Dealing with a Bad Brake Caliper

What Is It?

Every driver knows the importance of brakes, but perhaps you’re not comfortable naming all the braking system components and their functions. That’s okay. We’re here to help you ensure that your system is working as it should and to make repairs if it isn’t. One part of your vehicle’s brakes are the caliper. Maybe you’re wondering exactly what that is. A brake caliper is a part of the disc brakes that are on at least the front wheels–if not all four–on most modern automobiles. The pressure from the brake fluid’s hydraulic force enables the caliper at each wheel to move the brake pads into contact with the rotors (discs). As you can see, the caliper is crucial to your ability to stop. If you suspect a problem and need brake repair, rely on the ASE-certified technicians at Community Automotive Repair in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

How Will You Know It’s Bad?

Although we’ll need to take a look at your automobile to diagnose a brake system issue accurately, there are some signs you might observe yourself if you have a brake caliper that’s gone wrong. For example, you may detect a hot chemical odor from the wheel well area. Stuck brake calipers don’t allow brake pads to distance themselves from the rotor after brake application properly. The metal pad continues to rub against the metal disc. The friction causes the extreme sustained heat that results in the burning smell. Also, an engaged or bad caliper may present itself in the form of a brake fluid leak in the piston seal or bleeder screw areas. As a related issue, the loss of brake fluid and air seeping into the area of the leak may cause your brake pedal to feel spongy to the touch. Your stopping distance may increase, as well. Further, you may feel a tug of your vehicle to one side during braking or notice the feel or sound of a grind if the brake pad isn’t disengaging from the disc. Finally, the pads may wear unevenly because of that failure to separate after the brake pedal is released.

What Do You Do About It?

If you indeed have a failed brake caliper, there are a couple of options. Replacing the caliper costs more in part but is less labor-intensive. A brake caliper rebuild kit is less expensive on the front end, but it requires more work on a mechanic. If you need help with a bad caliper or any other brake repair, the experienced technicians at Community Automotive Repair can assist you.

Written by Community Automotive