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FAQs Concerning Brake Calipers
My calipers are bad, should I replace the brake pads too?
Yes! Many times, the brake pads go bad alongside the brake calipers. Many calipers also come with pre-installed brake pads to make it easier for DIY mechanics to install at home!
Is it difficult to replace brake calipers?
No, it’s not too difficult. In short, you’re removing the wheel, removing the old caliper and installing a new one, replacing brake fluid, and ensuring the brake pressure is sufficient. It can take as little as an hour per caliper or as much as a day (for all four brake calipers), depending on issues that may arise.
What are some of the items I’ll need to get started?
First, you’ll need to find brake calipers and brake pads that fit your vehicle by going online or in-store to the nearest Advance Auto Parts. You’ll need a lug-nut wrench, the new caliper with pre-installed pads and fresh braking fluid, jack stands and the tools specific to your car.
Signs You Need a New Brake Caliper
- Brakes seize
- Lost braking pressure
- Spongy brakes
- Brake squealing or noise
- Pulling to the left or right when braking
- Uneven brake pad wear
Brake Caliper Types
There are several types of oil filters that modern vehicles use. Check your Owners Manual or the Advance Auto Parts website to see which oil filter your vehicle needs.
- Floating/Sliding Caliper – Puts pressure on the rotor from the inboard side of the vehicle
- Fixed Caliper – The pistons are fixed within the caliper and put pressure onto the rotor from opposing sides
- Disc Brakes – Brake calipers and pads put pressure on a brake rotor to slow a vehicle
- Drum Brakes – Brake calipers and pads put pressure on the interior of a drum to slow a vehicle
- Brake Caliper Internals
- Ceramic Brake Pads – Quieter than Semi-Metallic, long lifespan, most-expensive
- Organic Brake Pads – Quiet, low-dust, low-cost
- Semi-Metallic Brake Pads – better braking performance, may be noisier
How to Install a Brake Caliper
- Loosen the lug nuts on the side needing replacing
- Jack up that end of the vehicle and then finish taking off the wheel
- Find the brake caliper
- Compress the caliper piston to relieve pressure on brake rotor
- Clamp the braking fluid hose then remove it
- Remove the brake caliper from the wheel assembly
- Install new brake caliper (easiest with pre-loaded pads)
- Bleed the brakes and re-install braking fluid line (two-person job, jar method or use a vacuum bleeder
- Important: Ensure no air is inside the brake lines
- Test brakes from inside the vehicle to ensure they’re well-pressurized
- Re-install wheels and take vehicle off jack stands
How to Choose a Brake Caliper
To choose a caliper, take into consideration the kind of driving you do or plan to do. Are you stop-and-go traffic, sporty driving or perhaps high-performance racing on a track? Is the caliper pre-loaded with pads?
Does Advance Auto Parts have more information on the braking system?
Yes! Check out Christa Hogan's "Braking Fundamentals: Brake Pads, Rotors, and Fluid".
My caliper is good, but my brake pads are bad. What do I do?
Fear not DIY Mechanic, Advance Auto Parts has a handy "How To Replace Brake Pads" write-up just for you!
I've replaced my brake calipers and brake pads. Now, how do I replace the brake fluid?
If you're stuck on replacing your brake fluid, check out the Advance Auto Parts "How to Do A Brake Fluid Change" for more information.