What is a brake caliper

What is a brake caliper

The brake caliper is the set of parts that performs the final mechanism of the vehicle's braking system, which pushes the brake pads against the brake disc to slow down and/or stop the vehicle.

Brake calipers are an essential element in the vehicle's braking circuit, as well as the clutch in a car, because if they malfunction, they do not exert pressure on the brake pads, thus reducing the lack of power when braking. So it's also important to discover the different types of clutches. If this happens, the vehicle could swerve during braking, the braking distance of the vehicle could increase, requiring a greater distance to stop.

There are two types of brake calipers in a vehicle: fixed brake calipers, used in high-end vehicles, and floating brake calipers, the most commonly used on the market. If you want to know in depth the types of brake calipers that exist on the market, don't miss our post in which we tell you all about them.

How a brake caliper works

There are two types of systems:

  1. The service braking system, which intervenes on all four calipers of the vehicle and works with hydraulic pressure. Every time we press the pedal to brake, the brake master cylinder is actuated, which in turn pushes and transfers the brake fluid through the circuit, transmitting the pressure to the brake calipers of our vehicle.
    The hydraulic pressure transmitted by the system then pushes one or more pistons within each brake caliper against the brake pads. This pressure causes the brake pads to exert force on the brake disc, causing the friction from the contact of the brake pads and discs to cause deceleration.
  2. The parking brake system, which intervenes on the rear calipers, operates by means of a mechanical linkage. The rear brake calipers operate both hydraulically and mechanically. The brake lever next to the driver's seat is directly connected to the wheel brake.
    When actuated, a pull cable pulls a brake lever (17) at the rear of each caliper and creates a rotary motion. In response to this movement, a piston rod (12) moves the pistons (6), squeezing the brake disc. The design of these pistons allows them to be operated both hydraulically and mechanically. These pistons can be supplied by Frenkit in most cases. Some newer vehicles activate the parking brake electronically.

What is a brake caliper 1

In this way, both the service and parking systems are separated in the control and transmission.

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How to know if the brake caliper is faulty

We can detect that the brake calipers in a car need to be replaced when there is a braking error or the brake is noisy.

  • In braking failures we find total bracking, partial braking or no braking at all. This may be due to:
    • The caliper is blocked due to jamming, lack of lubrication or wear of a component. You will notice this when the vehicle leans to one side instead of straight ahead.
    • Non-uniform component slippage. This causes a slower braking response. In braking failures we find total braking, partial braking or no braking at all. This may be due to:
    • Brake fluid leakage somewhere in the braking system or broken parts. Causes no brake response at all.
  • Noise faults include lack of lubrication, not fully fixed elements or unevenly worn pads.

[Find out which is better, repairing a brake caliper or replacing it completely]


What tools are needed to change the brake caliper

If you need to change the brake calipers on your vehicle, you have two options: take it to a repair shop or do it yourself. Before repairing your vehicle, we recommend that, if you do not have the knowledge to disassembly a brake caliper, you should not change the brake calipers, as this is an essential part of safe driving. If you are not really sure, refer to a professional. If you have chosen the second option, you will need a series of tools to repair it:

  1. A jack to lift the vehicle in order to carry out the repair.
  2. A jack stand to secure the vehicle when lifting it.
  3. Workshop tools: hammers (preferably plastic), screwdrivers, spanners (, socket, open-end), Allen spanners, pliers, etc. In the case of a rear caliper, special tools provided by Frenkit will be required.

If part of the hydraulic system needs to be replaced or repaired, in addition to the above components, the following is required:

  1. A container in which to dispose of used brake fluid. *Remember to dispose of the fluid at designated disposal points.
  2. A person or purging indicators to help us purge the system.
  3. New replacement brake fluid.

If you want to know more about brake calipers, we also explain how to paint your car's brake calipers step by step. Whether you are a professional or a private individual who wants to fix your own car, at Frenkit, a brake part distributor specialised in brake components for passenger cars and light vehicles, we offer you a wide range of products for your vehicle: repair kits for brake guides, brake calipers, clutch pumps and for repairing the clutch slave cylinder; brake caliper accessory kits; caliper pistons and components, among others.

If you don't know how to search, we also show you how to identify brake caliper references.

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Tags: Brake calipers