If a calliper sticks, is this always caused by the calliper itself malfunctioning or can it be caused by something other than the calliper ?

Meaning if a calliper is sticking intermittently and the calliper is replaced with a new and it still continues to intermittently stick, is this just bad luck to have got another crap calliper or is there another possibility for it continuing to stick outside of the calliper itself.

Reason I ask, is for as long as I can remember my car has pulled left/right/left/right.... and despite multiple wheel alignments and checks nobody could/can figure it out.

Last week while driving my passengers front wheel started smoking and there was a burning smell. When I took it to the garage they told me I needed to replace both front callipers and brake pads and discs.

I did this and for a short while the car wasn't pulling much, then all of a sudden its went back to behaving like it did before... but its two new callipers ?

I will regularly get out the car to check both wheels to see how hot they are and one will always be hotter than the other and whatever side is hottest that trye will be sitting about 1/2 psi higher.... if I check later on in the drive the other side will be sitting higher and vice versa.

when I slam the brakes on, it sometimes pulls one way and pulls the other way at other times.

  • Welcome to Motor Vehicle Maintenance & Repair! If you could give us the year/make/model/engine of the car in question, we may be able to help you better with your issue. Mar 2, 2019 at 16:10

3 Answers 3


One other possibility to check are the flexible hoses - they can “collapse” inside causing enough pressure to remain to hold the pads on.

Edit re comment: They go between the suspension strut or caliper (depending on design) and the car body - won’t normally be replaced unless there is visible damage or cracking.

  • when you say flexible hoses are these part of the calliper itself or another part of the car ? as im looking for a reason as to why the old callipers and now the new replacement callipers are both sticking. Mar 2, 2019 at 8:10
  • They go between the suspension strut or caliper (depending on design) and the car body - won’t normally be replaced unless there is visible damage or cracking.
    – Solar Mike
    Mar 2, 2019 at 8:13

Is it an old car? Have you ever changed your brake fluid? It looses effectiveness after 4-5 years. Take a look in the reservoir to see if it's lost its transparent color or worse if its burnt smelling. It could lead to slack in the calipers.

  • 2017 plate 40k on clock, only owner all parts and services done at main dealership. Mar 2, 2019 at 19:15

I dont know what car you have, but if it has a proportioning valve, maybe this is sticking.

If it has ABS, the unit itself can be faulty, sending different pressures to different wheels. But this is not very likely.

I guess you already checked the common things when you changed calipers (clean the glidepins for rust/buildup and relubricate them)

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