How to Change Brake Calipers

by Contributor

Knowing how to change brake calipers can save a lot of time and labor costs. They are also one of the most integral parts of a brake system and should be handled extremely carefully.

Change the Brake Caliper

Loosen the lug nuts on the tires that are over the affected brake calipers. This is a required step when dealing with any kind of brake repair or change.

Raise the car by means of a car jack or lift. Make absolutely sure the car will not shift. A safety stand works well in this kind of situation.

Remove the lug nuts from the tire, making sure to put them in a safe place in order to prevent loss. Remove the tire and set it aside, exposing the brake mechanism.

Position a drain pan underneath the caliper and then locate the bolt, known as a "banjo" bolt, that connects the brake caliper to the brake hose. Loosen the "banjo" bolt.

Locate the bolts attaching the brake caliper to the wheel assembly and remove them. Let the brake fluid flow into the drain pan, taking care not to get the corrosive liquid on any painted surfaces or bare skin.

Drain the brake caliper to be changed and determine whether your brake caliper is "non loaded" or "semi-loaded." Should your brake caliper be "semi-loaded," you will not have to know-how to strip the original brake caliper of its mounting components.

Strip the brake caliper to be changed of its mounting components. This includes the rubber boots and the bolts and sliders of the original brake caliper. Examine these components to make sure they are not rusted, warped, torn or damaged in any way.

Apply lubricant to all of the mounting components that will be required to move once the caliper has been changed, such as the caliper sliders. Then install the mounting components on the new brake caliper.

Install the Changed Brake Caliper

Compress the caliper piston. Make sure that the piston is compressed completely, which should be done with a special caliper brake turning tool. Since different calipers have different ways of being compressed completely, consult an auto parts dealer or experienced auto mechanic on the best way to compress your brake caliper.

Replace the brake caliper on the end of the brake hose. Leave the connection loose.

Place brake pads on the new brake caliper, and then lubricate the caliper bolts and reattach the caliper to the wheel assembly. Once the new caliper has been installed, realign the brake hose so that it sits normally and finish tightening the "banjo" bolt.

Bleed the braking system by making sure the brake fluid in the master cylinder is full and attaching a length of clear tubing to the bleeder valve of the caliper. Open the caliper's bleeder valve, and have someone else fully press the brake pedal, which will force brake fluid and any impurities such as air bubbles into the jar for you to see. Repeat this procedure until no air bubbles appear in the jar, and then repeat the process again and close off the bleeder valve as your friend presses down on the brake pedal.

Refill your brake fluid.

Replace the tire and fasten the lug nuts onto the mounts. Head to the other side of the car and repeat the same process. Once you are done, test the brakes for yourself and then take the car for a very slow test drive.

Tip

  • check Other brake components can also be inspected while you are changing your brake calipers. Make sure your brake pads are acceptable, and get your rotors smoothed by an auto mechanic while you are busy.

Warning

  • close Tampering with a car's brakes can be extremely dangerous. If you are all unsure of what you are doing, consult an auto mechanic.

Items you will need

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.