Brake calipers are an important part of your braking system. Having them properly maintained is vital to ensure your brakes operate effectively and last for years to come.

How do brake calipers work?

When a driver presses the brake pedal, the high-pressure brake fluid forces pistons housed within the caliper to push onto the brake pads,creating friction on the brake disk andslowing the car down.

There are two main types of calipers, sliding and fixed.Sliding calipers move inwards and outwards in relation to the brake disc, with one or two pistons housed on the inside face of the disc. When braking, the piston presses all the caliper, creating the friction for both sides of the disc, and slowing the car down. Fixed are stationary calipers that have two sets of pistons, either side of the brake disc. They are better performing than sliding calipers, and performance cars have multiple pistons each side of the brake disc for better stopping power.

Why refurbish your calipers?

According to Mark from Preserve Protect “There are many reasons a brake caliper can fail. Caliper slides that house grooves which hold the brake pads may cause pads to get stuck, causing problems when trying to stop.”This can be down to debris, which can be cleared out during a refurb.However it may be due to grooves within the caliper that needs a larger repair.

Slides are in caliper bolts too, protected with rubber boots to maintain lubrication. Road debris and components rubbing may result in rubber boots tearing, making the bolts dry. This results in brakes sticking andrequiring a technician to recondition or replace the bolts.

The piston is the most common culprit. With another rubber boot protecting it for lubrication, this can also tear. Rust forms and road grime can get into the piston and results in it sticking to the caliper.

The brake hose that enters the caliper may be showing signs of wear. If a hose splits, then brake fluid usually only flows one way when pressing the brakes. If a driver lifts the brakes and the fluid cannotreturn, then the caliper may be stuck. Causing the need for refurbishment.

The braking system as a whole is important to keep regularly maintained, most commonly brake pads, discs, and fluid needing replacement. Calipers cause problems when a vehicle has had a tough life in harsh conditions.A common caliper refurb involves re-spraying and protecting the caliper from rust using a coat of rust protection. Or an owner may want a racing style red or yellow caliper to complete their look, without changing any braking functions – which can also be part of the refurb process.


A failed or failing caliper may feedback to the driver by having a sticky brake pedal, uneven brake pad wear, or the entire car moving to one side when slowing down. A specialist can refurbish a brake caliper with bespoke kits that include all important seals, O-rings, and pieces to make the piston and boots perform as they should. The piston can be replaced too if required. The above point highlight how much can go wrong, which is why it is important to inspect and refurbish your brake calipers.