Why We Replace Calipers With Your Brake Service

Your brakes always get a workout, whether you’re picking up the kids from practice or heading out into the hills. Every time you press on that brake pedal or your vehicle’s traction control, stability control, or crash avoidance systems are activated, a host of hydraulics and mechanisms work in unison to bring your vehicle to a solid stop.

Because of this, when brakes are worn out, you want to replace more than just the worn-out brake pads. Here’s why.


Calipers Make Your Brakes Work

Yes, there are a lot of other moving parts that go into your braking system, but the calipers provide the clamping force that make it all happen. They take the pressure from your brake pedal and apply it to your brake pads. That, in turn, causes the friction to slow down your vehicle.

Les Schwab Tip: Learn more about brake types in our Complete Guide to Disc Brakes and Drum Brakes.

Sure, a new set of brake pads give you a quick fix to worn breaks. But, we’ve learned over the last 30+ years and thousands of brake repairs that replacing just the pads often leads to other braking issues, such as brake pedal pulsations, brake squeaking or squealing, or worn rubber seals. All of this can cause uneven or faster wear of your brake pads over time.

Built-up grime on your caliper pistons and slides, which become more exposed as your brake pads are wearing thin, can cause caliper malfunction if not addressed when pads are replaced. This short video demonstrates what happens when only the brake pads are replaced and the caliper pistons are forced back into the bore.


The Important Details

Calipers include a handful of parts, including the pistons, piston seals, caliper hardware, and dust boots. To work, all the moving parts in the caliper need to be clean and smooth. Here’s the role that each plays in stopping your vehicle.

  • Piston seals flex as the piston moves out. They pull the piston back into the caliper housing. This small part can cause a lot of big issues if they’re not replaced with the brake pads.
  • Dust boots protect the caliper from debris and other road grime and dirt. As they get older, dust boots will deteriorate, allowing this grime into the caliper, piston and seal.
  • Caliper hardware needs to allow the caliper to float and slide. If the hardware gets rusted or corroded, the pieces can’t perform as well as they should.

An exploded view a a brake caliper


Get Complete Brake Service at Les Schwab

Corners aren’t something you want to cut when you’re talking about brakes. When we replace your brakes, you get complete service. This includes premium quality brake pads and remanufactured brake calipers that are as good as the those your vehicle had when it was new.

Remanufactured calipers come with new seals and dust boots, bleeder screws, and hardware, which have been thoroughly cleaned and inspected for quality, performance, and safety.

Bottom line, your car will stop when you hit the brakes. And that’s something we can all appreciate.

Les Schwab Tip: Understand the ins and outs of brake repairs with our Brake Servicing 101: Advice on Making Sure It Gets Done Right.

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