Troubleshooting a Brake Caliper that Locks Up Troubleshooting a Brake Caliper that Locks Up

Anyone who has a car knows that the brakes are one of the most vulnerable parts of the car, and if you have a great deal of trouble with your brake calipers, then you may need to troubleshoot them quickly in order to prevent an accident. If your car is pulling to one side, then this indicates that one of your brake calipers is seizing up, and this can be a serious problem which needs to be dealt with as quickly as possible. In order to remove the problems with your calipers, you will need to troubleshoot the problem, and try and find an easy answer which will get your car working properly again. 

Check Your Calipers for Tightness

The most common reason for the calipers locking up when you are driving is due to excessive tightness of the screws in which they are mounted. Most people know that if the brake pedal is too soft, then the calipers need to be tightened, but they don't often realize that this can also mean that if they are tightened too much, then they will grip the brake too hard, and cause the car to turn. Examine your caliper to see how hard it is braking, and it necessary release the screw slightly, so that the part has more room to move. You may want to check that the piston parts of the brake are not over-working, in which case you will need to have the braking systems removed and refitted.

Check Calipers for Dirt and Rust

Like any other part of the car, the brake calipers can become exceedingly dirty and dusty over time. This can prevent the pistons of the calipers moving in and out properly causing locking which in turn forces the car to drive to the side. You should put your car onto jacks, and check the calipers for damage and rust, or for any dirt such as mud or bits of plant which have been taken into the caliper system. Remove any dirt, and replace the calipers if they show signs of rusting, as  you may be able to remove the corrosion, but that would weaken that part of the caliper.

Check Calipers for Wear and Tear

Another problem which may be the cause of your calipers locking is age. Over time, these parts of the braking system become very worn, and need to be replaced. This wear is shown in the amount of caliper-to-piston action, and the clearance produced between these two sources. Calipers may also wear down on the front pads, meaning that they cannot form a good grip, and  this leads to over-exertion of the parts, and consequently to locking out. If you find that your brake calipers are very worn, it is a good idea to get them replaced immediately, as they may fail while you are driving, and the car will not pass a service in such a condition.

 

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