It is possible that most drivers have experienced one of the following: their vehicle takes longer than usual to stop, the vehicle's steering pulls to one side, after pressing on the brake it squeaks and smells burnt or they have to force the brake pedal to stop the car with more force than they should.
These are some of the clearest symptons of a sticking brake caliper that indicate that your brake caliper is going bad.
The causes of a stuck brake caliper and not moving back can be very diverse. Therefore, in this post by Frenkit, a company specialised in manufacturing and distributing brake components for passenger cars and light vehicles, we are going to review some of the most common situations in which the brake caliper can get stuck while driving, and we will analyse how to proceed with their repair.
Before reading on, it is important to remember the types of the brake calipers and the definition of what a brake caliper is:
The brake caliper is the set of parts, mostly made of aluminium or steel, which pushes the brake pads against the brake disc to slow or stop the vehicle.
Why does a brake caliper lock up?
Brake system failure is one of the most frequent reasons why many drivers visit their garage. It is necessary to carry out regular maintenance of the vehicle's brake system discs, brake pads and brake fluid. It is also important to check the brake calipers from time to time to ensure that they are not at fault, e.g. due to rust on the brake caliper.
Avoiding this type of problem on your vehicle is simple; all you need to do is to have your brake calipers serviced from time to time. Furthermore, if we know the reasons why the brake calipers may be stuck, we can avoid this type of situation:
Dirt and water accumulating in the brake caliper can cause rust to build up on the metal components, causing them not to back up. It is important to note that if the brake caliper dust cover does not fail, the pistons and pins do not need to stick. Dirt ingress can cause your vehicle's caliper to become stuck and prevent the vehicle from operating properly.
Because there are air bubbles in the circuit
Another reason why the brake caliper sticks is that for some reason air is introduced into the hydraulic system, it will be possible to brake because the air can be compressed. However, when the brake pedal is released, the piston will not return to its rest position. This happens because the air is decompressed and the seal cannot exert enough force to push the piston back.
Improper installation of any component can lead to deterioration or binding. Brake guide pins, for example, can become bent due to improper installation or repair, causing friction that can eventually block the brake caliper guide. Another example could be the installation of a new piston with used dust covers. The rubber can break when repairing and allow dirt to clog the metal components. In addition, bad and reckless driving or overexertion of the vehicle also increases the risk of the brake caliper becoming stuck.
How to replace a locked brake caliper
The brake caliper of our vehicle is a component that should never be neglected. Its proper functioning guarantees the efficiency of the brakes and the safety of the vehicle. Therefore, we cannot ignore any brake caliper failure, as it can lead to a complete brake failure.
Once we know why the brake caliper fails, it is important to carry out the correct repair. From Frenkit we recommend that you carry out a proper repair with the necessary tools, as long as you have the necessary knowledge to replace a brake caliper. If this is not the case, we recommend that you consult a trusted garage to replace or repair the brake caliper if necessary.
Before starting to repair and disassemble the brake caliper, it is important to observe the manufacturer's maintenance and safety instructions. At the same time, it is also essential to follow the vehicle-specific installation instructions carefully, as each vehicle has very different parts and repair procedures.
At Frenkit we are specialists in distributing and manufacturing brake components for different makes and models of vehicles. On our website you will find a wide range of repair kits for your car's brake system. Also on our blog you will find content about brake systems, such as the EPB malfunction and what to do about it.
In addition, if you need a specific service, our team of professionals will help you to solve any doubt or need.