Your brake pads and your brake rotors get a lot of the credit for helping to slow your car down when you step on your brake pedal. But guess what? They would be nothing if not for your brake calipers! They’re every bit as important as your brake pads and brake rotors. It’s why you should be concerned if you find that you have a bad brake caliper in your car.
The good news for you is that brake calipers don’t break down on vehicle owners all that often. They don’t need to be replaced as often as brake pads and brake rotors do. But even still, you should be mindful of how important your brake calipers are and address any problems that you might have with them as soon as possible.
Learn more about brake calipers below and then find out what it’s going to cost you in order to replace one that has gone bad on you.
What Is a Brake Caliper? How Does It Work?
As we alluded to a moment ago, your brake pads and brake rotors do some of the heavy lifting when you step on your brake pedal to slow your car down. But that doesn’t mean that your brake calipers aren’t working hard, too. They’re the parts of your brake system that are responsible for squeezing your brake pads and helping them come into contact with your brake rotors.
Each brake caliper in your car uses the hydraulic pressure that is produced by your brake master cylinder in order to clamp your brake pads against your brake rotors. Your brake pads sit on the inside of your brake calipers, and when you step on your brake pedal, your calipers utilize the pressure to inch your brake pads closer to your brake rotors. It’s what ultimately allows you to slow your car down and eventually bring it to a stop.
How Long Should a Brake Caliper Last?
If you get lucky, you might not ever have to be concerned about replacing your old brake calipers with new ones. A brake caliper is often designed to last for as long as a car does. But there are, of course, some brake calipers that are going to fail, and when they do, they tend to do it sometime after the 125,000-mile mark.
You might be able to extend the life of each brake caliper in your car by being gentle with your brakes whenever possible. You also might be able to extend their life by having your brake system serviced on a regular basis. Doing these things can ensure that your brake calipers won’t give out on you sooner than they should.
What Happens When a Brake Caliper Goes Bad?
While brake calipers are built to last for a long time and shouldn’t give out on you for as long as you own your car, there are some things that can go wrong with them. There are actually two main problems that vehicle owners often encounter when it comes to their brake calipers. Continue reading to find out more about each of them.
One of the problems that you might face at some point with regards to your brake calipers is that one of them might start sticking. And if you have a brake caliper sticking, it’s going to be pretty easy to tell.
When a brake caliper is sticking, it will refuse to stop clamping down on the brake pads that it’s in charge of controlling. As a result, the brake pads will remain engaged with the brake rotors in your car even when you’re not pushing down on your brake pedal. This will sometimes lead to a car pulling to one side or the other.
There is no quick and easy way to get a bad brake caliper to release brake pads. More often than not, you’re going to need to replace a brake caliper altogether when it gets stuck. Otherwise, you’re going to be left with a car that’s difficult to maneuver on your hands.
Does it feel like your brake pedal has become entirely too easy to push when you step down on it? This could be another indication that you have a bad brake caliper. But in this case, your brake won’t be sticking; it’ll most likely be leaking!
When a brake caliper is leaking, you might be able to push your brake pedal all the way down to the floor without anything happening. You’re not going to be able to slow your car down as effectively as usual because of your brake caliper leak. You’ll have no choice but to replace your brake caliper to get your brake system working like normal again.
What Are the Signs of a Bad Brake Caliper?
If you ever have a brake caliper in your car that is either sticking or leaking, you’re not going to want to ignore it for too long. A bad brake caliper can be a big problem for both you and your car. You’re going to want to look for the signs of a bad brake caliper and do something about it right away. Take a look at several of the signs of a bad caliper below.
1. Your Car Begins to Pull to One Side
When your car starts pulling to one side of the road gradually over time, it usually means that you have something wrong with your alignment. You’ll have to get your car’s alignment fixed in these cases to get your car to drive down the road straight again.
When your car starts pulling to one side of the road suddenly, though, that’s often a sign that you have a bad brake caliper. A brake caliper that is sticking, in particular, is going to result in your car pulling to one side or the other. This happens when a brake caliper clamps down on brake pads and won’t let go of them.
You could make it very challenging to keep control of your car when you have a bad brake caliper that is causing these kinds of complications. You’re going to want to reach out to a brake specialist to have them replace your brake caliper as soon as you can.
2. Your Brakes Make Loud, Squealing Sounds
Any time your brakes start to make a lot of noise on you, it’s usually an indication that some aspect of them needs to be replaced. Your brake pads or your brake rotors could very well be giving your car fits and producing loud sounds that you don’t want to hear.
But you should worry about your brake calipers causing issues if the sounds that you hear are loud, squealing sounds that just won’t go away. These are the types of sounds that are most often associated with bad brake calipers.
You can try to turn up the radio to block out all the noise if you want! But that’s probably only going to result in more problems with your brake calipers and your brakes as a whole down the line. Your best bet is going to be having your bad brake calipers replaced ASAP.
3. Your Brake Pads Wear Down Unevenly
The brake pads in your car should last you for approximately 50,000 miles in most cases before they’ll need to be replaced. And when you take them off to replace them, you should notice that they’ve worn down evenly over time.
If you ever look at your brake pads and notice that they’re not wearing down evenly, that is when you should be concerned. When your brake pads are wearing down unevenly, it’s usually a sign that there is something wrong with either your brake rotors or your brake calipers (or in some cases, both!). You’ll need to get this problem fixed to stop your next set of brake pads from wearing down unevenly.
Can You Drive With a Bad Brake Caliper?
If you believe that your car might have a bad brake caliper, you shouldn’t drive it under any circumstances. Even if the issue with your brake caliper only seems minor at first, it could still have a huge impact on your ability to slow your car down when you’re driving it.
There may be instances in which you’re driving your car and you struggle to stop it because your brake calipers are stuck or because they’re leaking. The last thing that you want to do is put yourself or others in danger because of a bad brake caliper. Replacing it is your only good option.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Bad Brake Caliper?
It’s a good thing that people don’t have to worry about replacing their brake calipers all that often. Reason being, it’s not an especially cost-effective auto repair job. If you find that you need to have a new brake caliper installed in your car, it’s usually going to cost you a pretty penny.
So, how much are we talking about? Well, the average cost to replace a brake caliper runs anywhere from $525 to $760. That includes about $400 to $600 worth of parts and about $135 to $170 worth of labor. There are also some additional taxes and fees that will be tacked on, and of course, there is always a chance that you may want to replace other parts in your brake system when you’re having new calipers put into place.
Can You Replace a Bad Brake Caliper Yourself?
Since replacing a bad brake caliper costs so much money, you might be tempted to try and do it yourself. How hard could it be to remove an existing brake caliper from your car and replace it with a new one?
As it turns out, it can be pretty difficult to do. Those without any experience when it comes to working on a car’s brake system should not attempt to pull off brake caliper replacement on their own. Here are the steps that need to be taken when replacing a bad brake caliper:
- Take the tire off of a car
- Remove the brake caliper mounting bolts
- Lift the brake flex line out of the way
- Take the old brake caliper off the brake pads
- Put the new brake caliper in place of the old one
- Put the brake caliper mounting bolts back on
- Bleed the brake system
- Reinstall the tire back on a car
This might not seem like it would be all that challenging to do. But if you make one little mistake while taking on a brake caliper replacement job, you could put your entire brake system in jeopardy. You could end up getting into an accident when your brakes don’t respond in the way that you need them to.
Is Selling a Car With a Bad Brake Caliper Possible?
If you have a bad brake caliper or, worse, several bad brake calipers in an older car, the idea of paying to have them all replaced might send shivers up your spine. It can cost way more than a car is worth to do brake caliper replacement.
When this is the case, you might want to think long and hard about selling your car rather than fixing it up. Cash Cars Buyer will be there for you to pay you cash for your car in spite of your bad brake caliper. We pay top dollar for cars that have all kinds of problems, including those with braking issues.
To sell a car to Cash Cars Buyer, all you must do is follow these simple steps:
- Send us some basic information about your car, including the make and model of it, the year it was made, and the mileage on it
- Receive and accept an offer for your car from us
- Arrange for us to come to your home or business to pick up your car and drop off your cash
You won’t have to worry about dealing with a bad brake caliper anymore after working your way through this process. It’s the easiest way to sell an old car that you don’t want. Contact us today for more information on selling your car to us.