How to replace a brake caliper – Tips and Instructions!

How to replace a brake caliper – Tips and Instructions!

A brake caliper is an important component of every disc brake. The functionality of the brake caliper is largely responsible for the braking performance of the vehicle. Damage and wear may therefore have a significant influence on driving safety in the car. For this reason, you should immediately get to the bottom of any damage to the brake caliper and replace it. We have prepared all important information on the component, its replacement and the costs for you.

The brake caliper: What is it anyway?

What is a brake caliper

A brake caliper is responsible for the brake function. As the driver, when you set the brake of your vehicle into action, the brake caliper and the brake pads inside it are pressed against the brake disc by the brake piston.

The friction makes the vehicle to decelerate and thus reduce its speed. As you can see, damage or signs of wear on the brake caliper should be handled as soon as possible. In the worst case, there is a risk of complete loss of braking power, which may lead to accidents.

Also, if repairs are not carried out promptly, there is a risk of significantly more expensive consequential damage, as the brake pads and brake discs themselves may also be affected. In such a case, the replacement becomes even more substantial.

This is how damage to the brake caliper makes itself noticed

damage to the brake caliper

The problem with brake caliper damage is that the symptoms may also have other causes.

Anyways, if the following symptoms occur, the entire brake system should be examined in order to quickly identify the fault.

You should become attentive to these following:

1. A noticeable resistance when starting off, often accompanied by grinding or squealing noises.
2. A noticeable heating of the tyre and rim due to a stuck brake caliper.
3. Pay attention to your rims. If there is significantly more brake dust on a rim than usual, the brake on that wheel should be checked.
4. If a brake caliper is jammed, there is constant friction. Not only does it heat up, but it also has a typical smell. If you feel such a smell, this is an important indication.

All these signs are important indicators and should not be ignored under any circumstances. A check should be carried out in any case.

How often should the brake caliper be checked or replaced?

How often should the brake caliper be checked or replacedAs a rule, you should take a quick look at the entire brake system every time you change the tyres. There is no accurate information about inspection or replacement intervals for such wear parts as the brakes, because wear depends on driving performance and driving style, among other things. Those who use brakes a lot and regularly wear out elements such as the brake caliper or brake pads much faster than other drivers.

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Replacing the brake caliper yourself or have it replaced at a workshop?

Replacing the brake caliper yourself or have it replaced at a workshop

Basically, it is advisable to have the brake caliper replaced only by a specialist workshop. Because this is an extremely important element of the vehicle essential for driving safety.

However, if you have the required tools and the necessary know-how, you can also do the work yourself. The replacement itself is quite simple and uncomplicated.

Brake discs and brake pads must always be replaced on both sidesImportant: Brake discs and brake pads must always be replaced on both sides. However, this does not apply to the brake caliper. You can also replace it individually if necessary.

Tools required for the replacement

Tools required for the replacement of brake caliper

If you want to replace the brake caliper yourself, you should have the following tools:

– Wheel spider
– Combination spanner
– Open-ended spanner
– Water pump pliers
– A wire brush
– Flat-tip screwdriver
– Phillips screwdriver
– Rubber mallet
– Collecting container for the brake fluid

Replacing the brake caliper step by step

Replacing the brake caliper step by step – Jack up the vehicle or place it on a lifting platform.
– Remove the wheels.
– Clean the transition from brake line to brake caliper with a wire brush.
– Position the collecting container.
– Loosen the banjo bolt on the brake caliper with a suitable ratchet spanner.
– Remove the screw completely and drain the brake fluid.
– Loosen the clamp on the handbrake cable with the flat-tip screwdriver.
– Pull the handbrake cable out of the guide.
– Loosen the screws on the caliper (these are counter screws, so use two spanners).
– Remove the screws.
– Detach the brake caliper from the holder
– Remove the brake pads and discs

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Before the installation:

Thoroughly clean the seat of the brake pads and the wheel hub with the wire brush – Thoroughly clean the seat of the brake pads and the wheel hub with the wire brush.
– Now reassemble the brake caliper and all other elements in reverse order.
– To fit the brake line, remove the dust protection plug on the brake caliper.
– Remove the banjo bolt and seal underneath.
– Install the brake line and fix it with the removed banjo bolt.
– The last step is to fill in brake fluid and bleed the brake system.

Pay attention to the following when during the replacement

Brake caliper replacement what to watch out for

  • It is very important to carry out each step calmly and, above all, thoroughly. Mistakes during this work may damage the roadworthiness of the vehicle, in the worst case.
  • It is also essential to bleed the brake system thoroughly after the work. As the air in the brake system may have an unforeseen effect on the braking performance. This means that the braking ability may be lost within seconds.
  • Furthermore, you must collect the leaking brake fluid and dispose of it at an appropriate specialist centre. Brake fluid is harmful to the environment and must not be disposed of down the drain or in other ways as household waste.

Costs to be considered

Costs for brake caliper replacement

It sounds quite complicated to replace or repair a brake caliper. It is therefore not a surprise that a workshop will charge a high price for this service. A distinction should be made between maintenance or minor damage repair and replacement.

So, it can be an expensive thing to have all the elements replaced. However, if you have no idea about car repairs and no experience with them, you should still use the services of a specialist workshop. Often, the price may be reduced even further if the customer brings spare parts themselves. In any case, look out for original spare parts.

  • Prices may also vary from workshop to workshop, depending on the vehicle.
  • For maintenance and repair, a specialist workshop usually charges between 30 and 90 pounds per wheel.
  • For a replacement, a specialist workshop charges between 170 and 480 pounds per wheel, including spare parts.
  • The cost of these alone is between 90 and 270 pounds, so they make up quite a large part of the workshop costs. By purchasing them yourself, you can often noticeably reduce the bill and thus minimise the losses.

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