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Technical Tips

Brake System Inspection Checklist

Crucial Component

To ensure that the brakes are in proper working order, the brake system should be inspected periodically. This checklist is a handy reminder of the steps you should follow when inspecting the brake system.

Check Brake Fluid


Steps to Take

  • Look at minimum and maximum fill lines on master cylinder
  • Check position of master cylinder float
  • Assess the condition of the brake fluid


For brake fluid service, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Brake fluid service can promote brake pad life and longer caliper life. When contaminants build up in brake fluid, they migrate to the lowest part of the brake system, the brake caliper. The contaminants will settle in the bottom of the brake caliper behind the caliper piston and can cause the caliper piston to bind/seize; this can shorten brake pad life and require caliper replacement to repair. Learn more about checking brake fluid.

Check Brake Pads


Steps to Take

  • Raise vehicle
  • Remove brake caliper
  • Remove brake pads from anchor bracket
  • Examine brake pads


  • Inner and outer pads should wear at the same rate
  • Uneven wear can indicate another problem
  • Excessive wear on outside pad while inside pad looks new can indicated seized slide pins
  • Inner pad wear with a like-new outer pad can point to the caliper piston dragging and not releasing when the driver takes foot off the brake pedal. Learn more about checking brake pads.

Inspect Brake Caliper


Steps to Take

  • Examine boots for damage like rips, tears or cracks
  • Ensure caliper slide pin is moving freely


If there is uneven pad wear and there are no issues with external caliper hardware (seized slide pins, brake pads binding in the caliper bracket), the cause could be a seized caliper piston or a restriction in the rubber brake hose. If the piston is hard to move or won’t move when pushing the brake caliper piston back into the brake caliper housing, crack the brake caliper fluid bleed screw loose. If the brake caliper piston now moves, this indicates a restriction in the rubber brake hose requiring brake hose replacement. If the brake caliper piston still binds or will not move with the brake caliper fluid bleed screw loosened, this indicates a concern internal to the brake caliper requiring brake caliper replacement. If brake caliper replacement is required, it is also necessary to perform a brake fluid air bleed procedure at that caliper. Learn more about checking the caliper. Learn more about checking the caliper.

Examine Brake Rotor


Steps to Take

  • Get caliper bracket out of the way
  • Look at rotor surfaces for rust


Replace rotor if surfaces are excessively worn and/or rusted. Learn more about checking the rotor.

Examine Caliper Hardware


Steps to Take

  • Remove abutment clips
  • Examine area where abutment clips sat
  • Clean any signs of rust


If the rust isn’t removed, it can cause the brake pad to bind in the brake and could contribute to uneven wear.

Learn more about quality brake pads and rotors, find your car part, or find where to buy your auto part today.

The content contained in this article is for informational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of seeking professional advice from a certified technician or mechanic. We encourage you to consult with a certified technician or mechanic if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered herein. Under no circumstances will we be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on any content.

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