How to Install Brake Calipers

calipers on a car
  • 2-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 30-75
What You'll Need
Caliper brake piston turning tool
Brake fluid
Brake bleeding kit
Brake pads

Installing new brake calipers on a car can feel like a monumental task. However, it is one you can undertake yourself. If you’ve never done it before, it’s best to have someone experienced nearby to advise you. It’s a job that can’t be rushed and it’s vital for your own safety that you bleed the brakes properly at the end.

Step 1 - Remove Old Calipers

Start by slightly loosening the lug nuts on the wheel where you’ll change the calipers. Have the vehicle set in “Park” and use chucks on the back wheels. Raise the car with a car jack, then put a safety stand under the axle. Now, loosen the lugs nuts fully and remove the tire.

After placing a pan under the caliper, loosen the bolt for the brake fluid line and let it drain. Remove all the mounting components from the caliper then lube all the mounting components you’ll need to move on the new caliper. Remove the old brake calipers from the wheel assembly and set aside.

Step 2 - Start the New Install

working on calipers on a car

Begin the installation of the new brake calipers by compressing the piston on the caliper. You’ll need to use the caliper brake turning tool in order to do this and you’ll need to ensure that the piston is fully compressed. When you’ve managed that, attach the brake line to the caliper, but don’t tighten the connection yet.

Step 3 - Attach the Caliper

Before you attach the caliper to the wheel assembly, you should fit new brake pads in the caliper. Don’t re-use old ones. While you have the assembly torn apart it’s best to start with new pads instead. At this point, you’ll be ready to put the new brake calipers back on the wheel assembly. Lubricate the bolts that hold the brake calipers in place first and then tighten the bolts, making sure that the caliper is firm in place. Next, align the brake hose and tighten it down.

Step 4 - Bleed the Brakes

bleeding car brakes

Once the caliper is in place, you’ll need to bleed the brake system before you put the wheel back on. Check that the master cylinder, which is under the hood, is full. You should then attach rubber tubing to the caliper’s bleeder valve.

To bleed the brakes, you will need a second person. Open the bleeder valve then have someone in the car press down on the brake pedal. The effect of this is to force fluid through the system. That way, you eliminate the air and any debris which might be in the brake line. You need to keep going until there are no more air bubbles. Then close the bleeder valve while the brake pedal is compressed. Now, refill the brake master cylinder with brake fluid.

Step 5 - Replace Wheel

Replace the wheel and hand tighten the lugs. Lower the jack and fully tighten the lugs. Repeat the procedure for the brake calipers on the other wheel.