How to Free a Stuck Brake Caliper Piston in These Easy Steps

This article is about how to free a stuck brake caliper piston. Has your brake seized, and you smell something burnt? Well, don't worry, we’re here to help you move past this issue. You will know that a piston is stuck with the brake caliper when you notice your car pulling to one side at any speed.

The Root of This Issue

In one word, the primary cause of this issue is 'corrosion.' If your piston is stuck to your brake caliper, then there is a high chance that you had your car sitting around idle for months resulting in the formation of rust in the brakes. The rust causes the piston to stick to the calipers and cause the brake to fail.

How to Free a Stuck Brake Caliper Piston?

In the case of stuck caliper pistons, a special tool is required to unstick it from the caliper. However, at times, an ordinary C-clamp stand will get the job done, and even a can of compressed air might be ample at times.

What’s funny is that the brake system can use it’s own hydraulic pressure to remove the piston. All you have to do is take out the piston from the disc and press the brake pedal, so it is not in the rusty region anymore. After that has been taken care of, you can continue with the rest of your job.

Why Do You need to Rebuild the Brake Caliper?

After you have freed the stuck piston, there are high chances that your brake will seize again. The corroded area is still present, so with time, the piston will be stuck again.
The easiest solution would be to replace the lousy caliper with a brand new one; however, that would be a bit expensive. So an alternate way would be to rebuild the same old one, which will take a smaller hit to your wallet.

A rebuild will require way more labor, which DIY enthusiasts might find to be enjoyable. The process includes replacing a lot of the components and at times, the piston itself, heavy cleaning, and also dissembling.

Rebuilding is an excellent option if the corrosion inside is not all that atrocious. At times, the rusting can be so terrible that there is no choice but to replace your old caliper with a new one. You may need to purchase only one particular tool, which is a brake hone to clean out the inside of the bore.

It might occur to you that buying a used caliper might be a viable choice, but we would beg to differ. A junkyard caliper might be even more corroded than the one you have, and it may be a complete waste of your cash, so refrain from making such decisions.

Ultimately, it comes down to the weight of your wallet. If you have the spare money to get yourself a shiny new caliper, then you should opt for that without any hesitation. But that’s not the case for the majority of us, so rebuilding can be a right choice that will give you similar results.

How to Prevent This from Happening in the Future?

Although you use your braking system almost every day, it gets the least of your attention. The key to avoiding all this trouble is checking on your braking system regularly and see whether any parts have been worn out or there is any sign of corrosion.

The most important thing is to keep the system well lubricated to make sure everything runs smoothly. Use a high-temperature grease in the system, which will provide lubrication and protection on the outside for the piston and sliding pins.

This stops rust formation and ensures a fully functional braking system that will not let you down.

Don’t leave your car lying around for months ; start it up once in a while and give it a spin to be on the safer side. Another piece of advice that you might want to keep in your head is that you should flush out the brake fluids every other year, because it draws in moisture, influencing corrosion.

How to Unstick Frozen Brake Caliper Pistons


In this article, we have provided you with sufficient tips and tricks on HOW TO FREE A STUCK BRAKE CALIPER PISTON. Pay attention to your brake system now and then, follow the tips given and you should free of any problems of the sort. If you are still confused, feel free to drop down your questions in the comments section below.


John D. Archer is a mechanical engineer and writer based on the area of automotive accessories at, 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.

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