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Long story short, I was doing a simple DIY brake pad change and it seems that the brake caliper got stuck (the the brake line seem to be slightly twisted). I went for a test drive in the neighbor and unfortunately, the front driver side brakes started smoking and the rotors actually turned red from the immense heat.

I know I messed up and made a noobie and stupid mistake on my part but I'm wondering what else I could've messed up. I'm guessing since the brakes were smoking and the rotors were red (with heat), the rotors are warped. I'm hoping thats the extent of the damage but I'm wondering what else could be affected?

To make it short

1) stuck brake caliper, most likely due to bent brake line 2) test drove and braked at 35mph and front driver side brake started smoking, turning bright red and loud noise 3) I tried to take off the caliper but it seemed stuck


1) Outside of brake pad and rotor, what else could be damaged due to a stuck brake caliper? 2) If the caliper is stuck due to a twisted brake line, can I just bleed it to uncompress the brake caliper?

thanks for any answers and to save you guys time, yes...I messed up and made stupid mistakes but I will learn from this.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The caliper should be fine once the brake line issue is repaired providing it didn't get hot enough to melt the seals. The pads may appear fine but I would replace them. Pads that got that hot mays have hairline cracks in them. The cracks could eventually cause pieces of the lining to flake off. The rotor is likely in need of replacement also. As far as potential collateral damage the only thing that may be an issue is the front wheel bearing. At the worst you may have taken a few thousand miles off it's life expectancy. I wouldn't worry about it until you start having problems.

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If these are brand new pads, the overheating of them can shorten life expectancy GREATLY. The reason for this is, the adhesive which binds the friction material together needs to be heat cycled gently until fully cured. If the pad gets overheated before it's cured, the adhesive is drawn to the heat which means a large portion of it gets bunched on the rotor side. When this portion of the gets worn through, the rest of it goes away rather quickly. Just thought I'd add to your good answer. –  Paulster2 Apr 22 '14 at 10:40

As a side note: It might make sense to replace the brake line as well. I am not sure what you mean by "twisting" the brake line (as a 180 or even 360 degree twist of the line, while not ideal for safe driving, should not lead to brakes failing. I therefore assume that you have severely bent or folded the line on itself), so there is a real chance of some permanent damage there as well.

As already mentioned by mikes, depending on how long and at which temperatures the wheel bearing has been operating, it might have been damaged. Modern wheel bearings often last as long as the entire vehicle, but should yours fail replacing it is a nice (advanced) DIY project. YouTube's famous EricTheCarGuy actually has a step-by-step guide for wheel bearing replacement of your Honda! A damaged bearing will usually identify itself with a loud squeal/rumbling noise that increases with speed, but it might take quite some time before it will become apparent.

For making a noobie mistake, I think we have all been there. The most important part is that you went for a testdrive and checked your own work. The practical skills that will prevent these mistakes in the future can always be learned, most important is the critical thinking and reflection on you own work. When given the choice between a self-critical inexperienced mechanic or an arrogant experienced one, I would always put my money on the first. Mistakes are made by everyone, but only a critical attitude and independent thinking can prevent further damage or harm!

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All good advise but if the wheel bearings are not changed make sure you regrease them. Make sure all old grease is cleaned out as it will be badly burnt. Burnt grease will kill your bearings within a very short period.

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