Modern disc brake systems work with the coordinated effort of three primary components.
These components are the brake pads, the brake caliper, and the brake rotor or disc. The brake caliper is the muscle.
Brake Calipers Purpose
Brake calipers house the brake pads. They use hydraulic pressure to squeeze the brake pads against the brake rotor, applying friction that restricts the movement of the rotor and slows down the vehicle.
A caliper looks like a giant kidney. It is bolted to the suspension and has a slot in the middle for the brake rotor to turn.
Along the insides of the caliper are one or more pistons. The brake pads sit against the pistons, with the brake pad friction material facing the rotor.
Calipers do not move so when the brake pedal is applied, the pistons and the brake pads push from the caliper to squeeze against the rotor. The rotor turns and slows down the wheels and tires. When the brake pedal is released, the pistons and the pads retract into the caliper allowing the rotor to spin freely.
A flexible seal surrounds each caliper and piston. This seal keeps dirt and debris from damaging the piston and stops the brake (hydraulic) fluid from leaking.
How Brake Calipers Attach to Vehicle
The top of the caliper is attached to the brake master cylinder with flexible brake hoses and steel lines. These hoses and lines retain and circulate the brake fluid and pressure to and from the brake master cylinder.
The original caliper design used mechanical cables to squeeze the brake pads into the rotor. Think about how braking systems work on bicycles. Many of these systems use levers to apply and retract the brake pads.
Drivers of cars with early disc brake systems had to provide the muscle to apply the brakes. The process added hydraulic pressure to make it more practical to stop larger and faster vehicles.
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.
Before you replace your brake pads, you should examine your old brake pads and calipers to diagnose any problems. This can also prevent premature need for replacement for the new brake components you are installing.