7 Symptoms of a Bad Brake Caliper in Your Car

Vehicles with disc braking systems will have brake calipers in them. A brake caliper plays a vital role in slowing down your vehicle because it contains both the brake pistons and brake pads. Each time you step on the brake pedal, the brake master cylinder produces hydraulic pressure which causes the pistons to extend. This, in turn, causes the brake pads to rub up against the brake rotors of the spinning wheels. As the rubbing creates friction, the rotation of the wheels starts to slow down.  This is how the disc braking system operates.

7 Bad Symptoms

Each time you step on the brake pedal, the calipers endure a lot of heat. This causes them to wear down a little bit each time you brake. After enough time goes by, the brake calipers will be too worn down to the point where they don’t function properly anymore. If you have a bad brake caliper in any of your wheels, then it can spell trouble for your entire braking experience.

There are a lot of noticeable symptoms of a bad brake caliper. Do not ignore these symptoms or else you could be putting your life and other people’s lives in danger on the road. Furthermore, the longer your brake calipers stay bad, the more pressure you will put on your braking system to slow down the vehicle quickly. This could cause other components of your braking system to wear out fast too.

Below are the top 7 symptoms of a bad brake caliper.

1) Brakes Less Powerful – Do you need to step harder on your brake pedal just to slow down your vehicle? If your brakes don’t immediately respond to the pressure that you put on the brake pedal, then it means there is something wrong within your braking system. The brake caliper is usually the number one suspect of this problem.

2) Brake Fluid Leaking – A bad piston in your brake caliper will result in brake fluid to leak from it. Your brake caliper has rubber seals which give it mobility. However, these rubber seals can break down after a while and cause brake fluid to leak. Look for puddles of brake fluid underneath your vehicle.

3) Vehicle Pulling – Your vehicle may pull more to the left or right side when you go to brake. This could either mean that your wheels are misaligned or that your caliper is stuck. If you don’t experience any of the other symptoms, then it is probably an alignment issue. Otherwise, have your brake calipers checked immediately.

4) Brake Warning Light – If a bad brake caliper is causing you to lose brake fluid, the powertrain control module of your vehicle is going to detect this. As a result, it will activate the braking warning light on the dashboard.

Read also: 7 Symptoms of a Bad / Dirty Air Filter in Your Car

5) Brake Pad Wear is Not Even – All your brake pads should wear evenly. But if one of your brake pads is more worn than the others, it means the brake caliper which holds the brake pad might be bad. Only a licensed technician can make an official diagnosis of this.

6) Clunking Sounds – A brake caliper is secured in its location with a bracket. If the caliper were to break, you will hear a big clunking sound each time you step on the brake pedal. Although this is rare, clunking sounds are a sign of trouble. Your brakes could easily lock up at any point under these conditions.

7) Braking Stays On – You might have a situation where your braking system continues to slow down the wheels, even when you’re not stepping on the brake pedal. This can happen when your caliper gets stuck and fails to release the brake pads completely away from the brake rotors. When you go to accelerate, your vehicle won’t go fast because of this.

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