How To Change Brake Calipers In A Car? [ In 8 Steps ]

Brake calipers are an essential part of a vehicle’s braking system, clasping the disc brake rotors to either side and squeezing them together to slow or stop the wheels. Calipers can be mechanical-hydraulic hybrids or all-mechanical parts. A problem with your caliper could lead to decreased performance and unsafe operating conditions for your vehicle.

If you’re experiencing brake issues, it may be time to replace your brake caliper. Warning signs that indicate bad brake calipers include excessive squealing, stiffer than normal brakes when applying force, visible damage or leakage on the outside of the brake caliper, an illuminated ABS warning light on the dashboard, vibrations while driving, and uneven wear on the wheel pads’ edge.

Advance Auto Parts has all the tools you need—like wrenches, pliers, and ratchets—to help replace a faulty brake caliper easily and safely. Ensure you also have a shop manual specific to your vehicle so you know what steps to take during this important process. Read on to learn about the process in detail.

Here is How to Change Brake Calipers in A Car

Tools You Need

What Tools Do You Need to Install a Brake Caliper?

The tools needed for brake caliper replacement may vary depending on the specific make and model of the vehicle. Typically, the following items are required:

  • Use a friend or a one-person brake bleeder.
  • A line wrench of the appropriate size is needed.
  • The substance is brake fluid.
  • The brake line plug can be purchased at most auto parts stores.
  • The tool is called a breaker bar.
  • The options are a C-clamp or a disc brake spreader.
  • A catch pan for fluids.
  • The tools needed are a jack, and jack stands.
  • The options are a large screwdriver or a pry bar.
  • A container made of plastic.
  • Ratchet and appropriate size sockets (some calipers may require a Torx or Allen head socket)
  • Rubber hose that fits the bleeder screw
  • Safety glasses
  • Torque wrench
  • Wheel chocks

Steps

1. Place The Car In a Safe, Secure Location

When it comes time to change the brake calipers in your car, one of the most important steps is to make sure you leave the car in a safe and secure location. This is especially important if you work under or around the vehicle.

Pour your car on solid, level ground with plenty of room to work safely. Also, make sure that you use wheel chocks or blocks to keep the car from rolling when raising and lowering the vehicle.

2. Raise The Vehicle

Once your car is parked securely in a safe location, you must raise it off the ground to access the brake calipers. Make sure you use a jack, and jack stands rated for the weight of your vehicle, as this will ensure that the car is raised safely and securely.

3. Open The Brake Fluid Reservoir

Once your vehicle is safely off the ground and all four wheels are in the air, you can open the brake fluid reservoir. This will allow you to drain any remaining brake fluid from the system before removing any caliper components.

Wear safety glasses and gloves when handling brake fluid, as it can harm your skin and eyes.

4. Remove The Caliper Bracket

When changing the brake calipers in a car, you must remove the caliper bracket before you can remove the caliper itself. This is usually done by unbolting the two bolts that hold the bracket on with a socket wrench or ratchet. Make sure that you remember which bolts go where, as you will need to reinstall them in the same spot when reassembling the caliper.

5. Remove The Caliper

Once the bracket has been removed, you can remove the caliper by removing the top and bottom mounting bolts that hold it in place on either side of the rotor. Once these bolts have been removed, you can slide the caliper off the rotor and out of its mounting bracket.

6. Install The New Caliper

Once you have the old caliper off, it is time to install the new one. Start by sliding the new caliper into place in its mounting bracket. Then re-install the two mounting bolts on either side of the rotor. Make sure you torque the bolts to the manufacturer’s specifications, as this will ensure a secure fit and prevent any issues with the new caliper.

7. Re-fill The Reservoir

Once the new caliper is in place and all mounting bolts are torqued down, it is time to re-fill the brake fluid reservoir. This is best done using a funnel and pouring the brake fluid into the reservoir until it reaches the “full” line. Make sure that you do not overfill, as this can cause damage to your braking system.

8. Bleed The Brakes

Once the brake fluid has been filled, it is time to bleed the brakes to get any air out of the system. This can be done by opening the bleeder screw on each caliper and using a rubber hose to siphon the old fluid.

Make sure that you keep an eye on the reservoir while doing this, as it will need to be refilled if the level drops too low. Once all four calipers have been bled, re-fill the reservoir and close the bleeder screws.

How Often Should You Brake Caliper Replacement?

Brake calipers are essential in how your car stops and performs. They’re designed to last a vehicle’s lifetime if taken care of properly; however, due to road conditions, environmental factors, and driving habits, they will inevitably see their share of wear and tear.

It is important to check for signs of damage before it’s too late. The general rule is that brake calipers should be replaced after 100,000 miles or 10 years; however, the reality is that the brake pad thickness and fluid levels often impact your brake calipers’ performance as well.

Regular inspections can help determine when you need to replace your brake caliper. The first step in any inspection should be checking the strength and condition of the seals inside the caliper, as these can deteriorate over time.

Furthermore, inspecting the rubber boots around each piston can reveal if the liquid has seeped inside or if there’s any debris buildup in places where it shouldn’t be. If all looks good, moving on to measuring brake fluid levels using a standard gauge is needed to ensure everything is up-to-par with manufacturer recommendations.

How to Know Its Time to Replace Brake Caliper?

1. Brake Calipers Leak

A leaking brake caliper is a serious issue that can seriously affect the performance of your car’s brakes. When the piston seal wears out or gets damaged, brake fluid leaks from the caliper, reducing the braking force generated and risking your safety. This can happen due to corrosion over time and debris getting stuck in the caliper and damaging it.

It is important to stay on top of any potential signs of leaking brake calipers, such as visible fluid leakage, a spongy feeling when you press down your brake pedal or a decrease in braking control.

If you experience any of those symptoms, take your car to a mechanic immediately; they will inspect the brake caliper piston and its seal to diagnose the problem and recommend repairs if necessary. By taking care of this matter quickly, you’ll ensure that your brakes are safe and stable to continue driving with peace of mind.

2. Worn-Out Brake Pads

Brake pads can become worn out over time, reducing braking performance and safety on the road. This is because the friction material in the brake pad breaks down due to normal wear and tear. To avoid any unnecessary accidents, it is important to regularly inspect your vehicle’s brakes and pay special attention to the thickness of the brake pads. It is probably time to replace them if they are less than one-quarter of an inch thick.

In addition, if you hear grinding noises when braking or feel vibrations in the steering wheel, these could be signs of worn-out brake pads and should not be ignored. Replacing your brake calipers and pads helps ensure that your car stops safely and reliably every time.

3. Corrosion

Corrosion can cause serious damage to brake calipers, leading to a decrease in braking performance and an increase in the risk of accidents. It is important to check for rust, as corrosion can cause metal parts to weaken and become brittle over time.

Furthermore, if you notice any signs of leakage around the caliper, this could indicate that the rubber seals are worn out and need to be replaced.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

1. Is It OK To Replace Just One Brake Caliper?

No, it is not recommended to replace just one brake caliper. It is best to replace the calipers in pairs. This ensures that both brakes function properly and evenly for a safe driving experience.

Replacing just one brake caliper can result in uneven braking, as the old caliper may wear down faster than the new one. Additionally, changing only one might cause an imbalance in the hydraulic system.

2. How Often Should Brake Calipers Be Replaced?

Generally, brake calipers will last for at least 30,000-40,000 miles before needing to be replaced. However, regularly inspecting your brakes is important to identify any signs of wear and tear. This will help ensure that your car’s braking performance remains up-to-

3. How Long Do Calipers Last?

The lifespan of brake calipers varies depending on the type of car, its usage, and maintenance. Generally, brake calipers can last between 50,000 to 70,000 miles before they need to be replaced.

However, if they are subjected to harsh driving conditions or improperly maintained, they may need to be replaced sooner. It is important to regularly inspect the brakes for any signs of wear and tear to ensure that your car is safe to drive.

4. Can You Drive With A Failed Caliper?

Driving with a failed caliper is not recommended and can be dangerous. When one of the calipers on your car fails, your brakes are no longer evenly distributed between all four wheels.

This will cause one wheel to have more braking power than the other three, resulting in uneven braking and reduced stopping ability. Additionally, the extra braking power on one wheel can cause excessive heat buildup, leading to brake fade. Replacing the caliper immediately is important to ensure safe and reliable braking performance.

5. How Much Do Car Calipers Cost?

Car brake calipers typically cost anywhere from $50 to upwards of $200, depending on the make and model of the vehicle. The caliper may cost around $50, but installation costs vary significantly. Many auto parts stores charge a flat installation fee, ranging from about $20 to over $100. Additionally, shops may also charge a markup for the part itself.

Conclusion

Checking your car’s brake pads regularly for signs of wear and tear is important. If the brake pads are less than one-quarter of an inch thick or you notice any signs of corrosion, it is probably time to replace them. Replacing both brake calipers simultaneously is important to ensure balanced braking performance and safety on the road. The cost of replacing a car’s brake calipers varies, but expect to pay anywhere from $50 to upwards of $200 for the part alone.

John D. Archer
 

John D. Archer is a mechanical engineer and writer based on the area of automotive accessories at brakeshub.com, A resident expert and professional, John is passionate about all things automotive and loves to share his knowledge. He has good experience in all kind of automotive accessories. He has worked as a chief mechanical engineer in some reputed automotive garage firm.