How to Change Brake Calipers

  • 3-8 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 30-150
What You'll Need
Line Wrenches
Caliper Bolt Tool
Brake Fluid
Jack and Jack Stands

When you discover that you need to replace your brake calipers you may think it is a major repair. However, this is actually an easy repair you can complete in just a few hours. The most prominent reason to change brake calipers is because the caliper's cylinder boot breaks. The cylinder boot is the part of the caliper that holds the brake fluid. This fluid is required when the cylinder pushes the brake pads against the rotor to make your vehicle stop. When the boot on the brake caliper breaks the brake fluid will not pass through, and you may have a difficult, or impossible, encounter when trying to slow or stop your car. Consider the following steps to change your brake calipers.

Step 1 - Set Up

Before you can replace your brake caliper there are a few things you need to first set up. First, you need to jack the vehicle up on the side where you are replacing the brake caliper. Next, place jack stands under the vehicle. Remove the wheel and place a container under the brakes to catch the brake fluid for disposal.

Step 2 - Removing Old Calipers

Now you can take the old brake caliper off. Remove the bolt that attaches the brake line to the caliper. Now look at the back side of your caliper. There are two bolts that hold the caliper on. The caliper bolt tool varies for different vehicle makes. Use the correct tool that you purchased from the parts store to remove the bolts. If you are having trouble removing the bolts because there is not enough room in the space for the tool turn your steering wheel to make more room. Once you have the bolts out take a rubber mallet and gently tap the caliper off the rotor. Next, remove the old brake pads from the old caliper and set them aside. Remember how they came out of the caliper.

Step 3 Replacing New Calipers

When you begin replacing the brake caliper there are few thing you will want to look for. Is the caliper's cylinder inserted all the way in the caliper? If the cylinder is not all the way in you will need a C clamp and a small board. Place the board over the cylinder, then take the C clamp and tighten it until the cylinder is all the way in. You also need to insert the bleeder nut, which looks like a grease fitting, into the hole in the caliper. Next, put the brake pads back in the caliper the way they came out of the old caliper. Once you have the pads in, slide the caliper back over the rotor. Replace the bolts and reattach the brake line to the caliper.

Step 4 Bleeding the Brakes

You will need someone on the inside of your vehicle when bleeding the brakes. Locate the area to add brake fluid under your hood and begin adding fluid. Next, ask the person inside the car to compress the brakes three times. Then have them hold the pedal all the way down on the third pump. You can then loosen the bleeder nut, just a little not all the way, allowing the air to come out of the line. Repeat the steps until all air is removed from the line. Top off the brake fluid and test your bakes in your driveway before you enter traffic.