can a bad caliper cause abs ling to come on, caliper image, removed wheel image

Can A Bad Caliper Cause ABS Light to Come On

Have you ever had your ABS light suddenly come on, leaving you wondering what could be causing the issue? As someone who’s been in that position, I understand how concerning it can be. After doing some research, I realized how important it is to understand how a caliper affects a car’s safety and handling.

The ABS can check how fast each wheel is turning and how quickly the car is slowing down. However, it doesn’t know if the brakes are working correctly. If the caliper is stuck and stops the brake rotor from turning at the same speed as the other wheels, this causes the ABS light to come on.

In this article, I’ll explain to you about calipers, describe step by step how I fixed a bad caliper, and explain how I reset the ABS light at home by myself. So, if you’re ready to learn more, let me take you through what I’ve discovered.

What Are Calipers and How Do They Operate?

The proper operation of your brakes depends on a specific part of your braking system called the brake caliper. Each wheel has calipers, which operate to squeeze the brake pads against the rotors to halt the wheel’s rotation and lower the vehicle’s speed.

When the brake pedal is depressed, hydraulic pressure is applied to the caliper pistons, pressing the brake pads against the rotors.

What Signs Indicate a Defective Brake Caliper?

There are a few warning signs and symptoms to watch out for when something goes wrong, just like most car parts. Understanding how to recognize these signs of a damaged brake caliper might help you avoid any significant issues and have the problem fixed quickly.

  Sign of a Bad Caliper  Overview
Brake Fluid LeakA leak from the caliper can indicate a problem with the piston or seal.
Uneven Brake Pad WearUneven wear on the brake pads can be a sign of a caliper issue, such as a stuck piston.
Vehicle Pulls to One SideIf the caliper on one side of the vehicle is failing, it can cause the vehicle to pull to one side while braking.
Squeaking or Grinding NoisesThese sounds can indicate that the brake pads are not properly releasing from the rotor due to a stuck caliper.
Vibration or Shaking While BrakingA faulty caliper can cause the brake rotor to become warped, leading to vibration or shaking while braking.
Reduced Braking PowerA seized or stuck caliper can cause a reduction in braking power, which can be dangerous in emergency.

How Often Should Brake Calipers Be Replaced?

The brake calipers are built to endure the demands of their job and retain their durability. Luckily, brake calipers have an extended lifespan of approximately a decade or up to 100,000 miles. By driving carefully and being vigilant with maintenance, it is possible to utilize a set of calipers for ten years.

How Did I fix the stuck caliper in my car?

wheel of a car

Release the Handbrake

Before removing the wheel, I ensured that the handbrake was released and loosened the cap on the brake master cylinder. This helped to break the air seal and allow the brake fluid to flow freely without any air pressure.

Locate the wheel

Then I located the wheel with the seized brake caliper, which happened to be the rear passenger wheel. I then jacked up the vehicle, ensuring that it was stable and secured with an axle stand. So, I could have easy access to the brake caliper.

Reach the Caliper

Next, I removed the brake shield, which protected the caliper from dust and dirt, giving me access to the two bolts that held the caliper in place. I pulled the caliper off sufficiently to enable it to be separated from the brake carrier after removing the bolts.

Remove the Caliper

I had to turn the caliper’s piston to pull it out after removing the caliper from the brake carrier. This action allowed the caliper to come off easily, making it easier to access the caliper slides.

Inspect the caliper and the Brake Pads

worn brake pads

After I took off the caliper, I inspected it for any damage, cracks, or leaks that might indicate the need for replacement. Once I had inspected the caliper, I checked the pads to see if they were stuck within the caliper slides or the shims within the caliper carrier.

Examine the caliper slides

After inspecting the pads, the next step was to inspect the caliper slides for any signs of damage or rust. As the slides were rusted, I cleaned them thoroughly using a wire brush or sandpaper until they were smooth.

I then applied some silicone or lithium grease to lubricate the slides and ensure they moved smoothly.

Check brake Rotor

Next, I inspected the brake rotor for any signs of damage or warping. If the rotor was damaged or warped, it was best to replace it as it might not be able to function properly.

Reassemble the Components Correctly

With all the components inspected, it was time to reassemble the caliper. I ensured that all the components were correctly fitted and that the pads were seated properly within the caliper slides. When refitting the caliper, I needed to wind the piston in the opposite direction until it was fully seated.

Once the caliper was refitted, I tightened the bolts, refitted the brake shield and the wheel, and lowered the vehicle. Finished!

How Do I Reset the ABS Light After Repairing the Caliper?

My car is a little bit old, so I had to manually reset the ABS light. It is a simple task, and this is how I did it.

First, I detached the positive connector from the car battery to prepare for disabling the ABS light.

Afterward, I pressed the brake pedal for a brief period to deplete the car’s electrical system. This resets the central computer.

Finally, I reconnected the battery cable and took a 30-second drive to allow the computer system to recalibrate. Successful! The ABS light was gone.


Can you drive without ABS?

Your car’s brakes are one of its most crucial components. So, they are made to function even if the ABS fails. So, certainly, even without ABS, your car will still be able to stop. But if your vehicle has ABS, it’s not advised to drive without it.

Can ABS affect acceleration?

The purpose of ABS is to prevent a car’s or motorcycle’s wheel or wheels from locking up when braking. All wheels have speed sensors, which ABS uses to correctly calculate wheel speed and detect when a wheel is going to lock. Therefore, ABS has no impact on the vehicle’s acceleration.

Can ABS affect the engine?

No, there is no connection between ABS and the engine. So, ABS doesn’t affect engines, whether they function correctly or incorrectly. As the name implies, an anti-lock braking system works directly on the brake system to prevent wheels from locking.

How long do ABS sensors last?

An ABS sensor should last between 30,000 and 50,000 kilometers. If the sensor does make errors, an ABS warning light should appear on the dashboard, and your anti-lock braking system won’t activate when it’s necessary. Costs for aftermarket ABS speed sensors range from $50 to $500.


I hope you get an idea of how badly the caliper caused the ABS light to come on. From identifying the problem to providing step-by-step instructions for fixing it, this article has covered everything you need to know to get your vehicle up and running again.

Remember, regular maintenance is essential to keep your vehicle running smoothly and avoid costly repairs in the future.

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