The correct maintenance and care are necessary to prolong the life of your car for as long as possible. One aspect of maintenance is lubricating the brakes and ensure that they are in working order, so the car is safe for you to drive.
You can take your car to a garage to have a professional lubricate and carry out maintenance to your brake calipers and brake pad areas; however, this will cost you, and it’s a job you can easily do yourself at home for a fraction of the price.
So on that note, we’ll be showing you how to lubricate brake caliper pistons so you can keep on top of the maintenance of your car.
Why Should You Lubricate Your Brake Caliper Piston?
Lubrication of your brakes will ensure that the system is operating correctly and will prevent your brakes from producing a horrible squealing or screeching noise due to the vibrations when the car is braking on the road.
With proper maintenance, your brake pads will last longer, and therefore your brakes will work better, ensuring you with a safer and smoother driving experience.
However, you’ll need to make sure you don’t put any lubricant on the friction surface of the brakes; this is what causes the brakes to work and the car to slow down. Putting lubricant on the wrong area of the brakes could lead to serious issues and also potential car accidents.
Do Not Lubricate the Pads That Touch the Rotors
Before lubricating your brake caliper pistons, you’ll also need to check for rust and remove any that is there; otherwise, the lubricant will soon become ineffective.
Not regularly checking your brakes for rust and not lubricating enough will lead to rust build-up, which will create horrible noises when you’re breaking and cause serious damage to your car, which could write off your car altogether.
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How To Lubricate Brake Caliper Piston
Before you even begin to lubricate your brake calipers in your car, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got all the necessities to carry out the job effectively.
You’ll need to ensure you’ve got the correct lubricant for your brake calipers, as you won’t be able to grab anything old thing from your DIY cupboard at home.
You’ll also need to spend some time removing any build-up from the brake calipers before beginning to lubricate them.
Finding The Correct Lubricant
As we said, you won’t be able to use any kind of lubricant for your brake calipers. What lubricant you’ll need to use will depend on what kind of braking system your vehicle has.
To generate the required friction to stop a car, the brakes will heat up pretty high.
This means that the lubricant that you’ll be using will need to be resistant enough to heat that it doesn’t melt and then clog the braking system when you’re slamming your foot on the brakes or braking multiple times across a long journey.
Generally, petroleum-based lubricants are not recommended as they don’t perform well with high temperatures or high torque applications, so it would be illogical and unsafe to use them for most applications.
You should have two kinds of lubricants when it comes to doing your brake system.
To lubricate metal-on-metal components, you will need to use dry film lubricants, many of which will either contain graphite or molybdenum disulfide; you may see it in home improvement or car maintenance stores labeled as ‘moly dry’ or ‘dry moly.’
For the rubber and plastic materials within your braking area (most commonly present in hydraulic braking systems), you should use synthetic lubricants or silicone-based ones.
Synthetic lubricants tend to work well in most temperature ranges and are moisture resistant, minimizing any rust forming on the brake calipers.
Silicone-based lubricants are also great as they are known for their extreme working temperature ranges and are safer to use on more materials than petroleum-based lubricants.
Remove The Rust First
The first step of lubricating your brake calipers will require removing the rust build-up so the lubricant will work properly.
You can use an aerosol cleaner, a specific brake cleaner, or just some white vinegar to wipe the rotor clean with a microfiber cloth or rag.
Allow it to dry before going in with a wire brush or steel wool to scrub away the excessive rust until the surface looks as clean and rust-free that you could get it.
Instructions For Lubricating Brake Caliper Piston
- Depending on what vehicle you have and the instructions for the model, take apart the braking components
- Remove the screws and pistons from the brake caliper so it’s easier to clean and lubricate. Apply some brake lube to the screws of the caliper.
Tip: For vehicles with floating calipers, you’ll need to remove the pistons from the side and apply a light layer of brake lube. Then try to replace the pistons and see if they can easily move back and forth from the side.
If these pistons don’t move back and forth easily, they will end up jamming and creating a lot of noise every time you brake, and then the calipers will need to be replaced.
- There should be a metal frame where the caliper sits on which has some marks or rust, before applying lubricant to this area you should remove the rust and clean it down. Try to move parts back and forth to ensure everything is lubricated properly.
Tip: Less is more – do not apply thick coatings of lubricant.
- You can then protect your brake calipers from rust by priming and painting them with paint that is resistant to high temperatures – you’ll be able to find it at your local car garage or motor store.
There you have it; you now know how to lubricate your brake caliper pistons for your vehicle, which will save you a load of time and money that you would’ve spent at the garage.