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How To Know If You Need A New Brake Caliper?

Published by: Jolie
Date of Publish:

If you love cars or have one yourself, you must know that the brakes are one of the most critical components of the whole vehicle. A car's braking system is further made up of even smaller components, and the brake caliper is one of them. Like any other part of your car, the brake system needs regular maintenance to be in the best shape. A faulty or flawed braking system can be pretty dangerous and may even lead to fatal conditions. It is always a great idea to know about essential car components and understand from subtle indicators when they are due for a replacement or maintenance job. A brake caliper has quite a few uses, and many indicators show it is malfunctioning.

How to know if you need a new brake caliper

Read on to know more about the functions of a brake caliper and how you can know when it is time to change them. You will also learn why brake calipers can become faulty or degrade and get a better insight into your car brake maintenance. In addition, this blog, Do you really know your brake caliper and A guide to brake caliper system for automotive, can also assist you in understanding more about brake calipers.

What Are Brake Calipers Meant For?

The brake calipers are integral to your car’s braking system. It is a part of the disc brake system and is present in the front brakes of most cars. The brake caliper contains brake pads and pistons and is responsible for slowing down the wheels by pressing against the brake rotors and creating friction.

The brake caliper is a clamp on the wheel’s rotors, creating friction with the wheels when you press your foot against the brake pedals. The brake pads are metal plates present inside the caliper. Whenever you push on the brake pedals, the brake fluid in the calipers creates pressure on the pistons and forces the brake pads against the brake rotor.

Bad Brake Caliper Signs

Many signs show that you need to change your brake calipers soon. Always look for these signs while riding so you can rely on your brakes without care. If your car is showing any of the following symptoms, it is time to get your brake calipers checked and replaced. But it’s not the wrong sign for brake caliper pistons. For more, please refer to how to check brake caliper piston

Leaking Brake Fluid

The brake calipers of most vehicles are activated by hydraulic fluid. In case of faults or a malfunction, the brake fluids may leak from the piston seal or bleeder screw. This is enough to make you realize that your brake calipers are due for a replacement.

Vehicle Pulling to One Side

In some cases, a seized brake caliper or caliper slider will drag down the car to one side of the road while braking. This can also happen when driving down the road and is quite dangerous. 

Brake Pedals Giving Weak Feedback

Faulty and leaking brake calipers can result in soft or spongy brake pedals that do not give proper feedback. In some cases, sticking sliders can create too much gap between the gap and rotor, giving a soft and abnormal feeling when the pedals are pressed.

Uneven Brake Pad Wear

In most cases of worn-out or malfunctioning brake calipers, they tend to remain stuck, or their slider pins get stuck. This can cause uneven wear in the brake pads because of the partial application of force. They will be dragged across the rotor, causing uneven wear.

Car Getting Dragged

 A faulty caliper often gives your car a dragging sensation when you press down on the brake pedals. The stock brake calipers may cause the brake pads to press against the rotors, and whenever the affected brakes are applied, the car may drag for a bit before coming to a stop or slowing down.

Abnormal Noises while Braking

If your brake calipers are busted, there is a high chance you will hear an abnormal grinding noise while braking. This is because your caliper has worn out the brake pads more than it should have. At this point, you should get both your brake calipers and brake pads checked – either one or both may need to be replaced.

Reduced Braking Ability

A damaged brake caliper often results in a soft or spongy brake pedal. Even if you press down on them with more force than required, the brakes do not work as expected. The brakes will show reduced efficiency and work quality, and the car will not stop in time.

Do The Right Thing, Change The Calipers

Brake calipers are an integral part of your car’s braking system and directly contribute to your safety. If you ever see signs that indicate that there is some kind of a problem with your braking system, get it checked out by a mechanic. You never know when your brakes will completely fail you, which would be a real mess. So, getting your brake caliper and the brake pads checked and replaced regularly is always a better idea.

change caliper

Sometimes irregular use of your car brakes can bring about unforeseen damages, so you need to consider the various signs that show a faulty braking system. You never know where to take your car, so it is always better to get any issue fixed at the earliest. For detailed replacement steps, please refer to A guide to brake caliper system for automotive

Factors That Cause Brake Calipers To Go Bad

Check out the major reasons that cause your brake calipers to go bad. For more info, please refer to Do you really know your brake caliper

Bad Brake Pads

If you are using bad brake pads, there is a higher chance of them getting worn out easily. If your brake pads get worn out, the brake calipers would grind against the wheel rotors to slow down or stop the car. If this happens too often, then both the rotors and the brake calipers get damaged and need to be changed for a smoother operation. Always use good quality brake pads for better performance.

Too Frequent Braking

Frequent and unnecessary braking can damage your brake calipers. However, this cannot be avoided in some cases, like in city traffic. So, you will notice that a person driving in the cities needs to get their braking system repaired more frequently than someone driving in rural or low-traffic areas. Some cars specially designed for city traffic have modified braking systems to sustain the frequent need for braking.

Weather Conditions

A car’s braking system is often affected by the weather condition of the place where it is used. if you look closely at the market, different regions with different climate conditions have different car preferences. This is not only due to personal tastes but also due to the fact that the cars are made especially for such conditions. While some vehicles can sustain extreme cold and wet weather conditions, others cannot. Further, if the temperature dips below a certain level, your car brakes would make a lot of grinding noises the next time you start your car.


The braking system and the different rotors of your car are directly linked to its performance. Like every other machinery, they deteriorate over time and need regular maintenance for better working. Sometimes, it may seem less expensive to get new parts for your braking system than to spend on regular maintenance tasks. Keep in mind the age of your vehicle before you stress it to perform like it did when it was new.

Poor Quality Materials

If you are using poor quality materials to manufacture your brake calipers or braking pads, then they would suffer from a greater amount of wear and tear from use. This would invite the need to repair or change your brake calipers more often than required. Since your car's braking system directly affects your safety, it is recommended to use good quality materials for brake calipers.

Not Using Stock Calipers

Car manufacturers often customize brake calipers for a particular series of vehicles. However, if you decide to use brake calipers made by third-party manufacturers, they may not have the particular customizations and would affect the car’s performance. It is always recommended to use stock calipers made by the respective car manufacturers for better performance rather than using cheaper alternatives which can only damage your vehicle in the long run.

Water Can Affect Life Too

If you are driving in a water-logged area or the rain, there is a high chance of damage to your brakes. Water can warp hot brake rotors, resulting in a rough stop. So, driving slowly in the rain or in water-logged areas is always recommended to relieve the pressure on your brakes and give them a longer life. Further, cars made from driving in water-logged areas have a modified braking system and are usually less prone to water damage. You must let your rotors cool down after driving in the rain or water-logged areas.

How Do I Confirm A Bad Brake Caliper?

Unless you are an expert or have a lot of experience, it may be difficult to notice whether your brake calipers are of good quality or not. All you can depend on is the few signs mentioned above to understand whether your car brakes are functioning correctly or not. You can always get your brake calipers checked by a mechanic to know whether they are good. Always spend a few extra bucks and get a better brake caliper and brake pads, as they are directly linked with your safety. Unsafe driving or a faulty braking system may often result in fatal accidents, which is not desirable.


Now that you know about brake calipers and several signs to check for their proper functioning, you can ride safely. It is always a better idea to be adequately informed before you decide to experiment on your own. Always remember that taking your car with faulty parts for a ride does endanger not only you but also your co-passengers and the others driving around you. Always be on the lookout to detect any abnormalities and get them looked at before it becomes a significant issue.

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