Auto Anatomy: Brake Calliper

all about brake calliper

An efficient braking system allows the car to decelerate in safety and comfort, which makes it a crucial safety feature. Modern vehicles come with either all-wheel disc brakes or front-wheel disc brakes with drum brakes in the back. To function effectively, the disc-brake system relies on a brake calliper. By clamping down on the brake discs, brake callipers slow down the speed or bring the car to a complete halt, playing a critical role in the braking process.  

Here we’ll explain all about the brake calliper by detailing its core functions and components that are integral for a reliable braking system in a car.

Brake Calliper Function

more about brake calliper functions
The brake calliper acts as a support for the brake pads.

The car brake calliper performs two main functions, the first of which is to provide support for the brake pads installed on either side of the brake disc or rotor. Its second function involves employing pistons to transform the pressure generated by the master cylinder on the brake fluid into friction on the rotor. This friction slows down and eventually stops the wheel from rotating when the brakes are applied.

How Does a Brake Calliper Work?

As mentioned above, the brake calliper slows down and stops a car wheel by clamping down on the brake rotor, helping the disc-brake system work effectively. The calliper is activated when the driver presses down on the brake pedal, which causes brake fluid to flow through the brake lines and into the calliper. 

The fluid pushes a piston in the calliper, which in turn causes the brake pads to squeeze together against the rotor. This creates friction, which slows down and eventually stops the wheel from rotating. Once the brake pedal is released, the calliper releases the pressure on the rotor, allowing the wheel to rotate freely again.

Where Exactly is Brake Calliper Mounted?

more about the positioning of brake calliper
Proper positioning of the brake calliper improves the overall braking performance of a vehicle

The brake calliper is mounted on the steering knuckle or on the suspension upright, positioned above the rotor with brake pads inside it. In most cases, there is one brake calliper per wheel, although some high-performance vehicles may have more. 

The calliper is mounted in such a way that it can slide back and forth. This sliding movement is essential for maintaining even wear on the pads and ensuring consistent braking performance. 

Proper positioning of the brake calliper is critical for the overall performance and safety of the vehicle, as any misalignment or malfunction can lead to reduced braking power and potentially dangerous driving conditions.

Components of Brake Calliper

A brake calliper is based on many different components, each playing a crucial role in ensuring the proper functioning of the braking system. Let’s list and briefly discuss all of them.

Calliper body

calliper body is a crucial component of brake calliper
Serving as the main structure, a calliper body houses all the components

The calliper body is the main structure that holds the brake pads and pistons. It is designed to withstand high heat and pressure, allowing it to clamp onto the rotor to stop the vehicle.

Brake pads

Brake pads are positioned inside the calliper body and create friction against the rotor when the brake pedal is pressed. They are designed to wear down over time, protecting the rotor and ensuring reliable braking performance.


The pistons of the brake calliper push against the brake pads when the brake pedal is applied. They are responsible for applying the necessary force to stop the vehicle and are often made from durable materials to withstand high temperatures and pressure.

Guide pins or bolts

Guide pins or bolts are used to secure the calliper body to the mounting bracket, allowing it to move back and forth when the brakes are applied. They ensure that the brake pads make even contact with the rotor, providing consistent stopping power.

Dust boots

Dust boots protect guide pins or bolts from dirt, debris, and moisture. They help prevent corrosion and ensure that the calliper moves smoothly and evenly, maintaining optimal braking performance.


Seals prevent brake fluid from leaking out of the calliper body, which is one of the common brake problems. Helping the system to maintain proper fluid pressure, seals are essential for reliable braking performance and should be regularly inspected for signs of wear or damage.

Bleeder Valves

These are small valves that allow air to be removed from the brake system, ensuring that the brakes function properly. They are typically located on the calliper body and should be regularly serviced to ensure optimal performance.

Mounting bolts

Mounting bolts are used to secure the calliper body to the vehicle’s brake assembly. They ensure that the brake calliper assembly remains securely attached to the vehicle and should be tightened to the manufacturer’s specifications for optimal performance.

Common Brake Calliper Problems and How to Fix Them

common brake calliper problems
Some common problems that lead to a malfunctioning brake calliper

Now that we have discussed the functions and components of a car brake calliper, let’s learn more about common problems that lead to its malfunctioning.

Sticking Calliper

A sticking calliper can cause uneven brake wear and decreased braking performance. It can often be fixed by cleaning or replacing guide pins or bolts.

Leaking Calliper

A leaking calliper can cause brake fluid loss and decreased braking power. It may require the replacement or rebuilding of the calliper, along with checking and repairing any damaged seals.

Frozen Calliper

A frozen calliper can cause uneven brake wear and decreased braking power. It may be caused by corrosion or a damaged piston and may require brake calliper repair or replacement.

Worn Brake Pads

A squealing or grinding noise is one of the warning signs of worn brake pads. This problem could result in decreased braking performance. The bad brake pads and rotors should be replaced and avoid potential damage to the calliper. Using the right tools and technique, one can easily replace brake pads and rotors to fix the issue.

Uneven Brake Pad Wear

This problem can be caused by a sticking calliper, a warped rotor, or a damaged brake hose. It may require replacement or repair of the affected components to ensure even brake pad wear.

Overheated Calliper

the problem of overheated calliper should be addressed immediately
An overheated calliper may damage the brake system

An overheated calliper can cause brake fade, decreased braking power, and potential damage to the brake system. It may be caused by a dragging brake pad or insufficient cooling. Any problem resulting in overheating of car brakes should be addressed immediately.

That’s a wrap of our guide on the brake calliper, explaining its functioning, components and common problems. 

Moreover, a car’s braking performance should never be compromised to ensure safe driving, therefore, when selecting a used car for sale in the UAE, check the brakes carefully to avoid any potential trouble. 

Stay tuned to the dubizzle auto blog to keep learning more about common car problems and their solutions.


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