Can You Drive With A Loose Caliper? Expert’s Guide

Have you ever observed a strange or abnormal noise coming from the rear end of your car while driving your vehicle? Most drivers think that some internal part is striking another part in the rear end of the vehicle.

But in some cases, it can be caused due to a loose caliper; this can also be seen when you are applying brakes to your car, and you notice a sudden vibration.

Can you drive with a loose caliper?
Can you drive with a loose caliper?

Then this might be the confirmation that you may have a loose caliper in your car. Most of you might not be aware that the caliper is an integral part of the disc braking system and plays a vital role in applying the brakes by creating friction with the brake rotors.

In case you notice a sudden clunking sound from the rear end of your vehicle also is an indication of loose or damaged calipers. We have come up with a detailed analysis of why you should not drive a car with a loose caliper and what are the reasons you are facing this issue.

What are brake calipers?

Brake calipers are a vital component of the braking system of a vehicle. Whenever you apply brakes to a vehicle, these brake calipers come into use.

Brake calipers play two important roles when braking in a vehicle. There are braking pads that are present on each side of the rotors, which are essential in the process of applying brakes.

What are brake calipers?
What are brake calipers?

These brake calipers act as a bracket to these braking pads, making the wheel spin slowly and eventually supporting stopping the vehicle. In simple words, When the brake pedal is pressed to apply the brakes, these brake calipers then force the hydraulic pressure over to the pistons.

Which help in pushing the brake pads to the rotors which are attached to a wheel, and when these rotors are pushed they force the wheel to spin slowly, which makes the vehicle stop down.Β 

Can you drive with a loose caliper?

Yes it is possible to drive without loose caliper, but it not recommended.

If you notice a sudden abnormal noise coming from the rear end of your car or you feel any pulsating sensation when trying to apply the brakes of your car, then this can be an issue of the loose caliper.

Although, You can drive your car with loose calipers, but it will be very dangerous to do so; it is ever advised to drive a car with loose brakes or one side of the brakes not working at all, this can cause major accidental issues and can be fatal for the driver ads well as passengers on the road to so it is never advised to do so.

What are the symptoms of a loose caliper?

If you feel a pulsation while braking your vehicle, this might be a sign that you have loose brake calipers; this can also be observed when your car has an abnormal sound coming from the rear end of your vehicle.

We have come up with a detailed analysis as to what are the symptoms that may help your get to know whether your vehicle has a loose caliper or not. Some of the symptoms are as follows:

What are the symptoms of a loose caliper?
What are the symptoms of a loose caliper?

πŸš— Pulling of the car at one side

When you have a loose caliper in your vehicle, you would have noticed that at the time of braking, your vehicle tends to pull into a specific direction. This can be a direct sign that you have a caliper malfunctioning in your car, and thus you have to seek a caliper replacement.

πŸš— Fluid leaks

Brake fluid is a type of fluid used in the hydraulic braking system, the purpose of these fluids is to transfer force into pressure which then aids in amplifying the braking efficiency; a loose caliper can make these brake fluids leak from the piston seal.

πŸš— The spongy or soft brake pedal

 If you have a loose caliper, it can leak the brake fluid as these brake fluids are leaked in excessive quantities. These become the reason why drivers feel an abnormal feel while driving with loose calipers.

πŸš— Dragging of the car

If you have a loose brake caliper, it will cause abnormalities in your driving experience. Moreover, you will have difficulty braking or slowing down your vehicle as you might require pressing the brake pedal several times because you have a loose caliper. 

Faulty brake calipers can also cause a dragging sensation to your vehicle. If the brake calipers are stuck to the rotors, then even if you are not applying any brakes also, you will experience you are dragging your vehicle.

πŸš— Abnormal noise

A damaged or loose brake caliper will cause the brake pads to wear down, which will result in an abnormal voice that can be observed from the rear end of your vehicle; this could be a clear sign that you have a problem with the loose caliper in your vehicle.

πŸš— Decreased braking ability

If you have a loose caliper and thus will not function as they are supposed to, these brake calipers are meant to bracket the rotors of the braking system attached to the wheel to slow down the vehicle.

If there is a loose caliper, it will cause a soft pedal, which will reduce braking ability. So if you observe a sudden drop in your vehicle’s braking ability, it indicates the loose caliper.

πŸš— Brake pad wear

Driving with loose calipers can cause this issue to exist, ad the brake calipers are attached to the braking pad of the car, and these braking pads are well attached to the rotors of the car, which is a part of the wheel.

These calipers forces these braking pads to come in contact with the rotors to slow down the vehicle. In case you have a loose brake caliper in your car then if your apply brakes these calipers will not be able to apply enough force to the braking pads for sticking into the rotor so this will result in wearing down of the braking pads of the vehicle.

What are the causes of loose calipers and fixes?

As we have discussed various symptoms that can help you detect whether you have loose calipers, now let’s move on to the topic of the causes of the loose caliper. We have structured this section so that even if you don’t understand much about car mechanics, you will also be able to get the point of what we are trying to present to you.

According to our detailed research on this topic, we have tried to put up all the relevant causes that can be responsible for the loose caliper, along with the fixes you would need to seek to get rid of the loose caliper in your vehicle.

What are the causes of loose calipers and fixes?
What are the causes of loose calipers and fixes?

πŸš— Corrosion

  1. This is the most common reason you suffer from a loose caliper or a bad caliper; the rusting will cause usually cause the sealing service at the inlet hole, which causes the brake calipers to go loose and impact the braking system of a vehicle.

If you wish to resolve this issue of corrosion, then try following the steps that are given below:

  • Step 1- Remove the wheel of the car.
  • Step 2- Pull the caliper from the mount after removing the wheel.
  • Step 3: Now proceed by removing the braking pads of the car. (remember to keep them in position to eliminate the chances of swapping the brake pads on either side.)
  • Step 4: Now, with the help of a wire brush, knock the rust as much as possible. 
  • Step 5: Mask the areas where you don’t want water to be over-sprayed, like the rotors or other car internal parts.
  • Step 6: After that, with the help of high air pressure, blow the dust and other dirt particles in the caliper.
  • Step 7: Allow it to dry.

πŸš— Brake fluid leak

  1. There are a lot of other reasons why there is a brake fluid leak in the calipers, but the main common cause is a worn seal or o-ring; another common reason for this can be a damaged caliper body that is causing this issue to persist resulting in breaking or malfunctioning of brake calipers.

To fix this, you need to seek a brake caliper replacement.


Driving a car with loose calipers can be extremely dangerous as you are never sure when the braking system will work properly; it can cause severe casualties and can be fatal for both the driver and others. So if you notice any problem with your calipers, consider visiting a mechanic as soon as possible to solve this issue.