What Is a Brake Caliper on a Car

What Is a Brake Caliper on a Car

A brake caliper is a component on a car that helps to stop the car. It’s also known as a parking brake. When you step on the brake, the caliper compresses the four rubber pads against the rotor, which stops the car.

Brake Caliper are an important part of your braking system, essential for the proper functioning of your brakes. Each wheel has its own calliper, which applies pressure to the brake pads to slow down the spinning wheel and decrease the speed of the vehicle.

What Is a Brake Caliper on a Car
Brake Caliper

What Is a Brake Caliper?

A brake caliper is a piece of metal that sits on the outside of a car’s wheel and helps to stop the car. It contains two metal plates that fit against the wheel’s rim and squeeze it when you apply the brakes.

Types of Brake Calipers

There are three types of brake calipers on a car: drum, disc, and ABS. Drum brakes use a metal drum that rotates to apply pressure to the brake pads. Disc brakes use a pair of metal discs that rotate to apply pressure to the brake pads. ABS (anti-lock braking system) uses sensors to detect when the car is slowing down, and applies pressure to the brake pads in order to stop it quickly.

How to Measure the Brake Caliper

If you’re like most drivers, you probably just assume that your Brake Caliper is the same size on both your front and rear wheels. But this isn’t always the case – and it can actually depend on the type of wheel hub your car uses.

To figure out how big your brake caliper is, first take a look at the diagram below. This shows how different types of hub systems use different numbers of rotors.

How to Adjust a Brake Caliper

A brake caliper is a metal disk that rests against the brake pad to help stop the car. The caliper has a number of pistons that push and pull on the brake pads. To adjust the brake caliper, you first have to remove it from the car.

There are three bolts that hold the caliper in place. To adjust the pistons, loosen one bolt and then slide the piston up or down until it’s in the correct position. Tighten the bolt to hold the piston in place.

What Is a Brake Caliper on a Car

Common Features:

However, brake callipers can be (and have been) improved in a number of ways. The following are some common features of performance brakes callipers:

Larger Pistons

The size of the pistons plays a crucial role in the amount of force they exert on the rotor, as larger pistons have a greater area of contact with the brake pads, leading to increased clamping force.

More Pistons

Low-end brake calipers generally have only one piston on the inboard side, whereas high-performance calipers can have multiple pairs of pistons mounted on opposing sides of the rotor. As the number of pistons increases, so does the clamping force of the caliper. It is not uncommon to see six or even twelve piston calipers in high-performance vehicles.

Less Heat Retention

Brakes convert movement into heat, and as a vehicle slows down, most of the kinetic energy is transformed into heat. The friction generated between the brake pads and the rotor generates heat, which causes the brakes to fade or become less effective. Better ventilated brake calipers and larger rotor surfaces help dissipate the heat, improving their performance.

Differential Bore Calipers

As the rotor heats up, the pistons need to exert more force to avoid brake fade. When calipers have multiple pairs of pistons, the pistons at the leading edge of the caliper heat up the rotor surface, which in turn makes it hotter for the pistons closer to the trailing edge of the caliper. Differential-bore calipers solve this problem by using smaller pistons at the front and larger pistons at the rear, creating a more balanced clamping force.

What Symptoms Direct Of A Broken Brake Calliper?

A brake caliper is an essential component of a car’s braking system that is responsible for stopping the vehicle when you apply the brakes. If a brake caliper goes bad or fails, it can lead to serious safety issues. Here are some common symptoms of a bad brake caliper:

  • Reduced braking performance: One of the most obvious signs of a bad brake caliper is reduced braking performance. The vehicle may take longer to stop or feel like it’s pulling to one side when braking.
  • Squeaking or grinding noise: A bad brake caliper can cause a squeaking or grinding noise when you apply the brakes. This is often caused by worn brake pads or a stuck piston inside the caliper.
  • Brake fluid leaks: A bad brake caliper can also cause brake fluid to leak. You may notice a puddle of fluid underneath the car, or the brake pedal may feel soft or spongy when you apply pressure.
  • Uneven tire wear: If one brake caliper is not functioning correctly, it can cause the tires on that side of the car to wear unevenly. This can lead to a loss of traction and reduced handling performance.
  • Car pulls to one side: A stuck or seized brake caliper can cause the vehicle to pull to one side when braking. This is because the caliper is not applying equal pressure to both sides of the brake rotor.

How Often Do Brake Callipers Require To be Upgraded?

Given the essential part brake callipers play in your braking system, you may imagine how difficult and taxing their work must be. They are built to be strong, durable, and able to bear the tremendous pressure of their duty. Premature brake calliper wear, however, can be caused by things like forceful braking or a lack of routine maintenance. Fortunately, brake callipers can last up to 100,000 miles or 10 years with proper driving and maintenance.

You can also see What Cars Do Not Have Power Steering.

Brake Service Appointments at Bohn Ford

It is crucial to have your brakes inspected frequently because they are your main source of safety. Even if you now know how long brake callipers can last and how frequently they might need to be replaced, it is still crucial to monitor their condition and take care of any other braking problems as soon as possible to keep them from harming the entire system.

You may always make a service appointment at Bohn Ford if you need brake servicing, brake calliper adjustment, or replacement. We are committed to helping motorists in Harvey, New Orleans, and Metairie keep their cars in top condition.

How to Identify a Failed Caliper in Your Car?

The caliper is an essential component of your car’s braking system, responsible for squeezing the brake pads against the rotor, which slows down the vehicle. A failed caliper can have severe consequences for your car’s braking performance and your safety on the road. Here are some signs that your car’s caliper may have failed:

What Is a Brake Caliper on a Car

Uneven Brake Pad Wear:

Inspect the brake pads for uneven wear. If one pad is significantly more worn than the other, it could indicate that the caliper is not functioning correctly.

Brake Fluid Leakage:

A damaged or failed caliper can cause brake fluid to leak, leading to reduced braking efficiency. Check for any signs of fluid leakage around the caliper.

Reduced Braking Power:

If your car takes longer to stop than usual or you need to press the brake pedal harder than usual, it could indicate a problem with the caliper.

Burning Smell:

A seized caliper can cause the brake pad to rub against the rotor, generating excessive heat and producing a burning smell.

Abnormal Sounds:

A failed caliper can cause squeaking, grinding or other unusual sounds when you apply the brakes.

Important Maintenance Points:

  • The calliper must stay centred on the rotor as the brake pads degrade to maintain equal pressure on both sides. To accomplish this, different manufacturers may employ different strategies, with some designs being more successful than others at preventing the callipers from sliding in order to compensate for pad wear. To retain the sliding mechanisms’ full range of motion, it’s crucial to thoroughly clean and lubricate them using high-temperature brake grease during brake servicing. If callipers are not properly lubricated, they may become stuck in one position, which would only allow one pad to apply the required pressure to the rotor.
  • When possible, check the dust boots that protect the two slide pins and the calliper piston. These adaptable coverings keep dust and moisture from affecting how well these pieces work. The boots should be checked for any evidence of rips or damage very once because rust and grime might cause the parts to seize. You might be able to unscrew the calliper, clean the components, and swap out the boots if you have some basic DIY skills. However, labour costs typically make this impractical in auto shops, so the most typical fix is to replace the entire calliper and bracket.


A brake caliper is a component on a car that helps to stop the vehicle. The brake caliper has two pistons that squeeze the brake pads to create friction and stop the car.

FAQs Brake Caliper:

What is a brake caliper, and what does it do?

A brake caliper is a component of a disc brake system that holds the brake pads and exerts pressure on the rotor to slow down or stop the car.

What are the different types of brake calipers?

There are two main types of brake calipers – floating and fixed. Floating calipers have one or two pistons on the inboard side, while fixed calipers have pistons on both sides of the rotor.

What is the difference between single and multi-piston calipers?

Single-piston calipers have one piston on the inboard side, whereas multi-piston calipers can have several pairs of pistons on both sides of the rotor. Multi-piston calipers offer more clamping force, resulting in better stopping power.

Can I replace the brake caliper myself?

Replacing a brake caliper requires a certain level of expertise and knowledge of the brake system. It is recommended to have a qualified mechanic perform the replacement.

How often should I replace my brake calipers?

Brake calipers typically last for several years, but their lifespan can vary depending on the driving conditions, usage, and maintenance. It is recommended to have them inspected regularly and replaced if there are any signs of damage or wear.

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