If you give it a search, you wouldn’t find a single person who doesn’t want to have shiny, effortless car wheels, simultaneously a smooth ride on the car. But to have all these advantages one has to take great care of his car’s wheels.
Because each of your vehicles has a caliper and rotor in it. And without an operating brake caliper, a brake caliper will not move.
Among all the possibilities of a brake caliper being damaged, sticking brake caliper is one of the rare issues but that happens and one must not overlook it.
A vehicle’s brakes are a very important system in a car and it plays a vital role in maintaining a balanced drive that includes the safety of a driver, passengers, or anybody else out on the road.
When you need to slow your car down, you simply just push on the brake pedal and the brake pads and calipers cause friction with the rotors. And that’s how it stops the running car. Now if it doesn’t work properly in time, then I assume the result won’t be any good.
As the topic is about brake calipers, I must tell you that you might find your brake caliper’s stuck sometimes. Thus, it can’t work properly.
If it’s happening with your vehicle too, then it is a must to notice the symptoms and watch out for their probable causes so that you can drive it to your nearest mechanic to fix these damages or you can do it by yourself.
- Symptoms of Sticking Brake Caliper
- Causes of Sticking Brake Caliper
- How to Fix Sticky Brake Calipers
Symptoms of Sticking Brake Caliper
Now If we are talking about the symptoms of a sticking brake caliper, there are few common symptoms of it that I should mention.
Vehicle Drags to One Side:
Your car will cause the tendency to drag towards the side that has the stuck caliper if the brake calipers are seized. This not only will happen when you are braking but also when you are driving.
And that’s dangerous. Because if your vehicle does not stay straight in line when you drive, that won’t cause any good for sure. This is one of the signs when you know that you need to see a mechanic examine your brake calipers right now.
Brake Pedal Stays Down:
A symptom that you can observe by the action of the brake pedal is that if the brake pedal remains down at the same place when you’ve lifted off your foot. It is one of the signs of sticking brake caliper.
Generally, the brake pedal comes back up immediately after you’ve pressed it down. But in this case, it will take few seconds which happens when your brake calipers are sticking.
Brake Fluid Leakage:
This will be the easiest symptom for you to look out when you have brake fluid leaking from your vehicle. To find it out all you have to do is to examine under and around your vehicle’s wheels and notice any trace of fluid leaking out from your vehicle when you try to slow it down. This happens when the brake caliper causes a leak when it’s stuck.
Tough to Stop the Vehicle:
Brake caliper needs a suitable amount of brake fluid pressure to make the vehicle slow down. When you observe that brake fluid is dripping from your vehicle, then it won’t be easy to stop the car. And thus, the brake caliper will be more stuck.
High Pitched Sounds:
When you apply pressure to the brake pedal, you will notice your brake is making high pitched sounds. This could mean the calipers are sticking along with other problems.
Overflow of Heat from the Wheels:
When you drive you may also smell the brakes overheating which is kind of a distinctive acrid smell and may even notice smoke coming out off them.
It’s because a still brake caliper will put on continuous pressure to backward of the braking pad and that will apply continuous friction to the rotor and the heat will ultimately result in friction.
This is dangerous because the longer you will take time to drive with a sticky caliper, the hotter it will be at that portion. And after you stop driving, go for seeing the sights, you will observe extreme heat coming out of a particular wheel when you put your hand closer to it. This happens when you drive with a stuck brake caliper.
Causes of Sticking Brake Caliper
Having a sticky brake caliper is not so common, but when it is, it must have some handful of reasons which could be accountable for it. And here are some causes of having sticky brake calipers.
Brake Caliper Slips:
The caliper includes grooves where brake pads lapse into when you fix your foot on it. And when you lift your foot off the brake pedal, the brake pedal slips out of the grooves.
But if there are still any rust, the pads will end up getting stuck in those grooves. That will make those brake pedal not able to slide properly and make the caliper sticky.
Another reason for a still brake caliper is about the caliper’s bolts. As the bolts are built to slide, so they can become seized if they are not lubricated periodically. Each bolt has a rubber boot that maintains its lubrication. If the rubber is torn somehow, this could cause sticky brake calipers with the lack of less lubricant.
Brake hoses just wear out over a period of time and that breaks separately inside. It causes brake fluid to flow onto the pistons and slow down the vehicle. By this, the fluid can’t flow to the main cylinder afterward you lift your foot from the brake pedal. And that results in brake caliper gumminess.
The familiar cause for a seizing brake caliper is with the caliper piston. This piston has rubber boot on it that greases and guards it. If this rubber is destroyed anyhow, it will produce rust and debris to make in the calipers and that means the pistons sliding ability will decrease. This rubber boot can also get torn by mechanics when they install fresh brake pads.
Also, for this reason, new brake calipers get sticky too. If the rubber boot gets worn out by any chance by the mechanics, it won’t work properly and it will cause brake caliper stickiness.
If you don’t reinstate your brake soon, they are going to be damaged. And your calipers will not be able to generate necessary frictions next to the rotor. This causes brake caliper stickiness too.
There will always be a solution if there is any problem. And we too got solutions to get rid of the sticky brake caliper.
How to Fix Sticky Brake Calipers
Solutions vary from the causes of the sticky brake caliper. Some causes are mentioned below.
- If the issue emerges for the cause of the parking brake cable/mechanism, a twisted pad, or the pads sticking to the disc, then you are not in great trouble. This means your system needs some great maintenance. Lubricating the brake should fix the issue, removing brake pads and applying a short amount of grease to the verge should repair the twisted pads/slides. Try to look out for more problems, elements including pistons and seals to make sure they are not caught up on the piston bore. Nonetheless, once stuck brake pads have been freed from a disc, then the solution is reappearing the disc and replacing the pads.
- And if the issue comes up because of the sticky caliper piston or slide pins, then a specific tool is available to retract the pad. Usually, a plain c-clamp will make the work done. But there is another way to solve it. To detach the caliper piston that has become seized, you can use the hydraulic pressure of your brake system. Just detach the caliper from the disc and blow up the brake pedal to shift the piston. And after this, it will get easier to disengage and remake. On the other hand, you can also go to the nearest auto repairing store of yours to fix this.
- These caliper pistons will definitely be seized with time again. The rust that made the part stick will be there still. And this will take time to stick again. The essential point is to check those from time to time. Replacing a bad caliper is always an option, but often it can be rebuilt to lower the cost. If it’s not damaged too badly, then rebuilt can be the way.
- Rebuilding can be done at home that involves disassembly and cleaning, replacing the rubber parts and sometimes the pistons itself. You may need a brake hone to dirt-free the caliper’s internal bore and some latest seals. But if you can’t do this on your own, then you can take it to the nearest mechanic. And if your wallet allows, the simplest and the wisest decision is a new caliper, considering the budget.
Now if the question arrives that is driving with a stuck brake caliper safe or not. I guess the answer should be NO. Driving with a stuck brake caliper will not be safe because the ride won’t be smooth and the heat can cause danger too. Moreover, the brakes won’t work properly on time and that can cause an accident sometimes. So, it will be wise not to drive the car until the brake calipers are repaired.
Although the braking system is the most vital part of our day-to-day life, it gets less importance. The issues can easily be prevented by checking braking pads, brake calipers frequently if there is any rust or not. Also, lubricating the system. And if the car hasn’t moved for a while, it would be great to spray some clean boost spray on the caliper pistons and slide pins.
It will help to penetrate the rust and lubricate the components and increase the chance for your brake to run swiftly. As prevention is always better than cure, so you should take a frequent look on your brake caliper to avoid a sticky brake caliper and have a smooth, safe ride.