New brake caliper sticking condition is common to prevail right after replacing the brake clippers. Having a new caliper stick right after installation can be quite frustrating.
Factory defects, dirty or clogged pistons, and corroded bolts are common causes of this problem. Our complete guide discusses why your new caliper is sticking and how you can fix it.
- 1 What Are the Common Reasons Your New Caliper Is Sticking?
- 2 Solutions for New Brake Caliper Sticking
- 3 Frequently Asked Questions
- 4 Conclusion
What Are the Common Reasons Your New Caliper Is Sticking?
The common reasons your new caliper is sticking are that it was wrongly installed or has a factory defect. Also, components of the brake caliper, like its pistons, bolts, and hoses, could be corroded. If you are unsure of the cause, it’s best to consult a licensed mechanic.
– Factory Defect
Although very rare, a sticking brake caliper can be from a factory defect. That is, the brake caliper wasn’t manufactured properly. However, coming up with this diagnosis will require you to inspect your caliper components and be sure they all work perfectly. If they do, then your caliper was damaged during the manufacturing process.
– Corroded Caliper Guide Pins and Bolts
Corroded guide pins and bolts are also responsible for a stuck brake caliper. The pins guide the angle at which the brake pads meet the disc. On the other hand, the bolts hold the bracket in place to the steering knuckle. Over time, these components can become corroded due to constant use, chemical exposure, and lack of lubrication.
You’ll be stuck with a frozen caliper when these components don’t work. You will also detect difficulty when stopping your car. Another obvious sign is that your car makes loud noises when you start your engine.
– Dirty or Clogged Caliper Piston
If you’re wondering why you have a sticking brake caliper, you should check the brake caliper pistons. The piston makes it easy for the brake pad to connect with the brake rotor so your car can stop moving. When the rubber boot in the piston is clogged with grime, grease, or dirt, the brake caliper will get stuck.
Another symptom of a bad piston is that your car pulls strongly to one side when you step on the brake pedal. You may also notice that your vehicle makes unusual noises like high-pitched squealing or clunking. Another obvious sign of a bad piston is fluid leaks.
– Wrongly Installed Brake Caliper
You may have a sticking brake caliper because it was wrongly installed. While you can install calipers on either side of the mounts, it’s also possible that you or the mechanic installed it incorrectly. This could happen if it was a DIY installation and you followed the steps incorrectly.
It could also be that a mechanic carried out the installation without the necessary technical expertise. Either way, your calipers will get stuck even though they were recently replaced.
– Broken Caliper Brake Hose
Check your brake hose if you are unsure why you have a sticking caliper. If your hose breaks or wears out, it can cause a frozen caliper. A brake hose can break or crack due to constant use or forceful impact. In this case, it’ll cause excess brake fluid to flow to your piston.
When you first step on the brake pedal, it becomes impossible for the fluid to flow back to the master cylinder. The result is a seized brake caliper, which can be very annoying, especially if it was newly installed. The first sign of a damaged hose is visible wear signs on its exterior.
You will also notice that your pedal becomes too free, almost mushy. A burning smell is present in the brake area and the car’s cabin. Overall, you’ll have braking issues and notice your car slows down too often.
– Faulty Brake Caliper Slides
Your slides can get faulty when clogged with dirt or debris. Corrosion and wear can also cause them to malfunction. The brake slide makes it easy for the caliper to move freely. When the caliper slide is faulty, it becomes impossible for the brake pad to slide out easily.
You may also notice that your vehicle makes abnormal or dragging sounds.
– Worn Brake Pads
Like every other car component, the brake pad and rotors can wear out from constant use. When your pads are worn, you won’t be able to create the right amount of friction to connect with the rotor. Over time, your calipers will become stuck because the rotors are not engaged.
A seized caliper, in turn, mounts more pressure on other brake components, causing excess heat. You may also notice a reduced fuel economy because your engine works harder to compensate for the bad brakes.
Solutions for New Brake Caliper Sticking
Solutions for a new brake caliper that sticks include properly lubricating all brake components and cleaning the pistons. You may also need to replace the broken brake hose and fix the worn brake pads as soon as possible. Most importantly, ensure a professional mechanic does the repairs.
Driving with a defective brake caliper is impossible because they’re an essential part of the vehicle. Without calipers, you won’t be able to stop your car from moving since they make up the braking system. If you have a damaged caliper, it’s best to fix it before attempting to drive, especially if you want to go on long trips.
– Lubricate Brake Caliper Bolts and Guide Pins
The major problem of most brake systems is the lack of lubrication. You should apply enough brake fluid to the bolts, pins, and mounting brackets. The fluid will aid smooth rotation and operation of the brake components. Also, you’ll need to inspect the bolts to be sure they do not appear loose or damaged.
You should tighten them with a wrench or screw if they are loose. On the other hand, you’ll need to replace the pins and bolts if they show visible signs of damage. You can tell by observing if they look crooked or charred.
– Clean or Replace Clogged Pistons
Another way to eliminate the problem of sticking brake calipers is to clean your pistons regularly. Cleaning the piston is easy; however, you must get a good spray degreaser to clean it thoroughly. We recommend you spray WD on congested areas of the piston. WD is a well-known cleaning solution for grime and grease from the car interior.
Locate the piston, which is always on the inner sides of the brake rotors. Once you locate the piston, spray a reasonable amount of WD on the area you want to clean. After that, use a soft rag to clean as gently as possible. However, you can always take your car to the service center if you cannot carry out this cleaning process properly.
– Replace the Broken Hose
If you’re certain the brake bolts and pistons work perfectly, you may need to focus on fixing the broken hose. To do this, you first need to jack your vehicle up and take out the wheel. It’s important to place a drain pan under the wheel area to catch leaking fluid. You’ll find the hose connected to a junction box; use a screw to loosen the nut that holds the hose in place.
You may also need to remove the retaining clips; a plier will suffice. You may need to plug the hole at the junction box since you have disconnected the hose. You need to remove the hose completely and install the new one.
Attach one end of the new hose to the brake caliper and the other to the junction box that was initially plugged. Afterward, replace the retaining clips, screw the nut back, and replace your wheel.
– Keep Caliper Slides Lubricated
It would help to keep your slides lubricated to avoid clogging or debris buildup. Ensure your slide pins are lubricated, and avoid driving too roughly over bumps if you can. If your slides appear worn or damaged, it is also important to make the necessary repairs.
Once your slides work properly, you don’t need to worry about having a sticky caliper. Although lubricating brake slides is easy, you should leave it to a professional if you are unsure how to proceed.
– Replace Worn Brake Pads
It would be best to replace brake pads once they show consistent signs of wear or malfunction. To do this replacement, you must jack up your car, then take out the caliper and lug bolts. You’ll find the pads on both sides of the brake rotors. Before installing the new pads, check that the remaining clips aren’t damaged.
If they are, make sure to replace them with new ones before the installation process. We recommend applying brake grease to the metal parts of the pad, usually found at the back. Install the new pads, ensuring they’re in the same position as the old ones.
A new pad will solve the problem of having a caliper that gets stuck. You’ll also find it easy to engage the parking brake, making your car easier to stop.
– Always Consult With a Certified Mechanic
Finally, you should ensure a certified mechanic carries out every repair. If you ever need to install a new caliper assembly, it’s best to reach out to a professional for the installation. The right tools may not be enough to perform a proper installation by yourself.
If you don’t have a proven record of fixing calipers, leave this task to a certified mechanic. That way, you can be sure that all repairs will be done correctly and accurately.
Frequently Asked Questions
– Can a Master Cylinder Cause a Stuck Brake Caliper?
Yes, a master cylinder can cause a stuck brake caliper. The cylinder houses the fluid that flows in when you engage your pedals. If this compartment or reservoir is overfilled, the caliper won’t be able to move freely because it’s under pressure.
Take note that calipers are highly durable and can last up to 100,000 miles. If maintained regularly, a caliper can last for as long as the vehicle works. Although you may need to change some of its components due to wear, a caliper can last for as long as 15 to 20 years.
– How Can You Properly Clean A Brake Piston?
You can properly clean a brake piston using a degreaser and soft cloth on all clogged or dirty areas. However, you first need to use a rag or wire brush to clean the visible dirt surrounding the piston area. Once the piston is thoroughly cleaned, rinse out the degreaser.
– Do All Vehicles Have a Brake Caliper?
No, not all vehicles have brake calipers. Calipers are only present on wheels found in modern cars. Calipers need hydraulic friction to work, so you’ll find them mostly in new cars. Older cars have a different braking system without calipers.
What about electric cars? Yes, there are brake calipers on electric cars. All electric cars include important braking system components to engage the brake rotor so that it can stop easily.
Faulty brake components and lack of lubrication are the main reasons your calipers are stuck. Below is a summary of the key points we discussed in this article:
- The “new brake caliper sticking easy solution” is extremely handy for any car owner dealing with a stuck caliper.
Some of the most prominent reasons why your calipers are stuck include corroded bolts, clogged pistons, and a broken hose.
- Lack of lubrication also affects the performance of these components.
- Quick fixes for a caliper that sticks include proper lubrication and replacing worn or damaged braking components. It is also best to leave installation and repairs to a certified mechanic.
You don’t have to fret if you’re struggling with a caliper that sticks. This article highlights all the possible culprits and quick fixes to help you troubleshoot the problem.
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