How Much Does it Cost to Replace Brake Calipers?

Unlike brake pads and rotors, brake calipers are one of those non-maintenance items on your vehicle that don’t get replaced on a regular basis. You only need to fix them when they fail. Unfortunately, failing brake calipers are not an uncommon occurrence. They are the hydraulic pistons which clamp your brake pads to the rotor when you step on the brake pedal. Being hydraulic, they have rubber parts which are very susceptible to temperature changes. The amount of heat that is built up when braking is intense. That constant temperature change causes quite a few caliper failures every year. The cost of replacing them may not be a bad number to keep in the back of your mind.

How Will I Know if They Fail?

Brake calipers typically only fail in one of two ways; they either lock up (meaning the piston is frozen in place), or they begin to leak. You will definitely know if one of these two things happens because your brake pedal will begin to feel soft, you will notice fluid in your driveway, or your brakes will begin to grind. The only way to determine if it is the caliper, however, is to take the tire off and inspect the braking system. When dealing with the hydraulic system of your brakes, it’s probably best to have a technician perform the job. Unless you have the experience, equipment, and the safety knowhow, this isn’t a job you’ll want to perform in your driveway.

What All Gets Replaced?

That depends; there are a couple of variables at work here. The first variable is, what exactly is wrong with the caliper? Is it leaking or did it simply freeze up? Either way it will need replaced, and in all likelihood so will your brake pads. However, if the caliper locked up, chances are it scored your brake rotor to the point that it will need replaced as well. These are typically replaced as a pair just like brake pads. The second variable is how much heat was built up if the caliper did lock up? An excessive amount of heat can damage not only the brake parts, but the rubber boots and seals on the drive axles, electrical parts like ABS sensors, and steering and suspension parts as well.

What If Nothing Extra Was Damaged?

If the caliper simply went bad and nothing was damaged, then you’re looking at replacement of the caliper alone plus the rest of the brake job (pads and rotors). The average caliper can range anywhere from $60 to $200 depending on make and model. Of course, you’ll need to figure in at least an extra hour of labor as well. After the hydraulic system of your brakes has been penetrated by air, the technician must bleed the air out of the system once the repairs are made. This is part of that added labor. Many repair facilities suggest that both calipers be replaced at the same time. This makes sense only depending upon the mileage of your particular vehicle. If your vehicle has more than 50-60K on it, then the other caliper has been through just as many temperature changes and difficulties as the caliper that failed. In this instance it would be a good idea to replace both. If your vehicle has less than 50K miles, and only one has failed, then you’re probably safe with doing one. However, this is also personal preference.

What Else Might I Need to Replace?

If your vehicle is getting up there in age, or if you live in the northern part of the northern hemisphere, your brake lines may become rusted directly to your caliper. If this happens, you may end up needing to replace the rubber hoses connected directly to the calipers and, depending on how rusted the brake lines themselves are, possibly a couple of brake lines as well. This could run the price of the entire job up anywhere from $50 to $500 depending on how many lines need replaced. If it’s simply one caliper, you’ll be in the area of $200 to $300 plus the rest of the brake job.

(Please remember that these repair prices can also fluctuate based on geographic location, as well as vehicle make and model; and that these numbers represent averages, not actual prices offered at any specific repair facilities.)


  1. Marty at January 11, 2014

    I have a 2008 jeep liberty. When I step on the brakes to stop quickly the car sort of shudders as it slows. Someone told me this is probably calipers. What does it cost to fix this on my car?

  2. javier at August 5, 2014

    about $200 dollars but if you buy the part about 150 and if you do it your self 65 dollar jut need to tell your frined to help you bleed the brakes

  3. Joan Hamilton at April 16, 2015

    I have a 2000 Ford Focus that recently had to replace rotors, calipers and brake pads.

    Please let me know w ball park figure for these repairs as they gave me a discount which was so nice.

  4. Joanne at May 14, 2015

    I have an 2002 Hyundai Sonata, breaks seem to work fine, not really any grinding noises, but the rim is VERY hot to touch on both front wheels. I called a repair shop and think it’s the caliper, but I am suspecting that I caught it early, as there are no other signs (severe grinding, etc. Should this be a higher cost? Hopefully only the 200 range.

  5. at May 17, 2015

    About 4 months after having rear brake shoes replaced on ’06 Impala, (112K+miles)during very cold,wet weather started hearing terrible groaning, screeching sound I believed came from front of car This happened as I backed out of overnight parking..I feared the steering rack was failing, or it was the front calipers. National chain said the left rear caliper was the problem and that nothing the other Nat’l chain did in replacing the shoes caused this.

    How much and by who should I expect to pay for replacing 2 rear calipers. Can I use the same rear pads as they have only about 4-5 K miles on them. Read an article that said the problem could possibly be solved by merely installing new caliper pins lubricated by high temp, synthetic lubricant.

    Your thoughts on any of this ?