How Brake Calipers Stop A Vehicle

Brake calipers provide the ‘muscle’ needed to stop a vehicle. Calipers are one of the three main components of a car or truck’s brake system.

Brake Calipers Overview

The brake caliper works with the brake rotor and brake pads applying friction against the wheels, turning the energy into heat. The faster and heavier a vehicle, the more energy is converted into heat.

A basic tenant of physics is that energy cannot be destroyed, only transformed. Stopping a vehicle converts the energy of motion into heat which escapes into the atmosphere.

For a vehicle to stop safely, all the components of a brake system must be in good working condition. If any one of the three components doesn’t work properly, it can result in longer stopping distances, brake fade, or even brake failure.

Brake Calipers in Detail

The caliper is bolted to the vehicle’s suspension and fits inside the wheel, while the rotor spins in the middle of the caliper. The caliper does not move, only the rotor spins with the wheel and tire. As the caliper pushes the brake pads against the rotor, the vehicle slows down and stops.

In more detail, the pistons inside the brake caliper react to the pressure of the brake fluid from the brake master cylinder. When the brake pedal is depressed, the master cylinder compresses the brake fluid, forcing the caliper pistons out of the caliper body and onto the brake rotor.

Brake pads bonded with friction material are clipped to the caliper pistons. The friction material provides friction against the rotors to slow the wheels and tires. The fluid pressure and caliper pistons must be strong enough to keep the brake pads clamped against the rotor. If the pressure drops or the caliper piston fails to keep the pads against the rotor, the brakes stop working.

Modern cars and trucks have disc brakes composed of calipers, rotors, and brake pads at all four wheels and tires. Front calipers and disc brakes were introduced by American vehicle manufacturers starting in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Some lighter vehicles have calipers and disc brakes on the front wheels and tires and brake drums on the rear wheels and tires. Rear drum brakes are very effective for smaller vehicles and less expensive to manufacture and maintain.

About Goodyear Brakes

Goodyear Brakes manufactures premium quality brake bundles, calipers, rotors, brake pads and all the hardware required to successfully install brakes, all backed by a national warranty, decades of production experience and one of the best-known names in automotive excellence. The brake pads are manufactured in the USA using a proprietary green production process by a company with more than 50 years of experience in friction science. The Goodyear Brakes product line is available through Goodyear Brakes at Amazon, CarID, Buy Brakes and AutoAnything.

Goodyear (and Winged Foot Design) and Blimp Design are trademarks of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company used under license by FDP Virginia Inc., 1076 Airport Road, Tappahannock, VA 22560, USA. Copyright 2020 The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. Goodyear Brakes and FDP Virginia are not responsible for its products when they are subjected to improper applications, installation, or accident.

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