How often do you replace brake calipers?

ls1mike

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Just a question. I only replace them if they leak, cannot be reset or fail a visual inspection. (I know things are different in the rust belt)

I have replaced maybe 6 over all of the sets of brakes I have done. The two rears on the Ford 500 I just did (wouldn't reset 170,000 miles), one on my 1998 Z28(110,000 miles) when one of the caliper pins seized, one on my 98 Regal (crossed thread caliper pin), and 2 on a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee (leaked 200,000 miles).

I ask because I was talking to a very good friend last night, and he said he was getting ready to do the brakes on his 17 3/4 Duramax (76,000 miles) and his wife's 17 Denali Terrain (65,000 miles). He said pads, rotors and calipers. I asked "Calipers?" He said yes you have to replace them every time you do a brake job, and he changes them every time he does a set of brakes. Except for Les Schawb I have never really seen anyone just replace calipers if they are fine. He thinks I am crazy that I still have the original calipers on everything I own (well I don't know if they are on the 1997 K1500).
 
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I replace them more these days since decent new ones are available for a fair price. If it is rotten or sticking and multiple piston that cost more to rebuild and the new is available than new out it goes, on most Euro and old timers its a rebuild no matter what. We are talking cars in the extreme salt belt here not down south out out west.
 

ls1mike

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I replace them more these days since decent new ones are available for a fair price. If it is rotten or sticking and multiple piston that cost more to rebuild and the new is available than new out it goes, on most Euro and old timers its a rebuild no matter what. We are talking cars in the extreme salt belt here not down south out out west.
But it sounds like you do it based off condition. We don't have rust here. The kids 1997 looks new underneath. I just can't imagine replacing a caliper that is in perfect working condition.
 
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Old habits die hard for some people?

You wouldn’t believe what some believe…

I replace when I have a reason. Usually for outright failure. I did proactively replace a pair as I thought they were likely bad, based on the prior set being so, and numerous other owners having similar track record.
 
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But it sounds like you do it based off condition. We don't have rust here. The kids 1997 looks new underneath. I just can't imagine replacing a caliper that is in perfect working condition.
No way, I don't throw parts out that are working fine. If the pistons are not sticking, the bleeders are not rotted in place and the pin bores are not rotten they get lubed up. bled and back in service the go.
 
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No way, I don't throw parts out that are working fine. If the pistons are not sticking, the bleeders are not rotted in place and the pin bores are not rotten they get lubed up. bled and back in service the go.
Same here. At the first hint of an issue the problem is addressed. If it ain't broke I don't fix it.
 
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Over 20 years of wrenching on cars for myself and family/some friends in the rust belt - never replaced a caliper. Seals - once. A slide pin - once or twice (and one time was just because). Bleed screws - yep.
I have had to replace a bunch of them over the years (50 years to be exact). I just did one that an old timer had that did not have many miles on it, the hub was bad so in we go, brake caliper rotten beyond repair, brake shield rotted away and non existent, abs sensor rotten and broken bolt from someone trying to remove it before. Ball joint pinch bolt broken off, ball joint rotten in place and a cracked knuckle, the brake hose was all cracked.
Lower control arms rusting through (no other rust underneath) and leaking struts with badly rusted mounts and bad bearings.

The tie rods were replaced at some point and they did not align it, the front tires are new but feathered on the outside edge from excessive toe.
They did not use never seize on anything and the tie rods were rotten in place, even a smoke wrench and 24" pipe wrench would not loosen them, replace both inner and outer. It goes on, broken bolts that needed to be drilled and strut bolt that needed a smoke wrench and big nasty to remove and more. This is not an exception with some cars, others not so bad but just as bad in other ways.
 
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Just a question. I only replace them if they leak, cannot be reset or fail a visual inspection. (I know things are different in the rust belt)

I have replaced maybe 6 over all of the sets of brakes I have done. The two rears on the Ford 500 I just did (wouldn't reset 170,000 miles), one on my 1998 Z28(110,000 miles) when one of the caliper pins seized, one on my 98 Regal (crossed thread caliper pin), and 2 on a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee (leaked 200,000 miles).

I ask because I was talking to a very good friend last night, and he said he was getting ready to do the brakes on his 17 3/4 Duramax (76,000 miles) and his wife's 17 Denali Terrain (65,000 miles). He said pads, rotors and calipers. I asked "Calipers?" He said yes you have to replace them every time you do a brake job, and he changes them every time he does a set of brakes. Except for Les Schawb I have never really seen anyone just replace calipers if they are fine. He thinks I am crazy that I still have the original calipers on everything I own (well I don't know if they are on the 1997 K1500).
Ford trucks are terrible on brakes. I changed my 2011 sierra 3500hd tow truck brakes at 125k and they still had about 15-20k worth of material on them.

Calipers have lifetime warranty when you buy them at a parts store so since I live in Chicago the winters make the slide pins rust so it's easier for me to replace the whole caliper instead of screwing with just the pins every 4or ,5 years.
 
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I never had to replace a brake caliper. I have however replaced the seals
on a handful of them and on one MC (30 years ago). Not even sure if I'd
do that again.
.
 
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When the front brakes on my 1998 Nissan Frontier started dragging (while my dad still owned it), I replaced the pads, calipers, and brake hoses and bled the brakes till the fluid was clear.

Not sure which of that actually was the cause of the problem, but I didn't want to spend a lot of time on it so I figured I'd replace those original parts on a then 21-year-old pickup that were most likely to cause the problem.

The problem hasn't come back, so it worked out.
 
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Well, back when my older brother (real mechanic) needed money, he decided my 73 FireChicken with the 69 400/400 needed new front calipers, I got new calipers. Brakes worked almost as good as before...
 
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I’ve replaced two three master cylinders in my life, one caliper on a friends used Camry, and watched dad replace one when I was a kid. ive had more drum brake cylinders fail from aged rubber. Dad’s… never had brake fluid flushed, and I’d say the same for the Camry. Not sure why the master cylinders failed.
 
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I only replace when it is not working right or leaking and I cannot rebuild at a reasonable price.

I sold my 06 Mazda 3 with over 200k on the clock in 2020 with original calipers that had 11 winters in Ontario Canada. I lubed the pins and checked for leaks every spring though.

Another thing to consider, if replacing with aftermarket, OEM are the best quality calipers on your vehicle and aftermarket units are in most cases a step down.
Once you go with cheap aftermarket units, changing them with pads may actually be a good idea. And perhaps that’s how your friend arrived with this practice, after he got a bad one. Except he thinks OEM units are the same as aftermarket ones.
 
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AutoMechanic

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I’ve replaced calipers. Mostly on high mileage older vehicles. On my personal vehicles we have replaced both on my Escape and both on my truck. Rest of the stuff we have still has original calipers. Only one was bad on my truck but I went ahead and done both as I learned in school you should do both together however I see no problem with replacing just the bad one after I learned some more about it.
 
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