How Tight Should Brake Caliper Bolts Be?

This post contains affiliate links. Read the full disclosure here.

The commonest category of people who cause the most mistakes in caliper replacement, brake pad jobs as well as replacement of the rotors is the newbie auto repairers with limited experience. Also, individuals who attempt these procedures to save cost but lack the skill and experience often cause such mistakes.

So, how tight should brake caliper bolts be? Should you go all out on them? Avoid over-tightening the brake caliper bolts, this is unnecessary. Lack of proper knowledge and skill makes the newbie repair person think over-tightening the brake caliper bolts is a good idea, whereas it is not.

There are instances where the heads of the bolts as a result of too much force used in tightening the bolts are broken off. when the tightening gets you to do this, it is a clear sign that you have gone too far on the bolts. 

Most persons while tightening the brake caliper bolts simply keep at it, until they feel satisfied with the degree of tightness which most time already surpassed the recommended degree. Only a torque of 25 to 35 ft/Ibs is needed, you do not have to go all out on the bolts.

Aside from over-tightening the brake caliper bolts, rookies and individuals taking their first shot at attempting to carry out their automobile repairs themselves without needing to pay a professional may also fall into other mistakes while replacing the caliper, rotor, or brake pads. Some of which cause these parts to malfunction or deteriorate quicker than usual.

Regarding the brake caliper bolts, the guide pin bolts require a different torque from the bracket bolts. The replacement of brake calipers and the amount of torque needed is made complicated by the existence of different types of brake caliper bolts, particularly the bracket bolt, with each type requiring a different degree of torque.

Newbies, armature car owners attempting replacement for the first time, and others may not have this knowledge of the peculiarity of torque needed for each type of bracket bolt and may torture these bolts until the heads are decapitated as a result.

The highest level of torque that can be applied on any bolt irrespective of the type should never exceed about 110ft/Ibs. If unsure of what the right torque is for a given brake caliper bolt, the manufacturers are more than willing to answer all your inquiries to avoid damaging the bolts and the calipers altogether.

Trending Searches

Table Of Contents

What are the common errors associated with the replacement of brake calipers?

At some point, you will realize the issues you are currently experiencing with your brake pads, rotors, or brake calipers has nothing to do with the quality of any of these parts, rather, it may have a lot to do with how they were installed.

This further reiterated the need to ensure only experts, vetted by other car owners with a good review are allowed to work on your car no matter how little the job is. If, however you decide to do this yourself, only attempt the replacements you are confident about and do not attempt a trial-and-error method.

Some things may not seem important and therefore easily ignored, which turn out to be of great significance. An example of such is the act of cleaning the brake slides just before the new brake pads are installed.

Friction is enhanced more by a rough surface and the presence of dirt or similar particles will only cause more friction to be generated and for the pad to wear quicker than it should.

The caliper pin is a common area where amateurs fail especially when installing a floating type of caliper. First of all, not everyone understands the peculiarities of the floating caliper and is confused about it, particularly about the use of shims and the required space or allowance between the pad and the caliper.

Lubrication of the guide pin help with the friction and heat generated. While some may forget to apply the lubricant, others fail to use the right grease and eventually face the same consequences as those who completely failed to apply the grease.

A mistake that no one expects but has been recorded is the backward installation of the brake pads. Yes, you heard me right. I know what you must be thinking, what kind of mechanic would do such a mistake, he must be the king of the amateur.

Auto shops must earn your trust before handing your car over especially when the repair or replacement has to do with something as important as the brakes. When this is messed up, you may not live to sue or get compensated.

Talking about the calipers, just like the brakes, the calipers can be installed the wrong way, which is upside down. Of course, there is no way this will not cause the caliper to bleed. Bleeds are the last thing we want to deal with, unfortunately, this can be from an unimaginable mistake such as installing the caliper the wrong way.

While you cannot afford the brake caliper bolts giving way while actively driving, you cannot go ahead and over-tighten the bolts. Lits like I always say, take the middle ground, too much or too little is unacceptable. 

The bolts being too loose pose the same degree of risk as the caliper bolts being too tight. There is a different recommendation of the amount of torque adequate for tightening the brake caliper bolts, this should however not exceed 113-pound feet no matter the type of brake caliper bolt.

Why is it important to tighten the brake caliper bolts using the recommended torque?

If you are wondering why so much emphasis is laid on not tightening the bolts too hard or too loosely, then read on to find out exactly why. 

What gives you an idea about the amount of heat generated when the brakes are applied especially under conditions such as slopes and the mountainous path is how the pads and rotors glow brightly in the dark during this time.

After a while, the glow is gone as the pads and rotors get cooled down. The cycle continues and these brake parts are subjected to high heat and allowed to cool over and over again. Brake caliper bolts that are too loose or too tight are unable to withstand this cycle as the thermal cycle causes some degree of expansion.

Somehow, a lot of persons conveniently forget about the repair manual when about to carry out a repair or replacement job on their car. This is what these manuals are meant for. You are not to read them as you do the bible, rather, they are to be read and studied when you are about to carry out any repair or replacement job on your car. Unfortunately, they are often not factored in.

If you cared to take a look at the manual, you will find that it contains the speciation for the torque wrench used in tightening the brake caliper bolts and allows you to tighten the bolts to the specified fit.

There is no excuse for not doing the proper research before attempting the tighten a brake caliper bolt. Simple google research will reveal some manuals with guidelines that will help you do the right thing and not make the mistake of tightening too loose or too tight.

Some are arbitral about the torque needed to tighten the brake caliper bolts by approximating the force it took to loosen the bolts in the first place. This is however not an acceptable method no matter your expertise.

How do you tighten the brake caliper bolts?

Be moderate, that is, do not let the fear of the head breaking off scare you from tightening it sufficiently. At the same time, do not go too hard on it. While you can estimate this using the force it took to loosen the bolts in the first instance, it is best to look up the torque specification from the guideline manual rather than being arbitral.

What do you do when the brake caliper bolts get stock?

Stuck brake caliper bolts are a problem that is relatively common and complained about by lots of car owners and drivers. What causes this to happen? And can it be fixed or prevented?

Thankfully, an online search on how to solve the problem of a stuck brake caliper bolt reveals adequate resources including youtube videos to help you come out of this. part of the reason you are reading this article right now.  This condition is caused by the over-tightening of the bolts. And sometimes by rust.

The suggested methods include the use of a breaking bar or extended breaking bar or a wrench. A more effortless method involves the use of a jack along with the breaking bar which uses the weight of the car to unstuck the brake caliper bolts.

How Tight Should Brake Caliper Bolts Be – Conclusion

You must be careful when tightening the brake caliper bolts not to be too hard or to be inadequate. To be on the safer side, look through the repair manual, or search online for the torque specification for your type of brake caliper bolts.

Leave a Reply