Buying a Brake Caliper Bolt: How to Go About It
You've likely stumbled across this article because your dealership discovered you're missing a bolt and it charged you $26 for a replacement and $65 for labor costs. The brake caliper bolt is a tube-like metal pin or bar that secures the brake hose and the brake caliper. Meanwhile, the brake caliper is an instrument that pushes the brake pads down the surface of the brake rotor to slow down your vehicle. It has two hinged legs that look like a pair of compasses in outturned or in-turned points.
Things to Consider
- Important Preliminary Information: The first thing the auto shop attendant or online ecommerce car parts site will ask you is what type of car you're driving and other miscellaneous but pertinent info, like the year it was made, its make and model, and the type of engine it's using. If you don't know the make and model of your car, the driver's side doorjamb has the info you're looking for.
- Warranties and 30-Day Money-Back Guarantees: Don't presume that the 30-day money-back guarantee is a given to all mail order e-shopping car parts. Check the return policies of the ecommerce site you've chosen; in fact, you can choose sites based on how good their return or refund policies are. As for warranties, they typically offer one-year warranties or, if you're lucky, unlimited warranty on parts.
- Features to Look Out for in a Caliper Bolt: Aside from looking for a brake caliper bolt that's the exact duplicate of the bolt it's supposed to replace to simplify your search, you can also watch out for the product features and specs to ensure you're getting a good deal. A good bolt should have a durable steel design, a proper fit to the dimensions of your original bolt, and pre-coated with thread lock to avoid any loosening.
- Mounting Bolts Come in Many Different Sizes and Types: Make sure you provide a complete account of your car's make and model or, if possible, show the auto shop attendant the bolt in question since these bolts come in a variety of types and sizes, such that even if you get a bolt for the right make, year, and model of car it might still come out as wrong. Furthermore, it the bolt makes a noise and doesn't restore brake performance, immediately return it for a refund or replacement.
- Sometimes It's Better to Go Aftermarket Instead of OEM: If labor and OEM replacement is too expensive, it's okay to go the aftermarket route. Going online to buy a $4 to $5 caliper bolt (with a price you can further reduce by using a coupon code or an on-site 20% off discount) is the commonsensical thing to do provided you can install it yourself or know someone who could do it for free or for a lower price than your dealership.
The brake caliper bolt is a relatively cheap part (around $5 not including shipment and handling) that you can either order online or buy as a spare part in auto shops case it's missing. Your dealership can also replace it for you for free as part of your warranty (if your vehicle is still under warranty) or for a roughly $26 off-warranty payment (but its aftermarket price is obviously cheaper, especially if you order online).
How to Remove Brake Caliper Bolts
Removing your car's brake calipers is pretty easy, but the hardest part with the procedure is dealing with the bolts that hold the calipers in place. Whether they're rusted shut, worn off, or are just plain stubborn to come off, you'll probably spend more time dealing with these caliper bolts than with the brake calipers themselves. Save time and money with our quick guide, so you could get those pesky bolts out of your car in no time at all.
Difficulty Level: Moderate
What you'll need
- Wood block
- Tire tool
- Floor jack
- Penetrating oil
- Bolt-out kit
- Socket wrench
Step 1: Pull up your emergency brake and place a wood block behind your rear wheels, to prevent your vehicle from accidentally rolling away.
Step 2: Loosen the lug nuts on your wheels using a tire tool, but do not take them out all the way just yet.
Step 3: Lift your car up using a jack and keep it secure by placing it properly on a couple of jack stands.
Step 4: Remove the lug nuts entirely so you can pull out your tire.
Step 5: Locate your brake caliper and find the upper and lower caliper bolts. Use a socket wrench to loosen them and take them out of their sockets.
Step 6: If you are having difficulty removing the caliper bolts because of rust, then you should spray some penetrating oil on them to loosen them up. Allow the oil to seep into the bolts and leave them on for about 10 minutes. Spray some more penetrating oil before you use a socket wrench to loosen it from its mount. You might need to use a rubber mallet to force the socket wrench to move, and you may end up destroying your old caliper bolt in the process just to take it out.
Step 7: Once you've removed your old caliper bolts, simply replace them with new aftermarket replacements, fit everything back together, and you're done!
If you're having a hard time removing a stubborn bolt, you might need to hire a mechanic to help you out. Forcing a broken bolt out of its socket might damage nearby parts, so it's best to have a professional work on it instead.