliper Lube | Permatex
4. How to Rebuild a Brake Caliper Fast & Easy
(Fast Fix)
5. How to Inspect and Lube Your Brakes (COMPLETE GUIDE)
6. Complete Guide To Use Metric Vernier Caliper
(Amrie Muchta)


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