“Brake caliper bolt stuck” and also “caliper mounting bolt stuck” aren’t unit volume I’ve heard everyone say, but thanks to Google they’re likely why you’re analysis this. World googled those phrases, and similar ones, over 10,000 times last year. Which method having a grounding caliper bolt is miscellaneous bugging several people. Stuck or frozen caliper bolts are one of the problems that come from reusing old parts throughout a brake job. Here’s a link to the Carlson sales support page, if you need to order brand-new bolts.

You are watching: How to loosen brake caliper bolts

A few years ago, ns was driving down a neighborhood street near my home, as soon as a dog darted in front of my car. Ns hit the brakes and, a moment later, heard a shout to my right. Ns looked and saw a big man running towards me indigenous his driveway. The ran approximately the former of my vehicle yelling and also slammed his hands under on mine hood.

As the turned out, his dog (and my hood) to be fine. But the next day I chose to look at my brakes. Ns wasn’t sure, yet in the turmoil, I thought I’d heard lock squeak. And when ns looked, ns saw liquid at the basic of my best front wheel. That led to me make the efforts to eliminate my calipers and, eventually, heading to view Dave, the mechanic in ~ the Sunoco terminal a block away. It to be my introduction to “caliper mounting bolt stuck.”

For this reason — grounding caliper bolts — Carlson recommends instead of them anytime you replace your calipers. Law so provides sense. Her brakes room a mechanism that is placed under massive pressure and also over months and years. Eventually, things wear out and also rust. And also it’s not simply calipers and also rotors and pads, yet the nuts and bolts — the hardware holding points in place.

What Caliper Mounting Bolts Are and Aren’t…

First, a word around what we’re not talking about…

Nor are we talking about bleeder valves, bleed screws, banjo bolts or anything the holds on brake lines or allows you bleed the brakes.

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What us are talking around are what girlfriend see over — the bolts which host calipers onto your automobile or truck. Remove them and your calipers fall off. Plain and also simple. They’re often called “caliper bracket bolts” due to the fact that they affix to the component of her caliper dubbed the bracket, and also hold it tight to the spindle or steering knuckle.

Torque Talk…

Now a word around torque, the twisting force that tightens a bolt.

Because caliper bolts have to stay on, they need a many torque. AutoZone, for example, proposal 113 pound feet that torque. To placed that number in perspective, the average person can, follow to NASA, apply about 15 pound feet through a bare hand. A heavy-duty drill can produce up to around 45 lb feet of speak — “pound feet” being a method torque is measured. (There are other ways, such together newton meters, that ns won’t enter here. Some civilization say “foot pounds” rather of “pound feet,” i beg your pardon is both close and also understandable, but technically not correct.)

If you’re wondering how to measure torque, a good way is to use a torque wrench. Here’s a wonderfully clean two-minute video about talk wrenches, if you want or require to discover more, by the YouTube mechanic kris Fix…


Brake Caliper Bolt Stuck?

So you’ve acquired a grounding caliper bolt. It may be old or rusty or overtightened. It may an original bolt that you or who reused when they changed a caliper. In any case, it’s stuck: what carry out you do?

For starters, when you’re managing a prior wheel, it’s pretty to have the ability to turn it ideal or left. That have the right to make it less complicated to acquire at things, specifically these bolts. So unlocking your car’s steering wheel, while maintaining the car off, will let you carry out that.

Once you’ve uncovered the bolts, it’s yes, really handy to have actually a breaker bar. A breaker bar is a long wrench-like bar the doesn’t ratchet. Using it with wrench-style sockets, you deserve to pull increase or bear down on the take care of to produce a good deal the torque.

Generally one to 2 feet long, breaker bars give you length and the length offers you leverage. Often it’s sufficient leverage come “break” a stuck caliper bolt complimentary when it’s been tightened to 100+ lb feet that torque.

Below is a breaker bar and also socket my mechanic was using to loosen a caliper mounting bolt top top a GMC Sierra.

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Here are web links to breaker bars in ~ Amazon and AutoZone.

Extending Breaker Bars

A breaker bar and socket may not it is in enough. The “caliper mounting bolt stuck” you’re dealing might be old or rusty. It may have been over-torqued in the very first place. Or it might be you have an enlarge vehicle, and the calipers to be replaced however not the bolts.

A helper bar or cheater bar can offer you even an ext leverage. Basically, this is a item of pipe you right over her wrench or breaker bar to offer you much more length. And with that included length, you’ll it is in able to apply much much more leverage and torque ~ above the stuck bolt.

In the following one-minute YouTube video, Nick Stageberg put a 3-foot galvanized pipe on a one-foot breaker bar. He’s loosening a lug nut rather than a “brake caliper bolt stuck” — yet the idea is the exact same either way. He’s got, together he place it, “a hard nut.” and he describes it well.


“Archimedes said, ‘With a big enough lever, I deserve to move the world,” Stageberg said in the video. Yet that’s no the only way to walk at a “brake caliper bolt stuck.”

Using a Wrench

There’s a different way to go the doesn’t indicate a breaker bar.

Eric the auto Guy is a YouTube mechanic who’s created hundreds the videos and has end a million subscribers. In making the video below ~ above “How to Diagnose and also Replace a poor Brake Caliper,” the ran into two hard caliper bolts.

At the 12-minute mark, that encounters two rusty bolts, which he calls “fasteners.” and also they’re rusty and stuck sufficient that he sets beside his breaker bar because that a wrench that gives him an ultra-tight fit on the bolts.

His wrench extends turn off camera but it shows up to be at the very least 12 customs long, and also perhaps a few inches more. “I like lengthy wrenches,” the says. “They really help leverage.” the hits under on the wrench and, on the 2nd bolt, switches to his ratchet. “Instead the hitting on mine wrench, I’m going to hit on mine ratchet — it’s acquired a soft end on it.”

“Personally through rusty fasteners,” he adds, “I favor that impacting motion. However I’ve likewise had people make comments that it’s a negative thing because can cause damage and carpal tunnel and those kinds of things. So, sweet the risk and also make your own choice.”

Here’s the video, beginning at the point where find the rusty bolts:


I’ll include that Eric has actually another video clip about replacing brake components — getting rid of squeaky brakes by instead of brake hardware). And along that line of thinking, Carlson recommends replacing these bolts if you’re instead of a caliper. Again, it simply makes sense.

He’s gained the Jack

What if a wrench or breaker bar and also the toughness of your hands and arms isn’t enough?

One point you some world do is put a automobile jack underneath a breaker bar or pipe and also just jack it up. What they’re basically doing is letting the weight of the their vehicle or truck do the work. It’s one means to take torque come a whole brand-new level.

There’s a 40-second YouTube video clip of Gabriel Cannon doing exactly that.

“So we have actually a socket, we have some leverage, and we have actually a jack stand,” Cannon says. “All we’ve got to perform is tighten up that jack stand.”

The bolt starts loosening at the 26-second mark.


There is more to talk around — from affect wrenches to torches — but I’m walk to stop here.

I will say that replacing caliper mounting bolts is a great idea when you’re replacing calipers. It makes the brake task complete, therefore you’re not relying top top “brake caliper bolt stuck” to bear the pressures of braking.

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Because when a dog darts in front of your car, with a screaming owner ideal behind, you desire your brakes at their best. Life transforms on a dime.