Your Complete Guide to Brake Caliper Replacement Cost

Your Complete Guide to Brake Caliper Replacement Cost

Your braking system is by far the most important part of your vehicle because it is relied on to keep you safe every time you are on the road. The brake calipers are the part of that system that actually apply braking pressure, which makes them a key component. If you believe your calipers are going bad, or they have already stopped working, you need to get them fixed right away.

The brake caliper replacement cost will vary significantly based on a number of different factors. Things like the type of vehicle, the cost of living in your area, and whether you are having a mechanic do the repair or not will all impact your total out of pocket cost.

In addition to how much it will cost to replace your brake calipers, you may need to know more about the diagnostic and repair of this key part of your vehicle so you can make the right decisions.

On this page you will find all the information you need to help you understand what brake calipers are, how they are replaced, and approximately how much it should cost.

Estimated Brake Caliper Replacement Cost

On average, you should be able to get your brake calipers replaced for under $1,000 out the door. This will include the new calipers for all four wheels as well as the labor to have a professional complete the job. Keep in mind that this is just an estimate, and your cost will go up or down based on one or more of the following factors:

  • Quality of Calipers Used
  • Hourly Rate of Mechanic
  • Replacing Caliper on Just Two Wheels
  • Additional Problems Discovered During Repair

How Often do Brake Calipers Need to Be Replaced?

While replacing your brake calipers is not exactly a cheap task, it is not something that you will have to do very often. In fact, most vehicles never need to have the calipers replaced. The calipers are a very simple part that use hydraulic pressure to force your brake pads to push against the rotor of the wheel, which creates the friction needed to slow the vehicle down.

Since the calipers perform such a simple task, and they are made out of very durable materials, they will generally last a very long time.

Driving on Bad Calipers

Things on vehicles often seem to go bad at the most inconvenient times. If you do not have the money readily available to replace your brake calipers, you might be tempted to put off this repair for a few weeks until you can get the money. Unfortunately, driving with bad brake calipers is not only extremely dangerous, but it can also cause damage to your brake pads, rotors, and other things. Because of this, you should never drive a vehicle with a bad caliper.

Symptoms of a Bad Brake Caliper

It is usually very easy to diagnose a bad brake caliper in your vehicle. When the caliper fails, or is on the verge of going bad, you will experience some very obvious symptoms. In the vast majority of cases, you will quickly notice constant braking, no braking, and/or brake fluid leaking.

Constant Braking

When a caliper has sized up it might be stuck in a position where it is applying brake pressure. When this is the case, you will notice that the wheel with the bad caliper is constantly braking. Your vehicle will pull in the direction of the wheel with the sized caliper. You will also notice that your vehicle is slowing down more than normal even when you are not applying the brake.

No Braking

If the caliper has sized up in the open position, you will not get any brake pressure on the wheel with the bad caliper. When this is the problem, you will notice that it is more difficult to slow down, and your vehicle pulls in the opposite direction of the side where the bad caliper is located. This symptom is much less common than the constant braking because the hydraulics will almost always be able to force the caliper into braking position.

Brake Fluid Leaking

The last symptom to watch for is brake fluid leaking from around one of your wheels. Brake fluid is generally easy to identify when it is leaking from your vehicle as it will have a yellow or light brown color. Determining the color can be easily done by touching a clean white paper towel to the spot where it leaked.

If your vehicle is leaking brake fluid from one of the calipers, you need to get it fixed immediately. While your vehicle may seem like it is stopping normally, your brakes will completely stop working if all of the fluid leaks out. If you find that your vehicle is leaking brake fluid, make sure to clean it up and dispose of it properly since it is flammable and toxic.

Side view of the brake caliper without brake pads

Do You Have to Replace All the Calipers at Once?

Your vehicle will either have two brake calipers or four depending on the brake system. If you want to try to minimize the cost of replacing brake calipers, you may want to consider only replacing the one that has gone bad.

It is typically recommended that if you must replace one brake caliper, you at least replace both of them on the same axel. This means if you have a brake caliper that is bad on the front driver’s side wheel, you need to replace the front passenger side as well. You can leave the rear calipers (if there are any) for another time. This is because the calipers on the same axel work together to properly stop the vehicle, so having them both replaced will ensure proper operation.

Is Replacing Calipers a Do-It-Yourself Job?

Replacing brake calipers on your vehicle is not a terribly complex job. It is made even easier by the fact that the calipers are located right in the wheel well of the car, so it is generally pretty easy to access them. If you have the right tools and can are comfortable working on your vehicle, this may be a job that you can tackle on your own, which could save you hundreds of dollars.

The specific steps required to change your own brake calipers is outside the scope of this article, it is an option you may want to consider. Since you will be working with your braking system, however, you will want to be absolutely certain that you can complete the job properly. In addition, once you are done with the job, make sure to test your brakes out in a safe area at low speeds to ensure everything is working correctly.

Save Time & Money by Replacing Brake Pads & Rotors at the Same Time

When replacing brake calipers, you are going to have to completely remove each wheel, take off the caliper and brake pads, and take it all apart. This process is actually the most time-consuming step in the whole repair.

Bad calipers often damage the brake pads and rotor because of the improper pressure applied. Even if that is not the case, it is not unlikely that your pads and/or rotors will be worn at this point. Since you already have everything ready, it will only take a few extra minutes to replace your brake pads and rotors. The additional cost of replacing your pads and rotors will be significantly reduced since everything will already be exposed.

Enjoy a Safe Ride With New Brake Calipers

Replacing your brake calipers can hardly be called a pleasant task, but when it is done you can be confident that your vehicle will stop safely every time you push the brakes. If you suspect you have any problems with your calipers, make sure you get them fixed or replaced as soon as possible now that you know the replacement cost of brake calipers.