Brake calipers are expected to last the lifetime of a vehicle. So, replacing a caliper is not as common as replacing brake pads or brake rotors. But it’s good to know when you might need to replace a brake caliper.
Replace pads and rotors with every brake job, but replace calipers only when damaged or when the pistons fail to extend after applying the brakes.
Disc Brake Systems
There are two disc brake systems to discuss when replacing brake calipers.
Front Wheels Only
For vehicles with disc brakes mounted on only the front wheels and tires, replace the calipers in pairs. If one side is damaged, then replace the calipers on both sides. If only one caliper is replaced, you may experience brake imbalance between the front wheels and tires.
The new brake caliper may apply the brake pads to the rotor more quickly than the older caliper. As a result, the vehicle will swerve toward that side and then swerve back when the older caliper engages, causing a dangerous situation or an accident.
Front and Back Wheels
For vehicles with disc brakes mounted on all four wheels and tires, replace calipers in pairs, either in the front or in the rear.
As with front only disc brakes, when a caliper is damaged or fails on a front wheel and tire, replace the opposite caliper even if the rear has brake discs. Don’t replace the rear calipers unless one is damaged or fails.
Similarly, if a rear caliper is damaged or fails, replace the opposite caliper. Don’t replace the front calipers unless one or both are damaged.
Rear disc brakes do not have as much effect on the car if not replaced in pairs. Rear brakes provide only about 30% of the total brake capacity of a vehicle. So, if one of the calipers is replaced, the swerve effect may not be as noticeable.
But, any imbalance in the rear brakes will increase stopping distances. A major function of brake systems is to stop a vehicle in the shortest possible distance.
While it may seem like a waste of money, brakes are the number one safety system on any vehicle (other than the driver). Keeping them in the best possible condition helps reduce the chances of an accident.
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.
How do you know when to change your brakes? A general rule of thumb is to replace your brake pads every 35,000 miles — but