What are Brake Calipers?

2 min read
How do they help your car to slow down?

In the event you need to suddenly stop your car, your car’s brakes could be the difference between an incident and an accident. In modern cars, disc brakes rather than drum brakes are becoming more common as the default brake system that is employed.

One of the brake system’s important components is the brake caliper. The caliper houses your car’s brake pads and pistons. When you step on the brake pedal, the pistons push the brake pads onto the brake rotor, and the resulting friction slows the wheels down.

Brake calipers are generally tough and durable, built to last more than a few years. However, Singapore’s humid climate may accelerate corrosion. Other factors that affect their shelf life are your driving habits as well as the road conditions your car faces on your daily commute.

 

When you experience your car braking unevenly — meaning your car seems to pull to one side (the good side) more than the other — it could mean the caliper on the other side (the bad side) is not working properly.

When you notice an unusual buildup of surface rust on the rotor, this could mean uneven wear on the brake pad. Brake pads usually make contact with the rotor, scrubbing off any rust in the process. Rust builds up when the pads are worn and no longer in contact with the rotor.

If you hear unusual noises coming from the brakes when the brakes are not applied, you may have a caliper that is stuck, and you may experience some pulling. A brake caliper suffering from fluid leakage may affect braking pressure; if it is not attended to, your brakes may completely lose its ability to work. Other things to look for are when your antilock braking system (ABS) warning light comes on or when your brake pedals feel soft and spongy or hard.

When it is time to replace your brake calipers, it is highly recommended that you do so in pairs of front or rear sets of calipers, even if the calipers on one side are still working fine. This will ensure that they perform equally and predictably together, working in unison to make your drive a safe one.

When you send your car for servicing, look out for the above symptoms, which could signal problems with the brake calipers, along with the pads and rotors, and seek the advice of your mechanic if you are unsure. It is also advisable for car owners to do periodic maintenance on their brake fluid as well.