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Brake caliper: what is it and how to use it?

The brake caliper is an essential part of a vehicle's braking system, and its primary function is to stop or slow the wheels by applying pressure to the brake discs. At SDT brakes, we will explain in detail what a brake caliper is, how it works and how it is used in the context of your car's braking system.

What is a brake caliper?

A brake caliper is a crucial component of a car's disc brake system. Its design resembles a clamp or caliper that surrounds a brake disc, also known as a rotor. Brake calipers are responsible for applying the pressure necessary to stop or slow the wheels in motion by generating friction against the brake discs.

Function of the brake caliper

The primary function of the brake caliper is to convert the kinetic energy of the wheels into heat through the friction generated by the brake pads. This heat dissipates the kinetic energy and stops the wheel from moving. Here is how it works in detail:

- Hydraulic pressure: the vehicle's hydraulic brake system is responsible for sending brake fluid under pressure to the brake caliper. Hydraulic pressure is generated by the brake pedal and transferred through the brake lines.

- Brake pads: Inside the brake caliper is a series of brake pads. These pads are lined with high-strength friction material and are in constant contact with the brake discs.

- Friction generation: When the brake pedal is applied, hydraulic pressure pushes the brake pads towards the brake disc. This contact generates friction, which converts the kinetic energy of the wheels into heat.

- Stopping or slowing: the friction generated by the brake pads slows the wheels down or stops them completely, depending on the amount of pressure applied to the brake pedal.

How to use a brake caliper?

Using a brake caliper is relatively simple, but it is important to do it properly to ensure safe and effective braking. Here are the basic steps for using a brake caliper:

- Normal driving: when driving your car, keep your feet off the brake pedal and allow the vehicle to move forward or coast normally.

- Braking: whenever you need to slow down or stop the car, gradually apply pressure to the brake pedal with your foot.

- Progressive pressure: pressure on the brake pedal should be applied progressively and steadily. Avoid abrupt braking or pedal shocks.

- Speed control: modulate brake pedal pressure as necessary to control the speed of your vehicle.

- Emergency braking: In emergency braking situations, apply firm, quick pressure to the brake pedal. The brake system should respond to stop the vehicle as quickly as possible.

- Maintenance: Be sure to perform regular maintenance on the brake system, including checking brake pads and calipers, to ensure safe and efficient braking.

Best brands of brake calipers

Choosing the best brake caliper brands can depend on several factors, such as the type of vehicle you have, the performance you are looking for and your budget. Here are some of the brake caliper brands that are known for offering high quality products:

1. Brembo:

Brembo is one of the most recognized brands in the world of high performance brake calipers. They are known for manufacturing quality brake calipers for sports and luxury vehicles.

2. Wilwood:

Wilwood Engineering is another leading brand in performance brake calipers. They offer a wide range of options from racing brake calipers to high performance brake systems for custom cars.

3. Alcon:

A British brand that supplies high-performance brake calipers to many brands of sports cars and racing cars in WRC rallies and circuits in WTCR.

4. AP Racing:

Is a British brand that supplies high performance brake calipers to many sports and racing car brands.

5. Akebono:

The Japanese brand known for its high quality brake systems, including brake calipers, which are often used on luxury vehicles.


In short, the brake caliper is a crucial part of your vehicle's disc brake system and plays a vital role in your driving safety. Use it properly by following these tips and perform proper maintenance to make sure it works properly at all times.


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