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Brake Calipers and Parts

Before installing new brake calipers you want to make sure you find the right parts to fit your vehicle. You will also want to understand the components of your car or truck's braking system and how they interact.

How do brake calipers work?

The caliper is the device that is mounted over your brake rotors and is used to regulate the spinning of the rotor, through the brake pads, when you engage your vehicle's brakes. As the driver presses the brake pedal, fluid moves through the hydraulic brake line and applies pressure to a piston inside the caliper. That piston then squeezes the brake pads over the rotors, causing each wheel to slow down or stop.

How do you replace a brake caliper?

If you see any leakage of fluid from your caliper, you know it's most likely time to replace it. First, lift the vehicle and remove the wheel. You will want to slightly loosen each lug nut before lifting your vehicle. Once you are ready, jack your vehicle using the correct jacking point, choke the remaining wheels, and transfer the load to a secure jack stand. Once this is done, you can completely loosen the lug nuts and safely remove your wheel.

Next, remove the brake pads from the caliper. Loosen the bolt holding your brake pads in place, open the caliper, and remove the pads. Once this is done, you are ready to remove the caliper itself.

After that, disconnect the brake caliper from knuckle. Before removing the caliper, be sure to loosen the bolt holding the brake line in place. Then, unscrew each caliper bolt and carefully remove the caliper from the brake assembly. You will most likely need a breaker bar to loosen the bolts. Once the caliper is disconnected, place it next to your rotor so it is not pulling on the brake line.

At this point, it's a simple matter of reattaching your new brake caliper. When fastening, be sure to use a torque wrench to tighten each bolt. When you're finished, disconnect the brake line from your old caliper, quickly transfer it to your new one, and securely fasten it.

Finally, open the caliper and install the brake pads. You should be able to simply clip the pads into place. Close the caliper, then step on your brakes until you feel resistance return to your brake system. This will ensure the pistons are applying adequate pressure to your brake pads.

Should you replace brake pads at the same time?

Unless you know you have recently replaced your brake pads, it may be a good idea to go ahead and do so while you have easy access to the brake caliper.