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Why Is Your Brake Caliper Sticking When Hot?

Have you ever experienced a situation where slowing down a bit feels like the best solution available? Imagine yourself sprinting downhill. You don’t have any control over your speed and the only thing you can think of is a crash. This moment of realization hits your brain and the level of stress you experience is unimaginable. One can experience a similar situation while driving. Driving a vehicle should make the driver feel comfortable and safe but, sometimes the situation turns into the opposite. Brakes are the most vital component of your car. Therefore, any malfunction in the brakes can prove dangerous.

Is your brake caliper sticking when hot? This situation degrades the safety standards of your drive and ignoring this is not advised. The brake pedal is the first thing your instincts tell you to push in an unexpected situation. Sticking brake calipers indicate that there can be a possibility of a crash. A malfunctioning brake is among the most common reasons for a car crash. There can be various reasons behind the brake caliper sticking when hot.

Why Is The Brake Caliper Sticking When Hot?

There are various reasons behind your brake caliper functioning improperly. Diagnosing this problem is easy as you can figure it out from evident malfunctioning while using the brake pedal of your car. Figuring out the actual reason behind a sticking brake caliper is important so that you know the repair process.

1. Brake Caliper Bolt Sticking

Brake caliper bolts are vital components of your car’s braking mechanism. These bolts are designed to slide and are covered in a layer of rubber. The bolts function by sliding against the rotor when the brake pedal is pushed. This sliding mechanism calls for regular lubrication. The constant sliding of the rubber layer against the rotor degrades this layer. The lubricant is lost and the calliper bolts become sticky. Dust and debris cause the bolts to malfunction. Sticky brake caliper bolts might be a reason behind the sticking brake caliper.

2. Brake Caliper Sliding

The brake pad is pushed against the caliper when the pedal is pushed. The pad slides back after the brake pedal is released. A faulty sliding mechanism can be a reason behind the brake pad sticking to the caliper. A layer of dust and debris over the calliper grooves makes them sticky. Therefore, a dirty caliper decreases the efficiency of this sliding process and this leads to the brake caliper sticking when hot.

3. Broken Brake Hose

A brake hose is prone to wear and tear. A broken brake hose causes the brake fluid to flow into the piston of your car’s braking mechanism. Furthermore, a faulty brake hose is unable to channel the brake fluid back to the containing cylinder. This leads to a sticking brake caliper.

4. Damaged Brake Piston

Brake pistons are designed to avoid friction. A protective rubber layer is present over them. This layer degrades with age and causes the piston to lose efficiency. A brake piston with a torn protective layer becomes prone to dust and debris. This leads to a sticking brake caliper. A broken piston can also be a result of poor practice by your mechanic. The rubber layer is lost if a mechanic acts carelessly while installing a new brake pad. Therefore, it is important to choose a reliable mechanic for your complex machine.

How To Free A Stuck Brake Caliper Piston?

There are various ways to fix the brake calliper depending upon the diagnosis of the problem. Cleaning a particular part can help you get rid of this problem. Repairing a part is the next thing on the list. If the damage is considerably high, replacing a specific part will fix a sticky brake calliper.

1. Cleaning Brake Caliper Bolts

Brake calliper bolts turn dirty due to the constant exposure to dust and debris. A caliper bolt lacking lubricant causes a faulty brake caliper. Cleaning the calliper bolts is the first thing to do. This helps you get rid of the dust over the calliper bolts. Additionally, lubricating them properly makes them less sticky and the brake caliper won’t stick when hot. A damaged calliper can be replaced to fix the problem if cleaning it doesn’t give any results.

2. Replacing Brake Hose

Brake hoses are inexpensive to replace and a broken hose must be replaced. Brake fluid leaks out of a broken brake hose. This fluid causes a sticky brake caliper. A new brake hose will help you get rid of the leaking brake fluid. Unnecessary brake fluid flowing into the piston causes stickiness in the brake caliper when it turns considerably hot.

3. Brake Piston Replacement

Brake piston replacement is an easy solution to a complex problem. The piston can lose efficiency with time and the rubber layer over the piston wears out. A faulty piston leads to a dirty calliper which acts sticky. Therefore, a new brake piston acts as a completely fresh braking mechanism for your car. If you observe your brake caliper seized when hot, a new brake piston might help you get rid of this problem.

Common Symptoms Of A Sticking Brake Caliper

There are various things you can experience while driving to be sure about a sticky brake calliper. A car pulling itself to one side indicates a malfunctioning calliper. The sticky calliper side pulls the vehicle in its direction. Sometimes, you might experience that your car slows down on its own. Automatically lowering speed indicates that the sticky brake calliper is causing the brake pad to experience constant contact with the rotor. This scenario is easy to judge and you should get the calliper checked in such a situation. A brake caliper sticking after pad replacement leads to bad gas mileage. This happens because your vehicle experiences unintentional brakes. Excessive heat from the wheel is also a symptom of a sticky caliper. Constant pressure exerted by the brake pad creates friction. Furthermore, this friction leads to the generation of heat.

Frequently Asked Questions:

So,here are some of the frequently asked questions about what causes brake calipers to not release, what would make brake calipers stick etc?-

What Causes Brake Calipers To Not Release?

The cause of your brakes not releasing is a seized caliper. This mainly occurs due to ageing and then you will notice your vehicle pulling to one side when you press down.

What Would Make Brake Calipers Stick?

Brake callipers stick because Sometimes the brake pad shims get stuck , or they just get corroded. The pads can not slide correctly in and out.

Can I Spray WD40 On My Brake Calipers?

WD40 should not be put on your Brake callipers as it can reduce friction where it is needed and even break down. While spraying WD40 may reduce a brake squeal,  not to function correctly when you need them most.

Can A Stuck Caliper Fix Itself?

Replacing the faulty calliper is an option that can be a lot more cost-effective. The process involves disassembly and cleaning before replacing rubber parts and even the piston itself.

Can You Replace Just One Caliper?

You can replace the callipers in pairs. If one side is damaged, then replace the callipers. If only one calliper is replaced, you will get to know the brake imbalance between the front wheels and tires.

How Much Should It Cost To Replace Brake Calipers?

If you’d like a loaded brake calliper with brake pads, you can expect to pay between $100 and $500 for a calliper.


A Brake caliper sticking when hot, is a matter of concern. The braking mechanism of your car should be completely functional, without any obstruction. An efficient brake caliper, not only upgrades the safety standards of your driving experience but also makes your vehicle even more fuel-efficient. A car equipped with a properly functioning brake calliper is less prone to a crash. Therefore, you must not overlook this problem and get it fixed on priority.

Stay safe and keep driving

Thank you