How to Fix Sticking Brake Calipers

by Allen Moore
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brake calipers image by Tom Oliveira from

Brake calipers hold the brake pads and force them against the brake rotors when you push on the brake pedal. The calipers move in and out on slide pins, which must remain free of corrosion, excessive brake dust and road dirt. Dirty or unlubricated caliper slide pins are the No. 1 cause of sticking brake calipers. When performing brake pad replacement, always make sure you take care of the caliper slide pins in order to avoid a sticking brake caliper.

Step 1

Turn the lug nuts counterclockwise with the lug wrench until they are finger tight. Chock one wheel on the opposite axel to prevent the vehicle from rolling. Raise the vehicle using the floor jack and set it on a jack stand, placed underneath the frame.

Step 2

Remove the lug nuts and wheel by hand. Place the drop pan underneath the brake assembly and thoroughly clean the brakes using the brake cleaner spray.

Step 3

Unbolt the brake caliper with the socket set. Pull the caliper up and out of the caliper bracket and then remove the brake pads by hand.

Step 4

Spray the inside of the caliper thoroughly with brake cleaner to remove all the built-up brake dust, road dirt and old grease from the caliper slide pins. Wipe the pins with the rag to remove any remaining dust, dirt or old lube.

Step 5

Lubricate the caliper slide pins with the white lithium grease. Reinsert the brake pads and put the brake caliper back into the caliper bracket by hand. Thread the caliper bolts in by hand and then tighten them with the socket set.

Step 6

Reinstall the wheel and lug nuts, lower the vehicle off the jack stand, and then tighten the lug nut to the specific torque required for your particular year, make and model using the torque wrench.

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