Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Fully loaded brake caliper

Why shops install a fully loaded brake caliper on every brake job

A typical brake caliper lasts about 150,000 miles. After that, the rubber components deteriorate. The square cut O-ring worn out brake caliperloses it elastic properties which causes the caliper piston to remain extended. The rubber caliper piston dust boot cracks and tears, allowing moisture into the piston/bore area, which causes corrosion. And, the caliper slide pin boots fail, allowing water into the pin bores, which causes the pins to seize.

The shop should replace a brake caliper if it’s leaking, has torn dust boots, seized caliper piston or the caliper piston doesn’t release properly causing brake drag.

But some shops install a fully loaded brake caliper on every brake job. Why?

Because they make more money and stocking fully loaded brake calipers reduces their inventory.

What is a fully loaded brake caliper?

It’s a brake caliper that has been completely rebuilt and assembled with new rubber components, anti-rattle clips, noise reduction shims and brand new brake pads.

If the vehicle needs a new brake caliper, the technician simply unboxes the fully loaded unit and installs it on the vehicle. That saves a minuscule amount of shop time (5-mins. max) compared to installing an unloaded or semi-loaded brake caliper.

semi-loaded versus fully loaded brake caliper

Fully loaded brake calipers are good for the shop but bad for you

Stocking fully loaded brake calipers makes life much easier (and more profitable) for the shop. But if that’s what the shop stocks, that’s what you’re going to get, whether you need it or not. If you vehicle doesn’t really need need brake calipers and the shop doesn’t stock just the brake pads, you’ll be pressured into buying calipers—it’s really that simple.

When repair shops stock fully loaded calipers, every customer gets a new caliper!

©, 2019 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat

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