Brake Caliper Malfunctions: Main Symptoms, Causes and Prevention

The brake caliper is an important part of the car’s braking system, responsible for attracting the brake pads to the brake discs. In the event of a caliper failure, the performance of the brakes can be significantly affected, which poses a serious threat to road safety. Therefore, it is important to know the main signs and causes of caliper malfunctions, as well as ways to prevent them.

There are different types of brake calipers including fixed and floating calipers. Fixed calipers are a design where the caliper is attached directly to the vehicle and the piston only moves inside the caliper. Floating calipers, in turn, can move in a horizontal plane and allow better compensation for brake pad wear.

One of the most common signs of brake caliper failure is a brake fluid leak. If you notice fluid leaks near the caliper, this may indicate damage to the o-rings or cracks in the caliper body. Such leaks can lead to loss of brake fluid and reduced braking performance. To prevent such situations, regularly check the brake fluid level and contact a specialist if leaks are found.

Another symptom of a bad caliper could be a hard or sticky brake pedal. If you feel resistance or uneven action on the brake pedal, this may indicate a problem with the caliper. The cause of such problems may be corrosion of the caliper piston. Piston corrosion is caused by moisture and dirt getting inside the caliper, causing it to oxidize and seize. Piston corrosion can cause it to malfunction, resulting in difficult brake release and uneven pressure on the brake pads. It is important to inspect the calipers regularly and, if signs of corrosion are found, have professional automotive mechanics have the caliper pistons replaced or rebuilt.

Other symptoms of a brake caliper failure can be noises and squeaks when braking. If you hear a squeal or noise while braking, this may indicate worn or misaligned brake pads. A malfunctioning caliper can cause the pads to not properly press against the disc, resulting in friction and noise. In the event of such symptoms, you should immediately contact the automotive service for diagnosis and troubleshooting.

There are several reasons that can lead to brake caliper failure. One of them is improper maintenance of the brake system. Irregular replacement of brake fluid or neglect of its level can lead to corrosion and leakage in the caliper. Also, improper installation of brake pads or mismatch in size and characteristics of system components can have a negative impact on the operation of the caliper.

Which calipers break more often – front or rear? This depends on the specific make and model of the vehicle, as well as driving style and operating conditions. However, in general, front calipers are subject to more stress, as they are responsible for most of the braking force and can be more susceptible to wear. Therefore, front calipers require more careful monitoring and regular checks.

Also, handbrake malfunctions can affect the rear caliper. If the handbrake does not work properly or does not fully release after removing it, this can lead to constant brake pads pressing against the brake disc and wear to the rear calipers. Malfunctions in the handbrake may occur due to a stretched or weak cable adjustment, wear of the handbrake mechanism, or a malfunction in the automatic handbrake adjustment mechanism. It is important to regularly check the operation of the handbrake and contact specialists for diagnosis and repair in case of malfunctions.

To prevent brake caliper malfunctions, it is recommended to follow a few simple guidelines. Regularly check the brake fluid level and the condition of the caliper O-rings. If leaks or damage are found, the defective parts must be replaced immediately. It is also recommended to regularly inspect the calipers for corrosion and piston wear. If necessary, professional mechanics can clean and maintain calipers or replace pistons.

In conclusion, brake caliper failures can seriously affect the performance of a vehicle’s braking system and road safety. It is important to pay attention to the main signs of malfunction, such as brake fluid leaks, difficulty in depressing the brake pedal and extraneous noises when braking. Proper maintenance and regular inspection of the brake system, including calipers, will help prevent malfunctions and ensure safety while driving on the road.

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