How To Tell If You Have A Seized Brake Caliper

How to tell if you have a seized brake caliper

Brake calipers are a vital part of your car’s braking system, unfortunately a seized brake caliper is a common fault. The pistons inside the brake caliper can seize and reduce the car’s braking power over time, if the brake calipers are not maintained properly. It’s important that the calipers are kept in good shape. The brake caliper after all transfers the pressure you put on your brake pedal when you brake into stopping power.

How Do You End Up With A Seized Brake Caliper?

The calipers can seize due to a number of issues. Remember, it is exposed to the elements and has to cope with constant heating and cooling as you drive the car and brake. That takes its toll, specifically on the caliper’s piston boot which will crack or harden if it deteriorates too much. If this is not addressed moisture will be able to get to the caliper’s pistons which can start to corrode and eventually seize.

Often the calipers seize if the car is not used regularly. It’s easy for corrosion to progress in such a situation as any corrosion that develops is not cleared regularly by braking the car.

How Do I Know If The Brake Caliper Needs Replacing?

In most cases a seized brake caliper manifests itself as reduced braking power. Usually when a brake caliper seizes, the brake pad on the side of the caliper piston will wear excessively. Eventually the brake pad will wear down so much that it can affect the brake disc which will get damaged.

When you have a seized brake caliper, the discs and pads on the other side of the car will have to take over a lot of the braking to stop your car. You might feel that the car’s brake balance is off, and that the car pulls to one side when you brake hard. Which might lead to dangerous situations on the road. Also, if one side of the brakes has to do all the work they might overheat and eventually fail.

If you think you might have a seized brake caliper, make sure you get it repaired as soon as possible by a mechanic. Not only because of the danger, but also because a seized brake caliper can cause lots of wear to brake parts that otherwise would not have had to be replaced. Simply put, to stay safe and potentially save money in the long run, make sure to get the calipers sorted. If you’re not sure if your caliper needs replacing then make sure to get help from a professional mechanic. For example by getting a diagnostic inspection.

About Kurt Schleier

Resident classic car enthusiast and blogger at Clickmechanic.

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