Brake calipers are part of the overall braking system of our vehicle. Generally, there is one brake caliper for each wheel of the vehicle. These calipers push the brake pads against the brake disc (squeezing it) to brake (slow down) and/or stop the vehicle. It is advisable to check the brake calipers every time the vehicle's tyres are changed.
In the previous Frenkit post we detailed what is a brake caliper. Next, we explain what types of brake calipers exist in the automotive sector.
Types of brake calipers
How brake calipers work? To find out, it is important to differentiate between the two types and components of brake calipers available on the market:
Fixed brake calipers
During the braking process, hydraulic pressure acts on the two or more pistons or plungers facing each other (8) and thus generates the clamping force to press the brake pads (5) against the brake disc (6). This tensile force is graduated with the force of the foot applied to the brake pedal. When the brake is released, the pressure in the brake circuit is released and the brake pistons (8) now return to their starting position.
This is due to sealing rings or flat seals (3) (figure 8). Their function is to seal the brake fluid and to push back the piston because they are subject to deformation. This backlash is known as the slack stroke and is approximately 0.15mm. These flat seals allow the pistons to slide the same distance as the wear produced. In this way a slack stroke is maintained.
Floating brake calipers
When braking, hydraulic pressure enters the caliper through the connection (8). This pressure acts on the brake piston (9), which presses the inner brake pad (6) directly against the brake disc (5). This causes the "floating" caliper to slide through the guides (2), against the direction of the brake piston, and thus pulls the outer brake pad (4) against the brake disc. At this point both brake pads press against the disc with the same force. When the brake is released and pressure is no longer generated in the circuit, the flat seal or sealing ring (7), which is subject to deformation, pulls the piston back to its initial state. Floating brake calipers are the most widely used on the market due to their versatility and ease of manufacture.
As mentioned above, brake calipers are one of the essential elements for an optimal and safe braking system in our vehicle. If the brake calipers have lost effectiveness due to poor sliding of their components, they can generate overheating that will be transmitted to the brake discs and pads. If the caliper is replaced, it is recommended to replace the brake pads and discs at the same time.
How much does it cost to change a brake caliper?
Unlike brake discs and brake pads, brake calipers can be replaced individually. It is not necessary to replace the brake calipers on both sides, as in the case of brake pads and brake discs.
If you have enough knowledge to fix your vehicle yourself, you can buy the parts of the brake caliper directly from the manufacturer or distributor and thus save on labour and time. At Frenkit we are specialists in manufacturing and distributing brake components for vehicles. We also have a wide range of products and brake repair kits in stock.
However, if you prefer to outsource the service and entrust your vehicle to a garage to have your brake calipers changed, the price of replacing a brake caliper may vary depending on the type of vehicle you have and the garage:
- Specialised workshops usually charge between 40 and 90 pounds per wheel for maintenance and repair.
- Replacing brake calipers with spare parts can cost more than 172 pounds per wheel if the vehicle is taken to a garage.
- Before changing the parts of our vehicle, it is important to make sure that they are original. Buying the parts alone can cost around 259 pounds.
Vehicle brake calipers are a vital element for the proper functioning of the braking system. At Frenkit, a brake part distributor, we offer you a wide variety and range of repair products for brakes and hydraulic clutch actuation elements.