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How to Tell If Your Brake Caliper is Stuck

Jack Dreyer | Friday 15th July 2022 12:00pm

Seized brake caliper

If your carís not driving as it should do Ė such as through loss of power or pulling to one side Ė then you may have a seized brake caliper. Driving for any length of time with seized calipers can open many cans of worms when it comes to damage and repairs.

So, how do you know before itís too late that a brake caliper has seized? Read on to find out.

1. Sluggish car

One of the main ways youíll be able to tell that a brake caliper is stuck is if your car takes surprisingly long to get going. Imagine trying to pull off with the handbrake half-lifted. If youíve done this before then youíll know that the first thing that comes to mind is that the engine isnít working well. But, once you know what that feels like, itís unmistakable.

2. Car pulling to one side

Depending on which caliper is stuck, your car may pull to one side or the other. If youíre driving on a straight, level road and seem to need to keep returning the steering wheel to centre Ė then itís wise to take your car for an inspection generally, but itís likely to be a problem with either your brakes or wheel alignment and tracking.

3. Wheels & alloy hubcaps getting really hot

Brakes slow your car down by clamping onto your brake discs. This, through creating enough friction, takes all the energy out of the rotating wheels and converts it to sound and heat. When working normally, your brake pads & calipers have a chance to cool down when the brakes arenít engaged. But if the caliperís seized then the brakes will be partially engaged excessively, this may not noticeably pull your car to one side but you should notice how hot one particular wheel is getting.

In most serious cases, this can actually cause a fire, so itís important to not continue driving if you notice that your wheel or wheels are getting excessively hot. You can find more information about serious brake problems here.

4. Grinding noises

As you can imagine, the brakes constantly clamping to the brake discs usually results in a consistent grinding sound while driving. If youíre noticing any of the problems above then try driving slowly with the windows down to see if you can hear any noticeable grinding sounds.

What causes brake caliper seizing?

A huge number of things can lead to brake calipers actually seizing up. Most of the time, seizing happens for reasons such as:

  • Corrosion from long periods of inactivity (with the brakes engaged)
  • Lack of lubrication
  • Or build-up of grime and debris

In some cases, calipers can actually seize through improper installation Ė which is why you should trust the experts at your local kwik Fit when it comes to your brakes.

Our technicians are fully trained to work on brakes because their such an important element to your safety and that of everyone on the road. Trust the experts, trust Kwik Fit Ė get in touch with your local Kwik Fit Centre to book a free brake inspection.

Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.

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