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Caliper Maintenance

Published by Mark Link
Wednesday, April 06, 2011

What are the most neglected items when doing a brake job?

We found after helping several friends and others re-do their brakes, the most neglected items when doing a brake job were the caliper guide pins and pad slides.

These pins and slides corrode because of pad and rotor dust (very abrasive) and from not being lubricated properly.

When the pins corrode due to non-lubrication the caliper will not slide easily back and forth as it was designed. Because of this, the caliper will not withdraw the brake pads off the brake rotor after the brakes have been applied. This caliper malfunction will certainly spell doom for your newly installed brake parts. Sticking calipers will cause excessive pad and brake rotor wear.

A stuck caliper can also induce pad “smear” and can over heat the rotor at a given spot transforming that area of the rotor into “cementite” (sometimes called Iron Carbide – A very hard and brittle material).  This many times will cause the brake rotor to become out off true or commonly called “warping”.

Brake calipers (most) are designed to float on their pins and that is why they need to be lubricated. After applying your vehicles brakes a properly maintained caliper will retract the brake pads off the brake rotors.   


When doing the brake job remove the caliper and caliper carrier, clean and inspect the guide pins, (replace them if worn) wash out the guide pin boots with brake cleaner, blow dry the inside of the boots.  Lubricate the Guide pins liberally with high temperature grease.

The slides also must be cleaned, inspected, and greased. If you have stainless steel inserts on the slides check for wear and replaced if not smooth. These also should be lubricated but not heavily so that no grease gets on the pads(Greasy pads are worthless).
A tip from ” FrozenRotors” ® for better brakes! 

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