A car driver must be pro-efficient and vigilant in case he faces any difficulty. One must always be on the look for a problem which could be consequential.
One of the problems that are experienced in cars is the brake calliper slipping, especially when hot. It signifies breaks not releasing properly after applying or vehicle pulling unequally on both sides.
A sticking brake calliper could be very dangerous as you cannot decrease the speed of your car without the breaks. It must be dealt with right away. In this article, we’ll work out some common symptoms, prevention and other stuff about sticking calliper.
- Causes of a Sticky brake calliper
- Required Maintenance to avoid the issue
- Symptoms of a sticking brake calliper
- Brake Caliper Rebuild or replace?
- Final Thoughts
Causes of a Sticky brake calliper
First thing’s first. You should know about the causes of brake calliper sticking as “prevention is better than cure”.
If you know the causes, you can avoid them and stop the problem from occurring in the first place.
Calliper is sticking with piston or brake hose.
A mainstream reason for the problem is encountered when the brake calliper sticks with brake piston or the brake hose.
The piston has a rubber boot inside it which is lubricated to avoid friction. If the rubber is torn, dust and debris will accumulate in the calliper diminishing piston’s sliding ability.
Their rubber boot could be torn due to age or because of non-careful handling. A careless mechanic installing brake pads could tear them.
The calibre piston rebuild kits are available, but without them, you will have to replace the whole assembly.
When the brake hose tears after a certain time, the brake fluid is allowed to flow in the piston. The worst-case scenario being fluid not flowing back to the master cylinder, causing the calliper to stick.
You need to lift the vehicle up using a lever. Step on the brakes, let off and try turning the wheels. The wheel not turning is the problem.
Open the bleeder valve and check if the fluid shoots out. If it does, it could be an indication of a bad brake hose.
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Sliding Brake Caliper
This is another common cause. The brake pad is pushed against the grooves in the calliper when the brakes are applied. It slides out of the grooves when you release the brakes.
But there can be a scenario while there is dust or rust in the grooves making it difficult for the pad to slide back, causing the pads feeling sticky when you apply the brakes.
If this is the problem, you can simply resolve it by just cleaning or replacing the shims, and if the metal groove is worn, the whole assembly is needed to be replaced.
Sticky Caliper Bolts
The bolts also slide against the rotor when the brakes are applied. These bolts can be sticky if not continually lubricated and too dry.
The bolts have a protective rubber layer to trap the lubricant which can be easily torn off. This also occurs while installing new brake pads.
Once the bolt is dried up, it will catch debris and rust, making it more to slide when the brakes are applied.
You need to clean the existing bolts or just replace them. Sometimes, the bolts can even break off due to being over tightened.
Required Maintenance to avoid the issue
The best way to avoid the sticking calliper is to take care of your brakes. Replace brake pads timely and fill the fluid regularly- you’ll not have to deal with any serious issue.
Also, keep the brake assembly always in good shape. Check for tor rubber in any of the parts. Check the amount of lubrication in pads, piston, grooves and hose.
Most callipers last as long as the vehicles and the problem occur quite seldom, which is hard to diagnose too. You should seek professional help in case of this issue.
Symptoms of a sticking brake calliper
Before going any further, you need to be aware of all the possible symptoms for a sticking brake calliper so that you can be equal to the problem when it is upon you.
Here is a list of some important symptoms that mean you might be having a sticky brake calliper:
Vehicle Pulling unequally on both sides
One of the very common indications for a sticking calliper is vehicle pulling more on one of the sides of your vehicle.
When calliper side pins are seized, the car will drive normally, but the pads will only push the disc from the piston side, meaning less effect on one wheel.
You will experience your vehicle moving towards one side while driving with or without applying breaks. This could be very dangerous.
Bad alignment is also a reason for this problem. Nevertheless, you should get your vehicle checked by a professional mechanic.
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Car losing Pace
In the condition of a sticky brake pad, there is often pushing of brake pad against the brake rotors which produces unneeded friction.
This creates an effect of brakes being partially functional even when you are not applying them, causing your vehicle to slow down and brakes being hot.
In addition to this, you can also hear high pitched grinding sound once a certain amount of material is used up due to wearing.
You should have your brakes checked at once if you notice any of these symptoms. If callipers are the issue, have them changed.
You will also observe lower gas mileage than usual due to brake callipers sticking. Due to the unintentional brake application, the engine has to work harder to keep going forward.
This results in more fuel energy being used up than normal rendering to decreased fuel economy.
Though bad mileage could be due to numerous reasons, so, don’t jump to any conclusions before having your car inspected.
The constant pushing of the brake pad against the rotor will produce friction. A lot of this energy will be converted into easy heat energy.
This heat will increase with the number of times you apply the brakes. Ultimately, the whole wheel will be at a higher temperature which you can feel when close to it.
You can also smell the rubber due to overheated tires. If this happens, you NEED to stop as there can be enough heat to start a fire.
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Brake Caliper Rebuild or replace?
It comes down to this decision often when you have a problem of brake sticking. You can always unstick the brake.
Unsticking can be easily done using a simple tool, a C-clamp in most of the cases. You need to apply some force and retract the pad. If it is completely seized, hydraulic presses of the brake is also an option.
Remove the calliper from the disc and pump the brake pedal to move the piston past the area which is corroded.
In this condition, there is a high likelihood of the calliper getting stuck again. It is because the rust is still there and will regrow after some time enough to stick them.
Replacing is also an option but will cost you more money and effort. Another option is reconditioning or rebuilding the parts.
As long as the corrosion is not too severe- mostly in cases when you have not used vehicle for a long time and kept in damp places- you can rebuild the parts.
You may need a brake hone which is efficient in cleaning the internal bore of the calliper. If the condition is too bad, you can replace it with a good quality calliper.
It is a simple procedure and can be done at home if you are a veteran. You just need to do some disassembling and cleaning. After that, you can replace the rubber parts and the piston too if needed.
The easiest and efficient method will always be to have a new calliper, that is if your budget allows you to do so. It guarantees the complete solution!
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Possible results accumulated
Different problems can arise due to a seized calliper. In extreme cases, the brake will be stuck, and the vehicle will not move. But there is the worst issue that can occur, which has more adverse consequences.
If there is friction due to sticking, the tire will become hot to such extent that you will feel burning smell and smoke coming out of the wheel. This could start a fire and also damage the calliper.
We hope that we have equipped you with all the necessary information regarding the issue under discussion.
The option of care will always be better than dealing with the problem, but it is difficult for many people to be on the constant lookout. It requires the utmost resilience and vigilance, which is not possessed by everybody.
In the case of these problems, you should always consider professional help as the issue is not easily diagnosed. You’d rather spend some money than messing it up even more.
After a detailed reading of the causes, symptoms and prevention of the problem, you’ll be less surprised and more prepared for any scenario like this. I wish you the best of luck!