What Is a Brake Caliper?

Brakes are some of the most important aspects of your vehicle’s operation. Accordingly, the experts here at Land Rover Albuquerque want to make sure our fellow drivers in the Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, and South Valley areas are familiar with the innerworkings of this vital system. Below, we’ll be covering some of the basic facts about the brake caliper. Namely, we’ll be going over what it does, how to know when a caliper has gone bad, and when they should be replaced.

The Brake System

What Is a Brake Caliper?Let’s take a quick moment to go over the general brake configuration as well as the caliper’s role. Your brakes are made up of a cast-iron disc called a rotor, as well as brake pads and pistons. These pads and pistons are held inside the brake caliper. The caliper itself is connected to the overall system by a series of hoses and valves.

When you push down on the brake pedal, brake fluid flows through these hoses in order to create a chain reaction of pressure inside the caliper assembly from the pistons to the brake pads. The two brake pads situated on either side of the rotor then clamp down onto it to slow down or stop the car completely.

What Are the Symptoms of a Bad Brake Caliper?

As you can likely imagine from its description, the caliper is a fundamental part of the braking system. As such, it’s imperative for your safety and that of your passengers that a broken or old caliper be replaced as soon as possible. Here are the signs to look out for that let you know to have your brake calipers checked out:

  • Dashboard warning lights have suddenly turned on
  • You hear grinding, squealing, or squeaking sounds when you apply the brakes
  • When braking, you feel a distinct pulling or jerking to either the left or the right
  • You detect a burning smelling that seems to be coming from the brakes
  • When you push down on the brake pedal, it feels soft or spongy

It is also imperative that you have your brakes examined in the event they appear to be leaking. Loss of brake fluid can result in brake failure and should be addressed immediately.

How Often Do You Need to Replace Brake Calipers?

Brake calipers can generally last for as many as 75,000 miles or as long as 10 years. As calipers age, their rubber seals can harden. This can result in sticking and leaking. For optimal performance, calipers should be replaced in pairs.

Remember to Have Your Brakes Checked Regularly

If you’re in the Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, and South Valley areas and you have questions about any of the above information, our service technicians will be happy to answer them. If you’re thinking it’s a good time to have your brakes checked out, you’re witnessing some of the signs that one of your brake calipers may need some attention, or it’s time to have one or more of your calipers replaced, contact our service center here at Land Rover Albuquerque to schedule your appointment today.


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