Brake calipers are an important component of your vehicle’s braking system. They’re the parts that press your brake pads against your brake rotors, which slows your vehicle down. If you have damaged brake calipers, it can be a serious safety problem.
Let’s cover the basics of brake calipers and how to know when you should replace them.
What is a Brake Caliper?
A brake caliper is what holds the brake pads in place, so they can press against the rotors when you apply the brakes. A good way to think of it is like a clamp, squeezing the rotor between the pad and itself.
Brake calipers are usually made of an aluminum alloy or cast iron, and they’re designed to withstand high temperatures and friction.
The brake calipers are the most critical part of your brake system. When you press the brake pedal, the caliper presses the brake pads against the rotors to slow down and stop your car.
Why Brake Calipers are Important
Brake calipers can be mechanical or hydraulic. The type of caliper on your car depends on its make and model. Hydraulic calipers use fluid pressure to apply force to the brake pads, while mechanical calipers have a cable that pulls the pads into contact with the rotor.
Brake calipers also have pistons. In hydraulic systems, there are multiple pistons in each of the two brake calipers that press against both sides of the rotor when you step on the brakes. On a mechanical system, there’s only one piston per brake caliper, which does not apply pressure evenly since it’s only compressing one side of the rotor at a time.
For your brakes to work properly and provide superior braking power, you need working brake calipers that can press against both sides of your rotors evenly. If they fail at any point in time, your vehicle will become unsafe to drive and you’ll need to get them repaired or replaced right away.
Brake calipers are the part of your braking system that pushes the brake pads against the brake rotor to create friction that slows down your car. Over time, brake calipers can become damaged, which reduces their effectiveness and creates safety hazards for you and those around you.
Signs To Replace the Brake Calipers
Usually, if your brake calipers need to be replaced, it will appear as though you’re having problems with something else in your braking system. Here are some signs that there might be a problem with your brake calipers:
Visible Damage or Leaking Fluid
If you can see cracks, leaks, or other physical damage to your brake calipers, it’s time for a replacement. You can look at the brake calipers by peering behind the wheels of your car.
Signs of Wear
You may also notice signs that some of the parts of the brake calipers are wearing down. For example, if you have a sliding caliper, then you may notice that the piston is sticking out farther than it should be. This can cause overheating and other issues with your brakes.
You may also notice problems with how your brakes are working. For example, if you press your brakes and they feel spongy or soft, you could have a problem with one of the components in your brake calipers. This can cause your brakes to overheat, which can put you at risk when you’re driving on the road.
If your brake calipers need to be replaced, you may also notice the following signs:
- Your brakes feel loose like they don’t have pressure behind them
- Your vehicle is pulling to one side when you step on the brakes
- You hear scraping or grinding noises when applying the brakes
- You hear a high-pitched squealing noise when applying the brakes
- The brake pedal feels soft or spongy
- You step on the brakes and they go all the way to the floor without slowing down your vehicle
- Brake fluid is leaking from a caliper (you may see it drip onto your wheels)
If any of these things occur to you, head to a mechanic right away so they can replace any worn-down brake calipers in your braking system.
Use Brake Pad Clips To Save Money
Brake pads are one of the most expensive parts of a car, and replacing them is often the first thing to do when something fails. The front brakes are especially vulnerable because they’re exposed and get a lot of wear.
You can get new brake pad clips that are similar to the originals. They’re typically made from plastic or metal, and you can see them sold for around $30 for a set of four. They’re about half the price of new brake pads, but they don’t last as long, since you’ll have to replace them a lot sooner than with new brake pads.