Common Brake Caliper Problems

Brake calipers are a critical part of the disc braking system used on modern cars. They function like clamps using hydraulic pressure to squeeze the brake pads against the rotors generating friction to slow or stop your vehicle. (Learn more about the job of a brake caliper here.) Like all auto parts, brake calipers wear out and eventually cause issues. That's why it's important to inspect them periodically and get them checked out if you notice any problems. 

In this post, we'll cover the three most common brake caliper problems, including the symptoms that occur.  

Sticking Or Stuck Brake Caliper

Caliper stick 1

One of the most common problems is a sticking or stuck brake caliper, where the brake fails to fully release after you take your foot off the brake pedal. This issue causes continual friction between the brake pads and rotors. As a result, the brake pads and rotor get extremely hot and wear out prematurely. Symptoms of a stuck brake caliper include the following:

  • One of the brakes makes grinding or squealing noises that are usually noticeable from inside the car.  
  • You may notice smoke coming from one of the wheels when you stop. 
  • A noticeable burning smell from inside the car or when you stop.  
  • The car pulls to one side when braking. 
  • The car feels sluggish or like it's dragging.
  • Noticeably reduced fuel economy. 

For more info on sticky calipers, check out this article

Brake Fluid Leaks

Brake fluid leaks are another common problem. Hydraulic brake fluid is forced into the caliper at high pressure to apply the brakes. This causes the caliper to squeeze the pads on the brake rotor to stop the car. When a brake caliper wears out, it can leak brake fluid, affecting your brakes' performance. 

One of the most noticeable signs of a leaking brake caliper is spots of brake fluid under your car or on your wheels. You may also notice the brake rotor or caliper appears wet. Other symptoms include a soft or spongy brake pedal or the vehicle pulling to one side when braking. 

Loose Or Faulty Brake Caliper Brackets

In some cases, it's possible that the bracket that holds the brake caliper in place is bad or came loose. This will cause a loud clunking sound, almost like someone striking your brake rotor with a hammer. Should this happen, do not drive the vehicle. The brakes could lock up completely or fail due to the damage, putting you and others at risk for serious injury.  

Blue Springs Ford Parts Has The Brake Parts You Need

When it comes to brake calipers for your Ford car or truck, we've got the parts you need. Blue Springs Ford Parts has been the #1 choice for quality replacement parts for Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles for over three decades. 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.