You are currently viewing Signs Your Brake Caliper Needs Repair or Replacement

Signs Your Brake Caliper Needs Repair or Replacement


  • Pulling to One Side When Driving or Braking
  • Uneven Brake Pad Wear
  • High-Pitched Squealing Sounds
  • Clunking Noise
  • Brake Fluid Leak
  • Spongy or Soft Brake Pedal
  • Reduced Stopping Power
  • Reasons Behind a Stuck Brake Caliper
  • Caliper Piston
  • Caliper Slides
  • Caliper Bolts
  • Brake Hose
  • How Much Does a Brake Caliper Replacement Cost?
  • Conclusion

Summary:  Does your brake pedal feel spongy or soft? Does your vehicle pull to one side while driving? If you experience any of these issues, chances are your brake caliper is worn out or damaged. While brake pads should undergo periodic replacement, calipers are designed to last the life of your car. However, this isn’t always the case. Calipers can fail sooner or later and take a toll on your vehicle’s performance. Therefore, you must be familiar with the signs of a bad brake caliper to know when to take your car to your trusted mechanic.

Pulling to One Side When Driving or Braking

If you notice your car steering or pulling to one side while driving, it can be due to a brake caliper malfunction. This part of the brake has pistons that move in and out because of hydraulic pressure from the master cylinder. Once these pistons freeze up due to rust or debris build-up, the brake pads will fail to meet with the rotor or discharge it. If this happens, your car will steer toward the side where the broken caliper is. This can take place during regular operation or when engaging the brakes.

Uneven Brake Pad Wear

When the right pad is thinner than the left side and vice versa, the brake caliper may be the culprit. If this is the case, Google ‘brake repair shop near me’ to find a qualified mechanic who will inspect the issue and advise you on which components need repair and replacement.

High-Pitched Squealing Sounds

Another sign of a frozen or sticking brake caliper is an annoying sound from the broken component. If it is because of the brake calipers and not the pads, this noise will occur during driving. Brake pad issues, however, will cause an irritating sound when you step on the brake. Bring your car to the nearest car repair shop as soon as possible because a stuck or frozen caliper can cause the brakes to lock up.

Clunking Noise

This is a less common sign; however, it is possible that the bracket which holds the caliper in place needs to be fixed. If the bracket is damaged, it can cause loud clunking while driving. In this case, don’t drive the car or pull over. Given that the brakes could lock up, you can get involved in an accident. The best thing to do is take your vehicle to a reliable brake repair shop.

Brake Fluid Leak

The latest brake system utilizes hydraulic pressure to work. Once the caliper drips, you may notice an oily stain on the ground inside the tire. But this might be due to a damaged caliper. To determine the main culprit, consult a technician to diagnose and fix the issue.

Spongy or Soft Brake Pedal

A jammed caliper can lead to a soft or spongy pedal. This condition could be due to dripping brake fluid, the air in the lines, or overheated pads. Moreover, a detained caliper can make more clearance between the pad and the rotor, which can cause an odd pedal feeling.

Reduced Stopping Power

You will notice reduced stopping power if any component of your braking system is faulty, including the brake caliper. In this case, the chance of getting into a road accident increases. So, it is vital to repair brake problems right away.

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Reasons Behind a Stuck Brake Caliper

The signs mentioned above indicate a faulty or stuck brake caliper. But what causes a brake caliper to stick given those scenarios? Check them out below.

Caliper Piston

The caliper piston might be the problem. This component comes with a rubber boot around it, which is intended to secure and lubricate it. Once this rubber tears, rust, and debris eventually build up inside the piston. This can lead to a stuck brake caliper. So, have professionals check your car as soon as possible.

Caliper Slides

This part of the brake system has grooves that grasp the brake pads. These pads glide in if you step on the brake pedal and slide out once you release the brake. When the brake pads stick in the grooves, you may have trouble stopping. This happens because of debris. If cleaning out the grooves does not fix the issue, the grooves will likely corrode. In this case, complete brake caliper replacement is required.

Caliper Bolts

This part of the brake system comes with slides that have rubber boots to keep them lubricated. But, sometimes, these rubber boots wear down, which causes them to dry out. Once this occurs, the brakes might stick. You can take your car to the nearest car repair shop to check the brake assembly and determine whether you need reconditioning or complete replacement.

Brake Hose

The brake hose corrodes in due course. Once this happens, brake fluid will likely flow one way, which causes the brake pads to slow your car. But, if you don’t apply the brakes, the fluid can’t stream the opposite way, leading to the caliper sticking. This issue is hard to determine, but skilled car technicians will be able to isolate the issue with the brake caliper.

How Much Does a Brake Caliper Replacement Cost?

On average, replacing a brake caliper can cost between $500 and $800. Labor is anywhere from $135 to $200, while the caliper’s price is between $300 and $665. If you want to save money, you also have the option to rebuild your caliper using a special kit.

However, using this special kit is complicated. You will need to replace the pistons, seals, pin sleeves, and guide pines. There is also a risk of making mistakes; thus, needing replacement sooner or later.


The brake calipers are made to last more than 100,000 miles, which means they don’t require periodic replacement. However, when they start to show signs of wear and tear, you need to have them fixed or replaced right away.

With a proven track record in car repair and maintenance, Dependable Car Care is one of the leading workshops that you can count on. Apart from brake repair, their ASE-certified mechanics also specialize in other services such as hybrid battery repair, check engine light repair, and more!

Call us today to book an appointment!