What Is A Brake Caliper And Why Is It Important?

Brake calipers are critical to your brake system because they apply the force necessary to slow or stop your vehicle. Used in disc braking systems, they contain hydraulic pistons which squeeze or clamp the brake pads on the brake rotor, generating friction. 

Let's take a closer look at brake calipers, how they work, and how to tell when they go bad.

What Does A Caliper Do, And How Does It Work?

Image Credit: FixingCarsAndStuff

Brake calipers function like clamps that use hydraulic pressure to squeeze the brake pads against the brake rotors generating friction. When you press the brake pedal, brake fluid flows into the caliper, applying the pressure needed to slow or stop your car. 

Two types of brake calipers are commonly used in mass-produced vehicles; single-piston and dual-piston. Single-piston calipers use one hydraulic piston to apply brake pressure and are most commonly used on the rear brakes. Dual-piston calipers are used for front brakes, applying the pressure from two pistons to increase the brake's stopping power.   

Like any automotive part, brake calipers eventually wear out and must be replaced. While it's not unusual for them to last 100,000 miles or more, the combination of high hydraulic pressure, corrosive brake fluid, and exposure to heat and grime eventually take their toll.  

How Do I Tell If A Brake Caliber Is Going Bad? 

When a brake caliper starts to go bad, you will likely notice your vehicle pulling to one side when you apply the brakes. Other symptoms include: 

  • Brake fluid leaking from behind the wheel 
  • Spongy brakes or a soft brake pedal
  • Grinding or squealing noises when you apply the brakes
  • The brakes vibrate when you use them or feel like they are dragging, even when your foot is off the pedal
  • Uneven brake pad wear

Inspecting your brakes every time you change your oil is always a good idea. If you notice issues with your brake pads or signs of leaking brake fluid, it's important to get your brakes checked out as soon as possible. 

OEM Or Aftermarket Calipers - Which Are Best?

People are often tempted to use aftermarket brake calipers because they think it will save them money. While aftermarket parts can be cheaper to buy than OEM parts, they may cost you more money in the long run. Here's why:

  • Ford OEM brake calipers are designed to work with your specific car or truck and are manufactured to OE specifications. Aftermarket parts are more generic and may not fit as well or meet the same specifications. 
  • Many aftermarket companies use lower-grade materials to manufacture their parts. As a result, the aftermarket brake calipers do not last as long or perform as well as the OEM calipers. 

Where Is The Best Place To Get Brake Calipers For My Ford? 

When it comes to brake calipers for your Ford car or truck, look no further than Blue Springs Ford Parts. For more than three decades, Blue Springs Ford Parts has been the #1 choice for quality OEM replacement parts for Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles.  

As one of the largest Ford parts departments in the United States, we're happy to help get you the parts you need quickly and reliably. Ford's OEM replacement parts warranty backs all our parts. If you'd like to learn more, you can contact us online or give us a call at 1-800-248-7760.