Brake Calipers

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Brake Calipers: Explained

Brake calipers are the metal housing for brake pads and is positioned over the brake disc rotor like a clamp. When the driver applies pressure to the brake pedal, the hydraulic system initiate contact with the pads on the rotor to reduce vehicle speed through friction.

Common problems

Suboptimal braking conditions will create inefficiency of operation, so the manufacturers endeavour to combat any problems. Noise levels generated by braking is a factor to consider and preferably to minimise. Brake dust is an inevitable and unwanted by-product, a problem that should ideally be kept to a minimum. A well designed brake caliper will have sufficient protection against dust interrupting its functionality, although maintenance also plays an important part. Brake fade occurs when the temperature of the brake pad surface in contact with the brake disc loses its stopping power.

Caliper upgrades

The majority of stock brake caliper are typically made from iron or steel, both of which are fine for road use. Track focused cars will require an upgraded unit, often made from aluminium, alloy or ceramic and offer increased strength and performance at a lower weight. Upgraded brake calipers achieve increased stopping efficiency by increasing the caliper piston area impacting the rotor radius, achieved by increasing the size and/or number of pistons. Remember when upgrading brake calipers the space between brake discs and the alloy wheel interior is a limiting factor. Unfortunately, this isn’t an exact science where measurements can be taken and considered, so there may be an element of trial and error. Changing the alloy wheel size to generate more clearance is an option

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