You might be familiar with brake pads and rotors, two components of your vehicle's brakes that have to be regularly serviced. Here's another important component of your brakes: the calipers.
Calipers are used in disc brakes, the type of brakes now found in most recently manufactured vehicles. A caliper is the part of the brakes that squeezes the brake pads against the discs, or rotors, which turn with your wheels.
There are different kinds of calipers, but the basic principle is the same. You press down the pedal, brake fluid activates a piston or pistons that squeeze the brake pads against the disc and the friction slows down your vehicle.
While modern vehicles have a warning system to let you know it's time to get your brakes checked, your brake light usually goes on when your fluid level is low or your fluid pressure is low. But you may have to look out for signals your calipers are the problem.
If your vehicle pulls to one side when you brake, that could be a sign that one caliper isn't working right. If you smell a burning odor coming from a wheel after a trip, there might be too much pressure from a caliper. Grinding or squealing when you brake is another signal that it may be time to bring in your vehicle so we can check your brakes.
One way to minimize brake issues is regular inspection. Have them periodically looked at when you bring in your vehicle for an oil change. The good news is brake issues are more likely to be caused by pads or rotors wearing out. Calipers last a lot longer, but even they will need replacing every so often.
Ed's Car Care Center
7811 North Clinton Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46825