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How Car Stuff Works

How To Replace Brake Calipers

There are some obvious signs that require that you look into the status of your brakes. Those signs include: soft, spongy or hard brake pedal, shuddering steering wheel, slow stopping, squealing or any other noise generally coming from the brake area or a brake warning light that stays on.

Brakes are without a doubt the single most important system in our vehicles. Even racecar drivers admit that the braking system is more important than the ability of speed. No sense being able to go 120 mph if you have no other way to stop than slamming against a brick wall!

Changing the brakes, including the calipers is probably best left to mechanical professionals who have the experience and equipment needed for the more advanced braking systems on modern vehicles. The technology afforded vehicles of this day and age has allowed us to experience the smoothest and quietest rides in history along with excellent technology allowing our vehicles to guide us to our destinations and show us theater quality movies during our morning traffic jam delays. However, all of this technology has catapulted us into another century of equipment.

Home mechanics, even those who are fairly experienced are being edged out of the market because they can’t possibly afford the technologically advanced equipment needed to do even the simplest of repairs on modern vehicles.

One thing to note about the brakes and caliper replacement, in order to keep the brake pedal depression at an even level, the pads need to skim the surface of the disc even after you have removed your foot from the brake pedal. The pistons and pads react only enough to allow reasonably free movement of the wheel.

What this means overall is that when you replace the brake pads, you will find that the caliper body has moved out to compensate for the wear on the brake pads. The new pads, built up with plenty of padding, won’t fit into this new smaller space. The piston will have to be forced back into the caliper body to allow room for the new pads.

There is a tool that makes this daunting, difficult task quite a bit easier. The ‘piston wind back’ tool will save you time and a lot of frustration but does cost a bit. This task can be accomplished without the tool but don’t expect an easy time of it.

Rarely would one replace only the brake caliper so pricing the brake caliper isn’t necessarily possible. Generally the brake caliper replacement will be done by a professional mechanic so you will also run into labor costs. Check with your preferred mechanic for prices if you suspect you may need to have your entire brake system replaced and not just the brake pads.

Problems with brake calipers are especially dangerous when the weather and road conditions are slippery or wet. A sticking caliper, even slightly sticking, may not be much of a problem when the conditions are good, but in a wet or slippery state, the sticking caliper can allow the wheel to slide when the brakes are applied.

This sliding of the wheel in a brake position can cause the vehicle to continue forward during a brake creating very dangerous conditions. The uneven position of the caliper can cause an uneven brake as well. When the driver lets up on the brake in slippery road conditions, the vehicle is more likely to spin out of control than if a steady, even brake is applied. This as well can cause deadly situations. Maintaining brake systems and especially the calipers is of utmost importance to the safe operation of your vehicle.

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