How Do Brake Calipers Work?

Whenever you’re navigating the road with your car, one of your priorities should be your safety. And, the aspect of a vehicle that does this job is mostly the brake-lock system, which involves brake calipers. But, what are calipers?  How do these auto parts work?

In this article, one will better understand what calipers are and their mechanism of action.

What Are Vehicle’s Brake Calipers?

Vehicles have calipers, which refer to devices used in measuring the brake pad’s force applied on the brake line. These devices aim to measure the braking capability of the vehicle by determining how much pressure the brake system should have.

Take a look at the good-to-know details about brake calipers:

  • An automobile’s brake system consists of the rotor and its housing, along with the major parts, such as the disc and hose, a cylinder, and caliper, which is comprised of a rotor mounted on the wheel, as well as the caliper pads and their support.
  • In terms of brake caliper placement, this part is attached above the wheel. On the other hand, the brake pads are securely fit above the rotors, acting like clamps.
  • The role of calipers is crucial because they’re responsible for slowing down or stopping a vehicle whenever the driver presses the brake pad.
  • According to 4wdlife, paints serve as a protective coating for your vehicle caliper, and they’re also applied for aesthetic purposes.

How Do Brake Calipers Work?

Each caliper consists of two brake metal plates attached together by a bonding material. Keep in mind that the brake caliper is one of the car parts that need regular maintenance. For this reason, you have to make sure that this auto part is inspected regularly by a professional auto mechanic.

Here are the brake pad parts:

  • Outboard Brake Pad: It is situated in the external part of the rotor.
  • Inboard Brake Pad: It is found inside the automobile.

Brake pads work in such a manner that whenever you step on the brake, the hydraulic pressure is generated. It is the result of brake fluid action on the pistons, which forces the brake pads to create a great amount of pressure or friction against the rotor. In return, this pressure slows down the automobile or makes it stop.

What Are The Brake Caliper Parts?

Here’s how the different caliper parts work:

  • The brake caliper situated in the front is connected to the brake system line, which is why it’s usually the front one that wears out.
  • The back caliper acts as a counterweight to prevent flexing of the brake line.
  • The curved caliper’s teeth are very small, yet are very effective to stop a vehicle.
  • The brake caliper has a fluid level indicator. Also, you can adjust the wire feed as needed.

Brake Caliper Types

Brake calipers may come either as floating or sliding, or permanent or fixed. Here are the differences between these two caliper types:

  • Floating Or Sliding Brake Calipers: This type of caliper moves in and out with pistons on the rotor, pushing the caliper whenever the driver brakes the vehicle. Friction is created on both sides of the brake pads.
  • Permanent Or Fixed Calipers: As the name implies, this caliper type doesn’t move. The pistons are arranged on the opposing sides of the rotor. Fixed calipers are preferred by most drivers even if they’re more costly as compared to floating calipers.

What Should Drivers Check?

Do you know the next actions when the brake system of your vehicle fails?  Here are the important things you have to check:

  • If a vehicle’s brake fails, the first thing that a driver should do is check the status of the brakes, including the pads and the discs. A mechanical failure would warrant replacing the important part of the brake system, which will solve the problem. The next thing to do is to check the amount of brake fluid.
  • Another thing to do is to switch on the engine and to start the car. If the problem is electrical, the alternator should be turned on before checking the starter.
  • It’s vital to replace the brake pads or brake discs whenever they suffer from a mechanical problem. Be careful when removing the brake pads since they come off with very small teeth. It’s advised to have someone to watch the brake while installing the replacement components.
  • Refill the brake fluid chamber immediately if it is below the normal level. This step is usually performed in routine vehicle maintenance.

Choosing A Reliable Auto Parts Supplier

Brake system failure would warrant professional help. If you want to take the DIY route, finding a reputable supplier is a must. If you are searching for a dependable auto parts supplier for your brake system needs, consider the following:

  • Quality Of Products: Find an auto parts supplier that offers a wide array of high-quality auto parts from reputable brands. While you can source brake calipers online, you can also check a nearby brick-and-mortar auto supply shop in your area.
  • Read Reviews: You might be in search of auto parts specific to your vehicle. However, before you purchase, make sure to read the reviews or feedback left by previous buyers to know the quality of a brand’s offerings.
  • Check The Auto Supplier’s Credentials: Make sure to deal with a legitimate supplier of brake system parts by checking their credentials. Obtain business permits and licenses to ascertain the guarantee they provide for their products.
  • Compare Prices: There are different prices of auto parts depending on brand, size, and make and model of your vehicle. It would help to compare the prices while ensuring quality to get the best value for your money.


Now, you probably better understand the role of brake calipers in slowing down and completely stopping an automobile. Brake calipers come either as fixed or permanent or floating or sliding. This auto part generates the friction a vehicle requires to halt using the rotors. A professional auto mechanic must check your brake system during maintenance to ensure safe driving. Also, investing in a high-quality auto brake system will surely pay off in the long run.