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Technical Tips

Brake System Inspection
– Part 3 –
How to Check the Brake Caliper and Brake Rotor

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How to Check the Brake Caliper and Brake Rotor

Once you have examined the master cylinder and brake fluid and the brake pads, the next step in inspecting the brake system is to examine the brake caliper. Picking up where Part 2 of the Brake System Inspection left off, read on to learn how to check the brake caliper and brake rotor.

Step 1 – Read Part 1 and Part 2 of the Brake System Inspection Series

Be sure to check out Part 1 (How to Check Brake Fluid) and Part 2 (how to Check Brake Pads) of the Brake Inspection series. This picks up where Part 2 ends. Be sure that the brake caliper is removed; remove the anchor bolts and lift the caliper off.

Step 2 – Look at Caliper and Slide Pin Boots

Examine the boots carefully, looking for signs of damage like rips, tears or cracks. Ensure that the caliper slide pin is moving freely.

Technician looking at caliper slide pin boots on a brake system

Step 3 – Check Out Brake Rotor

Next, look at the brake rotor. To look at the rotor, you must first get the caliper bracket out of the way by removing the two bolts that hold the caliper bracket to the steering knuckle. Use a socket wrench to remove the bracket.

Technician removing brake caliper from brake system

Look at both wear surfaces of the rotor – inner and outer. As with brake pads, it’s important to make sure the rotor surfaces are wearing evenly. Also check for signs of excessive rust buildup. Over time, rust can creep from the outside edge down into the wear surface on both the inner and outer rotors. If there are signs of rust on the friction surface, it’s an indication that the rotor should be replaced.

Technician examining brake rotor on brake system

Step 4 – Examine Caliper Hardware

While the caliper bracket is off, examine the abutment clips. Take the abutment clips off and look at where they were. Look for excessive buildup on the upper seating surface and lower seating surface. If there are signs of rust, take a wire brush or file and clean it up. If the rust isn’t removed, it can cause the brake pad to bind in the brake and could contribute to uneven wear.

Technician examining brake caliper hardware from a brake system

Step 5 – Determine What Components Need Replacing

Once you’ve completed your inspection, determine what brake components need to be replaced. Look to Wagner for premium quality brake pads and rotors to complete your repair. Learn how to perform a complete brake job by installing Wagner brake pads and rotors.

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.

Tags: Brake Pads, Braking
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