Brake calipers work with hydraulic pressure to push the brake pads to the rotor, which slows down your car. The force is equally relative to the pressure applied by the driver. They were designed to wear out and since it's heavily used, it needs to be replaced. When you notice your vehicle pulling to one side while applying the brakes; or if you see brake fluid leaking past the seals in the caliper pistons, it's time to replace the brake calipers.
We prepared the procedures, tips and tools that you need to help you with this task.
Tools that You'll Need:
- Car jack
- Car jack stands
- Flat-head screwdriver
- Phillips-head screwdriver
- Drain pan
- Brake system lubricant
- Torque wrench
- Tire iron and breaker bar
- Brake fluid
- Brake caliper replacement parts
- Brake bleeding set (3/8-inch diameter clear tubing, about 2 feet in length and a glass jar
- Make sure that you're working on a solid, level surface.
- Check your replacement parts and make sure that they are compatible to your vehicle's make and model.
- Always wear recommended safety equipment like closed-toe shoes, an industrial-grade dusk mask, safety goggles and gloves.
Step 1: Park your vehicle on a flat, level-surfaced area and set the parking brakes. Place wheel chocks at the vehicle's rear wheels.
Step 2: Position the car jack and lift your car from the ground. Place jack stands at the vehicle's jacking points to ensure that it's stable.
Step 3: Loosen the front wheel's lug nuts with a tire iron or breaker bar. Once the wheel is loose, remove it to expose the braking system.
Step 4: Locate the "banjo" bolt which connects the brake caliper to the brake hose. Loosen the bolt and place a drain pan underneath it.
Step 5: Remove all the bolts attaching the brake caliper to the wheel assembly. Be careful when draining the brake fluid from the brake hose; it's corrosive and dangerous.
Step 6: If clips were used to attach the brake hose, use a flat-head or Phillips-head screwdriver to pry them loose. Throw away the old copper or brass washers.
Step 7: Remove the brake caliper and strip its mounting components: sliders, bolts, and rubber boots. Check for any signs of warp, damage and rust.
Step 8: Apply a generous amount of lubricant to all the brake caliper's mounting components. Install these components to the new brake caliper.
Step 9: Compress the brake caliper with a caliper brake tool. Since each caliper has a different method of compressing it, consult a mechanic or have a brake shop compress it for you. It's an important step to ensure that your brake caliper is working properly.
Step 10: Install the brake caliper at the end of the brake hose. Make sure to leave the connection loose.
Step 11: Put brake pads on the new brake caliper and make sure to lubricate the caliper bolts.
Step 12: Fill up the brake's master cylinder with brake fluid to bleed the system. Open the brake caliper's bleeder valve and attach the clear tubing. Put the other end of the tubing into the glass jar to start the bleeding process.
Step 13: Repeat this process until there are no more air bubbles in the glass jar. Close off the bleeder valve.
Step 14: Make sure to refill your brake fluid before install the wheels on your vehicle.
Step 15: Install the tires and secure them with lug nuts. Repeat the process for the next brake caliper.
Step 16: Test the new brake calipers once you're done.
Installing new brake calipers will take about 2 hours for an expert DIYer and around three hours for a beginner. Exercise caution when working on your vehicle's brake system. Stay safe!