Quick Temporary Fix For Stuck Brake Caliper (How To Unstick)

When in doubt, use a hammer. There are two ways to fix a problem. The first way is to use the correct method. The second way is to use a hammer. Don’t laugh, a hammer has fixed many stuck objects in cars, RVs, and homes. Sometimes all you need is a little friendly persuasion to get the problem solved.

The hammer is the quickest fix if it works. If it doesn’t, you may have to replace the calipers, rotors, and brake lines to make sure it is fixed. Sometimes, there may be a problem with the hose. If it corrodes it can cut off brake fluid from helping the calipers stop your RV

To learn more about this problem, just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about so you can do a quick fix on your brakes when you need to. Take a few minutes to see how this important information can help you.

What is a Stuck Brake Caliper?


The caliper is what operates your brakes. If it gets rusty it can stick and not do its job properly. This can take place if the caliper pistons and boot get rusty or damaged. or you may have a problem with the emergency brake cable.

All a stuck caliper is, is a part that doe snot function like it was designed to work. There are several reasons for this situation to arise. The piston and boot are just one of at least 6 reasons.

The boot is made of rubber and its job is to keep dust, etc., from entering the piston area. If it does, that dust, etc., can cause the caliper to break, rust, or get stuck. When that happens, the brake and the wheel on your RV can overheat and possibly start a fire.

This is not a situation you can wait to fix. You have to take care of it right away.

What Causes a Stuck Brake Caliper?

There are 6 reasons why the caliper could get stuck. We just mentioned one of those reasons and the other 5 are as follows:

1. Rusty & stuck brake pads- this takes place when moisture, dust, and other elements get to the brake pads. it will also happen if the brake fluid is not reaching its destination and not lubricating the brake pads.

2. The caliper guide pin- is exactly what it says. This pin helps guide the caliper and enables it to slide in and out of place easily. If it gets dirty, that smooth operation stops. They also have rubber boots to protect them but they can get damaged as well.

3. Parking brake cable- this part can rust and get dirty. It is connected to the caliper on most vehicles and when it does get dirty, etc., it will interfere with the caliper and keep it from doing its job.

4. Broken brake hose- this is the part that transports the brake fluid to the braking system. If it breaks, the calipers and pads will not get the lubrication they need to work.

5. Dirty or old brake fluid- for some reason this fluid draws a lot of water from the air. If this fluid gets old or dirty, then that moisture is sent to the brakes causing the pads to rust and get stuck

What Does a Stuck Brake Caliper Sound Like?

The brake caliper may not make any noise. It may and again it may not. If you do hear it, then the sound should be more like metal rubbing against metal. Or you may hear a slight rumbling sound.

Any sound you may hear will depend on the design of the braking system. Usually, you should hear a metal-on-metal sound because the brake fluid is not getting to the caliper or brake pads.

There is no lubrication protecting the metal parts and after a while, they will start rubbing each other. You may also hear some squealing when you press the brake pedal down. If it is bad enough, you won’t have to press the brake pedal at all. You will hear it the moment you start driving.

Can a Sticking Brake Caliper Cause Vibration?


Yes, it can. The amount of vibration will depend on how bad the caliper is stuck and how fast you are going. If you drive at a fast speed, you should feel quite a bit of vibration including having it come through your steering wheel.

In most cases, the vibrations will start when you press the brake pedal. But the vibration you feel can come from other sources than the caliper. You would have to check the different parts, axle, engine, and so on, before concluding it is your brakes that are the source of the problem.

The biggest clue you will have for the source will be your brake pedal. If the vibration starts when you press it and stops when you release the pedal, then you know it is your brake caliper causing the problem.

What Does a Stuck Brake Caliper Feel Like?

It does not feel good. When you press that brake pedal down you can get a weird feeling in your stomach as you know the car is not responding correctly. That feeling will come from one of the following situations:

#1. The car is pulling in the wrong direction. By that, we mean that you will feel a pull in the wheel where the caliper is stuck. You could go left or you could go right.

#2. You will feel a slow down when you are driving. What that means is that you are not pressing the brake pedal and your car is automatically slowing down. When that happens you know you have a brake problem.

Neither feeling is good and you may get an upset stomach thinking you may have an accident or you are in store for a large repair bill. Checking your braking system regularly will help you avoid this feeling.

Is a Stuck Brake Caliper Dangerous?

Yes! There is no nice way to put this answer. it is a very dangerous situation to be in as you may not stop in time and hit the car in front of you. go through a stop sign or red light and be hit, or you can hit someone walking across the road, etc.

That is the non-mechanical danger. The mechanical danger starts with your transmission being worn out sooner than it normally will. Too much stress is placed on it and you could ruin that vital part.

Or, you can overheat the brakes causing a nice little fire that ruins your tire, wheel, and suspension. Do not touch the hub cap or the wheel when you smell your brake burning. You could get burnt if you do.

These are just some of the risks involved when you drive with a stuck brake caliper. If you are not careful, the pulling to one side can have you hit the curb, a tree, or a fence. Get to a repair shop as quickly and as safely as you can to get the problem fixed asap.

Can Sticking Brake Calipers Be Repaired?


Again the answer is in the positive. Yes, they can be repaired. You can rebuild the caliper, etc., lubricate it or even clean it if the damage is not severe. However, if the caliper keeps getting stuck when those option has been used, then you have to do the last-ditch option.

If they keep getting stuck after repairing, then you need to replace the calipers. depending on your vehicle, you may not like the cost of replacement. Some estimates range between $225 to over $1000, depending on the type of car you own. Those figures include parts and labor.

Repairing may be cheaper but it is not always the best option to use. The calipers may be too far gone to repair them and you will be faced with a high replacement cost.

Can a Stuck Brake Caliper Fix Itself?

We have not seen any information that says the brake caliper can fix itself. The only occasion where this might take place would be if some dirt got stuck in there and the caliper was able to work that dirt out as you pumped the brake pedal.

Usually, to unstick a caliper, you or a mechanic would have to jack up the car, take the tire and wheel off and work on the caliper. The braking system in a car, truck, or RV is not usually made to be self-cleaning. They are made to keep dirt out and brake the vehicle only.

You will have to get your hands dirty if you want the caliper to work correctly again. It takes some time to repair a stuck caliper so make sure to give yourself that time.

Emergency Fix For Stuck Brake Caliper

There does not seem to be an emergency fix that is quick and easy to do. The only one that would be possible in most cases would be to call a tow truck and have them tow you to the nearest repair shop.

Most people do not carry the right tools to fix a brake, let alone a caliper when they get stuck. You can jack up your car but you would need a sledge hammer, hammer, screwdriver, and other tools to work on the part.

Out of those options, the hammer would be the best one when you are in a hurry. Sometimes hitting the caliper with a hammer will knock it loose and it should work fine again. The key is not to hit the caliper too hard. You just want to unstick it, not rearrange its look.

But, this option may not work and you will have to get help.

How To Unstick Brake Caliper While Driving


You do have to stop the car to do this. But when you are on the road and not near your home or a repair shop, you can try to lubricate the caliper. You can do this by pumping the brake pedal or you can remove the tire and put some lubricant directly on the caliper in hopes of unsticking it.

Not all braking systems will allow the latter option. The problem with fixing it while you are on the road is that most people do not carry spare brake parts with them. if you do, then you can simply take the time to replace the bad caliper.

This will take some time to do and you will get dirty. But if you are a good mechanic or good with your hands, then it should not take that long to do.

How To Unstick a Brake Caliper on The Road

If you are not mechanically inclined, then you should head to the nearest brake shop and have them fix it for you. The work is involved and you need the right spare parts to fix the caliper. As we said already, sometimes the hammer solution will not work and you will have to get your hands dirty.

But the steps are, to jack up your car, take the wheel off, and then first clean the brake pads. Then remove the caliper and clean it. Once that is done, lubricate the caliper, rotor, pin, slide, and pad. Put the parts back on your car and then put the wheel back on.

You can do that or call the emergency roadside service where you are a member and let them handle it.

Some Final Words

A stuck caliper is not a part you want to play with. It is an important part of your car that keeps you and your family safe. If you are not mechanically inclined and you are not at home, it is a good idea to have an emergency roadside service membership. They will do the work for you. They can also get the parts and come with the right tools.

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