Four months ago, I had a seized brake in the front left. The slide bearing was stuck and the outer pad was worn more than the inner (at the piston). I wasn't able to move the journals of the bearing by hand and used a tool to get it moving again. Since cleaning the bearings didn't help, I removed any rust / oxidation from the holes with sandpaper, cleaned them, and assembled new journals with lots of that special grease shipped with them.

However, the problem is back again, and I'm thinking about replacing the entire caliper to get rid of the problem.

Should calipers be replaced on both sides, though there's just a problem on one side, as it's done for tires, pads and rotors?

EDIT: Car is a small Kia Picanto (BA) 2008, just made 100,000km

The calipers seem to be a single, solid part, without exchangeable bearings (the "hole"). As said, I already changed the journals (the movable part inside the hole) with temporary success, the brake is now running hot again. Hardly noticeable at low speed, but at 130-140km/h, I sometimes can hear that noise of a hot / worn brake again and the brake is significantly hotter than the one on the other wheel after that. (Also strange: sometimes, the noise is there at 120km/h, sometimes at 140km/h, sometimes, there is none)

Finally, I don't want to mess with new journals again, and have the same problem in some months. The brake got really hot last time, and I would like to replace it. I can get it for 100€, which is not so much compared to 17€ for new journals.

  • Make, model, year? Doesn't make a difference about whether to replace in pairs but may help with common problems with this particular car Aug 10, 2015 at 12:17
  • Oh and I don't know enough about the car you have, to tell you if their are slide kits for the caliper. If the slide is sticking and not the piston you should be able to get by without changing the caliper. Even then depending on the price of the caliper it might not be worth messing with. Calipers for some cars are as low at $15 US. Aug 10, 2015 at 20:56
  • Had one caliper replaced along with rear pads in summer. Other caliper just went and the pad which is pretty much brand new had to be replaced due to overheating. 140k on my rio. So if a caliper goes is it safe to assume that the other is not far behind. Maybe just bad timming as my pads were just done but either way it has cost alot more in the end by not having both done in my case. Kevin. Oct 21, 2020 at 17:56
  • I do my own work, so i can change both with what i save on shop time. So why not. Jun 12, 2021 at 15:07

5 Answers 5


There is no need for replacing the callipers together, as they will be heavy on your pocket, the reason why the pads and rotors are replaced together is since they work in tandem and working by rubbing against each other.

The callipers on the other hand float over the entire assembly so there is no real point of changing them.

You might need to change them both there is a contamination in the brake fluid since there are chances they might block the piston so if one is affected the definitely the other will be affected. ( if you detect this issue asap then you can just bleed the system and you will not run into issue but if its too late then you need to change both)

To put it simply if the callipers are not jammed then there is no need to change them together.

Now in your case since your car has crossed over 100,000 miles , there will be similar type of wear on the other calliper as well , have a look at them once and then decide if you want to proceed changing them.

  • 3
    Contaminated brake fluid is not cause to change out calipers. You would just need to change out the fluid. The only thing which contaminates the brake fluid is water. This is an ongoing process, so regular flushes is all that is needed. I notice you said in the parens, but your bold type could lead one to believe otherwise. Aug 10, 2015 at 19:08
  • 1
    @Paulster2 - "Contaminated brake fluid is not cause to change out calipers...". I'd say you're basically correct, but it depends on what the brake fluid was contaminated with. If the wrong fluid was accidentally added, like motor oil, or even the wrong/incompatible type of hydraulic fluid like a transmission fluid or wrong type of brake fluid, the contamination could damage the seals in the caliper. (... continued) Aug 12, 2015 at 19:49
  • 1
    (... continued) They could be disassembled, cleaned, and rebuilt with new seals, but this is not within the skill level of everyone (and costly for a paid mechanic to do), so caliper replacement (new or rebuilt) might be necessary and the least costly solution. Aug 12, 2015 at 19:51

Generally you don't replace calipers in pairs, only replace the damaged side. With that being said you may still not need to replace the caliper to solve your problem depending on the design. Their may be a kit that comes with new sleeves, o-rings, and grease. Replacing those will solve the problem, but again it depends on make, model, year.

  • 3
    "Generally you don't replace calipers in pairs" That's weird, I've always heard the opposite. Is there a reason you wouldn't replace them in pairs?
    – Jerreck
    Aug 10, 2015 at 13:12
  • 5
    @Jerreck - If it doesn't need changed, it's a waste of money. As long as the piston isn't froze in the bore and no leaking is present, your caliper should be good to go. Use it until it dies. Pressure equalizes between the two calipers of the same size on the same axle, so no worries about that, whether caliper is old or new. If someone is telling you otherwise, they are just trying to get more money or they don't really know. Aug 10, 2015 at 19:11
  • 5
    @Jerreck I have worked as professional in the automotive industry for more than 20 years, most of that time was spent as a technician at a GM, and Acura dealers, I also teach in the automotive industry. Calipers just aren't replaced in pairs. No car or truck manufacture to my knowledge requires or even suggest replacing calipers in pairs. Do you have any documentation or sources that say otherwise? Aug 10, 2015 at 19:30
  • 3
    @Jerreck Didn't take it as such. Just trying to explain why my answer was credible. I could see a parts store trying to sell you them in pairs just for sales sake. But I really can't see any reputable automotive shop trying to sell them in pairs to you. If they are the other side is not broken/damaged I can't see any reason to do it. Aug 10, 2015 at 20:53
  • 4
    Off topic but @Movemorecommentslinktotop I can now see you point on moving more comments link to the top , some chats are getting hidden badly, giving wrong context to the whole conversation. They need to change this.
    – Shobin P
    Aug 11, 2015 at 4:46

Often the calipers are replaced in pairs for the following reasons:

  • If you need one the other is not far behind.
  • If one caliper is stronger or weaker than the other you may have a brake pull (vehicle pulls to one side when braking).
  • Back in the day when the phenolic piston was introduced it was said that both of your calipers needed to have a piston made from the same material (metal or phenolic) or you would get a brake pull.

That being said, I will change just one caliper sometimes and I usually have no problem. So change the one that is giving you trouble and if necessary change the other one later when you get the time, money, or ambition to do it. If the wheel still gets hot you may want to replace the brake hose too. The inner part of the hose can become damaged and hold fluid pressure to the caliper causing the wheel to get hot and smelly. Just happened on my 1994 Honda Civic with 270,000 miles on it.


Changing one or both must depend on the condition of the calipers. Some years ago PepBoys offered me a "deal"on one caliper because I could not afford to change both at the same time and the other side started binding almost immediately thereafter. It was a high mileage vehicle (160K) and obviously both pistons were going bad. Changing one at a time is a good idea financially, but in my experience you can't just change one and forget about the other.


I had a gen 6 Celica with a hot brake problem. A fellow technician suggested I replace both, knowing that I was doing the work myself and it had over 150,000 miles (241,000 KM), and I'm glad I did. In my particular situation, I replaced the side that was getting hot, and when I took the caliper off the other side, it was a little looser than it should have been. Turns out, the hot caliper on the right was a symptom of the left caliper being stuck open. A technician with air tools and a lift will have a much easier time diagnosing a problem like this and just replace what is necessary for the problem, but a DIY "home mechanic" may be safer in these situations by just doing both sides, and in some cases, and in my case, I saved myself some money because I likely would've worn another pair of pads and warped another rotor if I hadn't replaced both sides at the same time.

This is a possibility to consider, my particular circumstance doesn't usually happen, but it does happen.

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