What Are the Symptoms of a Sticky Brake Caliper?


Most people have experienced a sticky brake caliper at least once in their lifetime. You’ve probably gone to shift the car into park, or maybe even just pulled up to a stoplight, only to have the brake pedal sink down into nothingness. And while these situations are rarely dangerous, they can still be annoying. If you’re wondering what causes this problem and how it can be fixed, read on!

The Brake Pedal Sinks to the Floor

If your brake pedal sinks to the floor and is not being depressed, it’s possible that there is a problem with your brakes. The most common symptom of this issue is a loss of brake pedal effort (the amount of force required to depress the brake pedal).

If this happens, you should have an inspector check out your car immediately. Your brakes may be worn out or damaged beyond repair if any part of them has been compromised by moisture damage or corrosion from road salt or other environmental elements such as snow/ice melt water which could cause rusting around bolts inside calipers on cars that were driven through harsh winter conditions regularly like northern states do every year where they experience long periods without rain at all times (like Minnesota).

The symptoms of a sticking brake caliper can be similar to those of a brake fluid leak. In most cases, when there is a brake fluid leak, the pedal will drop lower than normal but still have some resistance when depressed.

Loud Grinding or Squealing Sound

If you hear a loud grinding or squealing sound, it may be time to replace your brake calipers. This can happen when the rubber pads wear down and start rubbing against the metal surfaces of your brake calipers, causing them to screech as they glide along each other.

If this is happening to you, here’s how to fix it:

First off, make sure that there aren’t any issues with the way your car was assembled (such as loose screws). Also, check if there are any cracks in either or both sides of each cylinder; if so then this could be causing issues with how well these parts fit together (and therefore causing wear).

Once everything looks good on paper—that is if it seems like an easy fix once I’ve checked everything else out—then we’ll move on to fixing our sticky situation by replacing these old worn-out parts with new ones!

Unusual Smell

If there is a smell of burning rubber or hot metal coming from your brakes, this could be an indication that the caliper is sticking.

A sticky brake caliper will have a distinct smell that can be difficult to describe—it may smell like burning rubber or hot metal, or it could even be reminiscent of burnt oil. Whatever it smells like for you, if you notice this smell when stopping at high speeds and then slowing down again (or even during normal driving conditions), then there’s a good chance that your brake pads need replacing soon!

Brakes Feel Sticky or Grabby

If you’re driving down a hill, and the brakes feel like they are grabbing, or that they don’t want to release when you step on them:

You may have an issue with your brake caliper. This can cause a lot of issues for drivers who use their vehicles for work purposes because it means that the driver’s feet are not being supported by the pedals properly. If this is happening and you’re driving in an emergency situation, then there’s no time for fixing it!

Another sign that your brake caliper might be faulty would be if it’s difficult for you pull up on one side of the car while pushing down on another side without causing any issues with stopping ability (i.e., “grabbing”).

Car Pulls to One Side While Braking

If one side of your car pulls to one side while braking, it could be a sign of a sticky brake caliper.

If you hear a grinding sound when applying the brakes, this is another way that your brakes are not working well and may need adjustment or replacement.


If you notice any of these symptoms, your brake caliper may need to be replaced. The best way to determine if it’s time for a new one is to have the vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic. They can give you an estimate on how much it will cost, or even do some repairs before they order a replacement unit.


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