Brake Calipers: Information and Maintenance
Brake calipers are an essential part of every single vehicle and require regular maintenance. That’s because they have the ability to stop your car completely, which is obviously necessary when you’re out on the road. In fact, the caliper works by completely slowing down the car’s wheels by forming friction with the rotors.
This particular part of the car is placed right over the rotor like a clamp. Then, inside each caliper are two metal plates. These metal plates have been secured together using friction matter known as the brake pads. There are both brake pads found on the outside of the rotors, as well as in the inside. When you step down on the brake, the brake fluid from the main cylinder puts this hydraulic force on one or more of the pistons located in the brake caliper. This ultimately pushes the pads right against the rotor. The brake pad’s chief function is to slow down the rotor or bring it to a complete stop. That’s thanks to its high friction surfaces. When the rotor slows down or stops, the wheel does too. Remember, they are connected to one another.
There are two leading kinds of calipers. They are floating calipers and fixed calipers. Floating calipers are often referred to as sliding calipers, as they can go around and about the rotor. They only have a couple of pistons on the inside part of the rotor. It’s this piston that then forces the whole caliper elsewhere when the brakes are used. That push then generates friction from the pads on either half of the rotor. Fixed calipers are different as they do not shift at all. Instead, they have pistons placed on opposing lanes of the rotor. Most vehicle owners prefer fixed calipers because they perform better, but there is a downside to this. Fixed calipers tend to cost much more than the floating type. There are even a few very efficient fixed calipers that seat two or more sets of pistons on each part of the rotor. Actually, there are a bunch of calipers with as many as six sets of pistons.
Unfortunately, calipers do tend to go bad. That’s why you should take certain steps regularly to make sure that yours are in good shape. For starters, take a look at the exterior and functioning of the calipers. See if there are any cracks or if the brake fluid is flowing out. If there are cracks, the whole calipers needs to be replaced. Any places that are dripping brake fluid will be damp or have streaks. To check if the brakes are running right you will need to have an aide with you. This person will exercise the brakes while you take note of the performance itself. If the caliper doesn’t shift at all or you can still rotate the rotor when the brakes are being used, you will need to see if the brake fluid is actually getting into the caliper.
To tell if the brake fluid is extending out to the caliper, you must locate the air bleed valve on the rear half of the caliper. Do this by linking a tiny hose to the valve and then put the other section of the hose in a glass jar that is completely see through. The container should only be half filled with fresh brake fluid. The end of the hose needs to be placed fully under the brake fluid. This step will help keep any air from getting into the structure. Next, open up the valve and have a helper utilize the brakes. If the fluid glides right into the holder, then the fluid is ultimately getting to the caliper. On the other hand, if there is no fluid drifting into the jar, you have to look at the brake lines and the main cylinder. There could be problems there.