Brake Callipers: How to Check and Maintain Them?

Your car has lots of small parts that are in chief of big things. For example, brake callipers. They are responsible for passing hydraulic pressure to pads and making them squeeze the rotor, which, in turn, causes your car to stop or slow down when you apply brakes. So if brake callipers don’t work as designed, the car won’t be able to stop when needed exposing the driver’s life to a serious danger. In this article, specialists from 123spareparts.co.uk and brakesshop.co.uk explain how to test brake callipers – small parts that are in chief of your safety.

How do brake callipers work?

In the car equipped with disc brakes, the calliper is a clamp that is located over the brake rotor. It is connected to a brake pad and contains pistons through which it passes pressure to the pad making it squeeze the rotor every time the driver applies brakes. With a view to how they mount, there are two types of callipers: floating and fixed ones. If you have noticed any issues with braking, callipers must be checked in the first place.

How to check brake callipers?

  1. Loose lug nuts and use a jack to lift the car.
  2. Check if the brake hoses aren’t cracked and the brake fluid doesn’t leak. If the leak is detected, hoses and callipers must be replaced.
  3. Cover the calliper with a C-clamp and tighten it in order to compress the piston. If the piston resists compression and doesn’t retract, it must be replaced. Rear callipers may have screw-in pistons that require screwing with a special tool. Don’t try to compress them with the C-clamp.
  4. After you retract the piston, try moving the calliper with your hand. If slides and slide bolts of floating callipers got corroded and don’t allow the calliper to move freely, they need to be cleaned and re-lubricated.
  5. Remove both brake pads and inspect the signs of wear on them. If one is worn more than another, it can be a sign of a sticking slide or a sticking piston. If they cannot be repaired, you will need to buy a new calliper.
  6. The brake system must be bled after every contact between the hydraulic system and air.