How to Fix Seized Brakes: 10 Quick Ways to Solve the Problem

When you drive your car daily, and everything seems to be working fine, little do you know that a problem might pop up anytime. The brakes are one of the most important components of a car and should be given due attention.

The brakes are used when necessary, or you can never bring your car to a halt. The brakes require a lot of servicing if you must ensure to drive safely.

One of the most common problems associated with vehicle users is seized brakes. Brakes can keep motorists stranded if you don't know anything about vehicles or don't know how to inspect your car, hop in.

We will be sharing how you can diagnose the problem with your car and quick ways to fix them.

How Can I Tell If My Brake Caliper is Seized and Needs to be Fixed?


Here are some signs indicating your brake caliper is seized and needs urgent attention.

1.   When you don't use   your vehicle for a long period- This is a solid indicator that your brake caliper might be seized. In this case, when you try to drive it, the brakes feel like they are on, and worse is that the car wont move.

2.   When your caliper slide pin seized- In this case, everything might appear normal, but when you apply the brakes, your car might pull to the opposite side. When this happens, the pads might be pushed onto the disc from the piston side continuously.  The effect is that it reduces the braking ability and leads to premature wear of the pad.

3. Your brake pad is stuck or the piston is stuck within the caliper- You will experience a situation where your car will go down on power, something similar to when the parking brake is on your car may also show signs of  side all the time when driving at any speed.

4. One wheel of your brake will bind- You may not notice your wheel bind until your state's yearly safety inspection when you fail the straight stop test. However, not all states perform the safety inspection. Regardless, you can still notice your vehicle tilting to one side even after alignment.

5. When the handbrake cable hangs up- This is caused when you fail to lubricate. It makes the cable not to travel like it should when the handbrake is released, which causes the brake to remain on.

How to Unstick a Seized Brake Caliper

If you have a seized brakes, here are ways to fix the problem

If the brake issue is caused by the braking cable, skewed pads or brake pads sticking to the rotor or disc. At this point your system needs a dose of proper lubricating and maintenance for proper functions.

Step 1- Inspect the car to know the exact problem.

Step 2- Lubricate the parking brake system.

Step 3- Remove the pad and apply some grease on the edges. This should fix the skewed pads. Resurfacing the disc and replacing the pads should be done once stuck pads have been freed from a disc.

Step 4- Perform more inspection on other components including the pistons and seals to ensure they are stuck in the piston/caliper bore.

In a case where the pads are stuck to the disc is to to the following:

Step 5- Resurface the rotor disc. You can also replace the brake pads alongside other components.

In a situation where the caliper piston or slide pins caused the seizing, there is a strong chance of the situation repeating itself again. That's because the corrosion that caused it will build up again. However, follow these simple steps to fix it.

Step 6- Retract the pad with a C-clamp.

Step 7- In the absence of a C-clamp, you can use the brake system's hydraulic pressure.

Step 8- Remove the caliper from the disc.

Step 9- After that, pump the brake pedal. This will help to move the piston past the corroded area.

Step 10- You can now dismantle and rebuild your brake caliper.

However, a special tool is needed to retract the pad when it comes to seized caliper pistons or slide pins. This tool is often a C-clamp. Seized caliper pistons can be removed with the hydraulic pressure off the brake system itself.

After removing the caliper from the disc, pump the brake pedal to move the piston past the corroded section. You will then be able to disassemble and rebuild it.

You can rebuild if you discover that the internal corrosion is not bad, but if it's beyond repair, then you should buy a new brake caliper.

Can All of This be Avoided?

The brake is often regarded as one of the most important components of our car, and it's often the one most disregarded.

Seized brakes can be avoided if a routine check is carried out on the system for rust build up. also, routine checking of the pads/rotors for premature or uneven wear and tear and proper lubrication of the system.

Also the caliper piston, edge of the pads and slide pins can be protected from damage by lubricating it with high temp grease. It will provide them with the needed lubrication and guard them from the external atmosphere which results in rusting.

frequently asked questions (FAQs:)

1. Why do my brakes seize up?

The primary cause of a seized brake is inactivity. If you keep your vehicle for long, especially in the open your brake will seize. That’s because the pad will become stuck to the disk due to surface rust which may result after a rain.

2. Can you drive with seized brakes?

Certainly not. It is highly unsafe to drive a car with a damaged brake caliper. Not just for your vehicle but for you and other road users. More so, if you continue to use your car after a damaged brake caliper, you will cause the brake pads to incur more damage.

3. How much does it cost to fix a seized brake?

Depending on the issue, you can spend about $300 or more to fix your emergency brake. While you might attempt to try to fix your brake yourself, we otherwise advise that you get a professional to fix it.

4. Can a master cylinder cause brakes to lock up?

Yes, that’s if there is a problem with the master caliper. If the master caliper seals and valves are not well fixed, it may lock the brake pad.

5. What are the symptoms of a faulty brake master cylinder?

When a brake master cylinder malfunctions, it doesn’t distribute pressure rightly, which then affects the pedal. Continual use will result in a bad cylinder which wears off and starts leaking. It also causes the pedal to feel spongy when the brake is triggered and may sink more when pressed.

Wrap Up!

The car braking system is susceptible to fault and complications. so, the number one way to care for them is to ensure that they get proper maintenance. it will prevent them from rusting in the first place.

The piston in the brake caliper can retain moisture in adverse temperatures. This moisture can cause decay and reduce your braking capabilities if not maintained, and this is very dangerous. For this reason, we advise you to always get your system checked.

Rahat Hossain