Brake Caliper Sticking - What it is and how to fix it

Brake calipers are important for the safety of your vehicle. If you have brake caliper sticking, which can be not so common, please try to diagnose and to fix it on time.

You can notice this cause when you are braking, your car pulls more to one side, or when you release the brake pedal after breaking, it doesn’t return to the regular position.

If this is happening, that means that you have Brake Caliper Sticking. Before you take your car to the mechanic or any repair shop, you can learn what can be the causes of this issue and how you can fix it.

Why is My Brake Caliper Sticking?

There can be several cases why your brake caliper can stick. Let’s look at the most common examples and how you can repair it.

1. Caliper Slides

The brake pads are held by the grooves which are located in the calipers which helps them to slide when you push on your brake pedal or release it. Sometimes the brake pad shims get stuck in the grooves, or they just get corroded or debris buildup in them. And because of this, the pads can not slide correctly in and out, and it brings to the brake caliper sticking.

In this case, it’s not necessary to replace calipers in your car, you just need to replace the shims which can cause to the sticking, or just to clean the calipers from the built-up debris in the calipers. Sometimes can be that the metal groove gets worn out. In this case, the whole caliper assembly needs to be replaced.

2. Caliper Bolts

The brake caliper bolts slides have to be always greased, and they have protective rubber boots on them which keep the grease in it, but sometimes when installing new brake pads, non-professional mechanics tear them.

So, instead of protecting against debris, it will damage calipers which will cause the brakes to stick. A better way is to replace these bolts with new ones. If it’s hard to find new bolts, then another way is to replace calipers itself.

Besides causing them to dry out and rust, debris may seep in as well, so they no longer slide as they should. In extreme cases, this will cause the brakes to stick. Sometimes you can take these bolts out and recondition them, but you may also need new bolts only. If new bolts are not available, then the only solution is to buy a new caliper.

One more thing which can cause to this failure is the bolts can be broken, this can happen when the mechanic over tightened them. That's why we always recommend taking your car to a trusted mechanic.

3. Caliper Piston

Another problem that can cause failure is a piston . The piston has a rubber boot around it protects, seals and lubricates the piston.

When replacing the brake pads , this rubber boot can be easily get torn while retracting the piston back into the caliper. So this can cause all the dirtiness to come into the calipers which will cause the pistons not to slide correctly. And it will bring to the brake caliper stick.

You can find brake caliper rebuild kits to fix this problem, but sometimes the only way to fix it is to replace the whole brake caliper assembly.

4. Brake Hose

Sometimes the brake hose can get wear out inside, which can make a small piece of brake hose to damage, but there is still a small piece which is connected to the main part of the hose.

In this case, the brake fluid will move in the valve in one way only. And when you push on your brake pedals, the liquid runs to the brake pistons and makes the pads to engage and will slow your car, but if you will release your brake pedals, the fluid just would not be able to return to the master cylinder.

This will bring to the Brake Caliper sticking and will make your car to pull to one side. Diagnosing this problem even for the professional mechanic is hard.

You can raise your car and press on the brake pedals and then release them and try to turn the wheels. If one of them is not rotating, then open the bleeder valve to see if the fluid flashes out. If it happens, it means that in the braking system is intense pressure. This may occur by a bad brake hose.

Avoiding a Stuck Brake Caliper

A well-maintained car will never have a brake caliper sticking problem. If you replace the brake pads and refill the fluid when it’s necessary, will help you to avoid this problem.

Doesn’t matter how much mileage your vehicle has, most of the calipers will work as long as your car does. So don’t try to save money on fixing this problem, sometimes it’s hard to diagnose it, because of that take help from professional mechanics.


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