A disc brake piston tool helps you maintain enough clearance when installing new brake pads. It helps you rotate the pistons back into the caliper efficiently, preventing any damage in the boot and the pistons themselves. Below is a guide to help you choose the right disc brake piston tool for you.
Disc brake piston tool design
There are different ways to retract the pistons. They vary depending on the configuration of the calipers; some might require the piston to be rotated clockwise or counter-clockwise, while others might need the piston to be pushed further into its bore to retract. With this in mind, it is important to know first what your vehicle requires, given that there is no universal procedure to follow.
A disc brake piston tool comes in varying designs. You have the wind-back tool with a hammer-like design that pulls on the pistons outward for Collette-type, non-screw-in calipers. It usually comes with a double adaptor, so it does both the left and right pistons.
Another type-and the more popular disc brake piston tool-is the cube-shaped four-wheel tool. It gained popularity because it can be configured in five ways to work on both the front and rear brakes. Its heavy-duty chrome material also provides a longer life span. However, this tool usually requires an extension and a 3/8" direct ratchet to work. If you need to buy a four-wheel tool, go for the complete kit that includes all the accessories.
Price and usability
One controversial thing about buying a disc brake piston tool is its price. Many argue that the tool is not much of a necessity since replacing disc brakes can be done using a C-clamp and a block of scrap wood. However, newer car models already employ the Automatic Brake System, and their caliper configuration is different from the old ones. Recent vehicles are designed in such a way where the parking brake is integral to the caliper, and the piston has to be screwed inward and will not budge with pressure only. Only a disc brake piston tool can do the job, so even though you may not use the tool on a regular basis, it is convenient to invest in one.