How Do Brake Calipers Work – Complete Guide

The article is about Brake Calipers and will mainly focus on the work of brake calipers, the construction of brake calipers, and also the problems and symptoms of brake calipers.

As a result, this article features brake calipers so one the first thing that should be talked about is brake calipers. A caliper is basically a brake type but more specifically it can be said that it is a disc brake system.

The main work of brake calipers is to house the brake pads and pistons of a vehicle and this is because eventually brake pads main duty is about slowing down any vehicle engine by putting friction with brake rotors.

The task of the brake calipers is to fit in the rotor of the wheel and by fitting their, like a clamp its main duty is to stop the car by slowing down when the brakes are pressed and there are metal plates which are called brake pads.

Now the process of slow downing the car happens when someone pushes the padel of the brake fluid comes forward and pushes the pistons connected with the brake calipers and this results in brake pads forcing against the brake rotor and eventually slowing down the car.

How Brake Calipers Work

The very core fact of brake calipers is that they multiply the force of function. And this is why naturally they are called “Force-multiplication”.

If someone steps on the brake pedal and applies force on it then it leads the small piston to channel the force in compressing the brake fluid inside the master cylinder of the system.

How Brake Calipers Work

How Brake Calipers Work

But the thing is that brake fluid does not get compressed rather channels the force onto it to the brake calipers. And as it was mentioned previously that brake calipers are called force multiplication.

So it serves its purpose by using the large pistons inside the brake calipers. The large piston does nothing but multiplies the force and this force ends up pushing the brake rotors.

One should keep in mind that there can two types of brake calipers by its pistons. Basically there are two types of functioning pistons. One is fixed and another is floating. And both of the works a bit differently.

As for the fixed pistons it works from both of its sides and in cases of the floating brake calipers the piston compresses the inboard pads and this results in brake calipers getting pushed away and which results in outboard pads connecting with the brake rotors.

How Are Brake Calipers Constructed?

Construction and manufacturing of brake calipers have a total of twelve steps and they have given bellow:

Manufacturing Batch:

While creating production batches a manufacturer goes through a lot of processes and this ensures before the product goes to the market. Material, tooling, manufacturing drawing, production routing, machine programming are certain things that are going through again and again before the product goes to the market.

Ensuring the Traceability:

The body of a brake caliper is basically made by a good quality aluminum and while the product is in certain production the manufacturers usually give a traceable number from which it is easy to mark any particular product.

How Are Brake Calipers Constructed

How Are Brake Calipers Constructed

As a result, when a customer files a particular complaint against a particular product it becomes very easy to find out the product.

Computer Aided Process of the Product:

While contracting the product the whole 3D printing and designing happens in computers.


The machining mainly happens by 3-5 axis high speed machining is essential for high-quality brake calipers.


After the machining is done then the inspection happens. This is basically checking and measuring every part of the brake caliper.

The Process of Anodizing:

After machining then comes the andonizing process. This is basically a sulphuric layer over the aluminum body. This the reason there are different colors of brake calipers are available in the market.

This process of coloring and andonizing takes around 2-3 weeks depending on the color. For example, black and silvers take the least time where other colors like red, orange, purple, green, yellow take more time in processing.


Any manufacturer mainly tries to put their selected designs and logos over the surface of the product. And this artwork happens by laser marking on the selected surface of the product.

Other Features:

This the part when the other or extra features are added with the main product. These features contain stuff like brake pads, pipes, bolts, seals, etc.

Final Testing:

After all these steps come to the final step before packaging. This step is called testing and through this step, the manufacturer finalizes that their product is good to go for market.


The last part of this production of brake calipers. After checking the products properly they safely put into the packets and they ready to hit the market.

Brake Caliper Problems

As brake calipers are not totally invincible or indestructible so after using a certain period of time the brake calipers start showing problems that need to be fixed.

Brake Caliper Problems

Brake Caliper Problems

Sometimes the brake pads get worn out and this results in problems in brake calipers. This is true that there is a certain span of this but yet there are some reasons which make it quicker.

These reasons are too many to mention but aggressive stopping, brake pedal riding are some common reasons for causing problems in the brake calipers. These problems are mainly identified with the symptoms they show.

As a result, this part of the article will highlight the symptoms and problems of the problematic brake calipers.

Pulling to One or The Other Side:

As the title suggests, this symptom is basically a vehicle pulling to the side or the other side. This happens because of the hydraulic pressure which results in abnormal movements of the pistons.

This happens when the driver pushes the brake pedal but the brake caliper pistons fail to connect because it gets stuck because of dirt and pollution.

And for this, the brake pads will fail to access the rotors resulting in the vehicle getting pulled away from the damaged side but the opposite also happens where it gets pulled to the damaged side.

Metallic Rubbed Noise:

Sticking or freezing the situation of brake caliper can result in this symptom. The symptom is basically a continuous “Squealing” or “Metallic” sound.

This freezing situation of brake caliper results in the brake pads to wear out. And this causes the uncomfortable noise and this noise is very clear by the damaged area and one does not need to press the brake pads to get the sound but the fact is that the noise is always there.

This noise seeks in quick steps of fixing because if not the brakes will get stuck which will result in the wheels not turning to stop the car.

Brake Pads and Uneven Worn out Problem:

As the brake calipers and the brake pads are very closely related. And this is why brake pads getting worn has always something to do with the brake calipers but this wearing is normal and the abnormality comes with the unevenness of the pads getting worn out.

If the symptoms are like the brake pads one side is thinner than the other because of worn out problems. Then this can be said that the brake caliper is faulty.

Brake Fluid Leakage:

Brake calipers basically function by the pressure of the hydraulic system. But if there is any weakness in the system then this may result in leakage of the brake fluid. This brake fluid is also known as hydraulic oil. Oily spots on the tire or ground is a great indication of a faulty brake caliper.

Broken Caliper Bracket:

This symptom of this problem is basically the clunking sound. This happens when the brake caliper holder which is basically known as a caliper bracket.

And if this brake caliper brake gets broken then this results in heavy sounds of clunking and having a broken caliper bracket is very dangerous became this locks up the vehicle wheels and this is why one should avoid driving there is such symptoms in the car.

The symptoms are very important because the brake system of a car is very sensitive. And if there is any of the symptoms are seen in the vehicle then one should take proper steps of inspecting the whole brake system and fixing it with a professional. Because a healthy brake system ensures the safety of the car.

Wrap Up

This article talks about brake calipers and certain functions regarding it. Three main points have been focused throughout the write up. The points are how do brake calipers actually work and functions in the car brake system, how to brake calipers are constructed and manufactured, and lastly about the brake caliper problems and the symptoms regarding the problems. Anyone who is curious about brake calipers and has something to with it can give try by reading this write up.

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