Brake caliper replacement cost

Expect to pay around $800 (luckily, your warranty might cover it)

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Audi, BMW and Toyota
brake caliper on a garage work table

Are your brakes sticking, pulling your vehicle to one side or just not stopping your car like they used to? All three are signs that you may have a faulty brake caliper. (The caliper is the part that clamps down on your brake pads and rotor to stop your wheels from turning.)

So, if you’re thinking you may need a new caliper soon, what can you expect to pay? Would a warranty possibly cover the cost? If not, can you save money by simply repairing faulty calipers instead of replacing them?

Read on to find out.


Key insights

  • The average cost to replace a single brake caliper is reportedly around $800, but the cost varies significantly based on your vehicle’s make and model.
  • For example, the cost of a new caliper may rise past $1,500 for luxury or performance vehicles.
  • A factory or extended car warranty could cover your brake caliper replacement even though it wouldn’t cover brake pads and rotors.
  • Trying to repair a caliper generally isn’t worth it, but you can save money on a replacement by checking to see if you have active warranty coverage and calling multiple mechanics for quotes.

How much does it cost to replace brake calipers?

According to various estimates, the cost to replace a single brake caliper is around $800. But the cost can vary anywhere from $300 to $1,500 or more, depending on the make and model of your vehicle.

Here’s a chart to illustrate what we mean, using estimates from RepairPal’s Fair Price Estimator tool:

*Estimates collected using RepairPal’s Fair Price Estimator

As you can see, the price of parts was pretty steady between brands — but the cost of labor was all over the place. Generally speaking, luxury or performance brands like Audi, BMW and Porsche command higher labor rates, especially if you get your vehicle serviced at the dealership. (That’s why visiting a third-party, ASE-certified technician is a great way to cut costs.)

But there might be a better way to save money on a caliper replacement — having it done entirely for free under warranty.

Do warranties cover brake caliper replacements?

If your brake caliper fails under normal driving conditions, the cost to repair or replace it may be covered under warranty, but that’s not always clear to consumers.

Exclusionary warranties (aka bumper-to-bumper warranties, like the one that came with your car when it was new) typically exclude other brake components, like rotors and pads, because they’re considered “wear-and-tear” parts. Basically, those parts are expected to fail within a certain number of miles, just like tires and windshield wipers. Warranties only cover parts that fail due to factory defects.

» MORE: What does a car warranty cover?

If you’re not sure whether your car still has any of its factory warranty remaining, you can check using your VIN.

Brake calipers aren’t designed to fail in most vehicles’ lifetimes, so if you currently have bumper-to-bumper warranty coverage, you may be able to get your calipers repaired or replaced under warranty. (Less comprehensive powertrain warranties typically don’t cover brakes, though.)

It’s worth noting that many extended warranties cover brake calipers, too. Considering the cost of replacing a pair of brake calipers on a luxury vehicle could be $3,000-plus, additional coverage could provide peace of mind as your vehicle ages.

» MORE: Best extended car warranty companies

How long do brake calipers last?

Brake calipers should last at least 75,000 miles. The average life span reportedly tends to hover around 10 years or 100,000 miles.

Don’t treat those intervals as gospel, though, because any number of factors could greatly reduce the life span of your calipers. Hard braking, salty roads and a moist climate can all wear down your calipers much faster, so you shouldn’t necessarily expect them to last a full 10 years in all cases.

To put it another way, if your brakes are acting strange, pull over and have them inspected. Don’t convince yourself that it’s not your calipers because they’re too young.

Can you repair brake calipers?

Mechanics have split opinions on whether you can safely repair brake calipers instead of replacing them.

Some say it’s possible with the right tools and know-how, but we spoke to several Atlanta-area shops that decline to repair customer brake calipers for various reasons.

We might as well just replace it.”
— an Atlanta-area repair shop manager

“We’d have to inspect the caliper for any possible signs of corrosion before we’d even consider repairing it,” said one. “And by that point, we might as well just replace it.”

“It’s definitely possible to repair calipers, but it’s just not something we do,” said the manager of a shop specializing in Japanese and Korean vehicles. “We’d rather send you off with brakes that we know for sure are going to work, and don’t have hidden fade or corrosion that our techs didn’t catch.”

As for the cost of repairing versus replacing brake calipers, we couldn’t find a shop willing to provide a quote to repair a faulty caliper on any of the sample vehicles listed above. That’s pretty telling in itself, and it suggests that you might want to go ahead and budget for a full replacement.

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FAQ

What is a brake caliper, and how does it work?

Brake calipers are the large clamps that bite down on your brake discs to make your wheels stop turning. The disc they bite down onto is called the rotor, and the piece inside the caliper that makes contact with the rotor is called a brake pad.

It’s also worth mentioning that older-style drum brakes — which, as of publishing, are still found on the Toyota Tacoma, Mitsubishi Mirage and even select electric vehicles, like the Volkswagen ID.4 — do not use calipers and rotors. Instead, they use “shoes” to push outward on the drum to stop your wheels from turning.

How do you know if your brake caliper is bad?

Possible signs of a faulty caliper include but aren’t limited to:

  • Your car pulling in one direction
  • A “clunk” when braking
  • Mushy brake pedal feel
  • Reduced braking power
  • Fluid leaks from your calipers
  • Your calipers refusing to let go of your rotor
Can you replace your brake calipers yourself?

You can replace your brake calipers yourself to save on labor costs, but it’s generally considered to be a harder-than-average repair for DIYers.


Article sources
ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:
  1. RepairPal, “Get an Estimate.” Accessed Jan. 5, 2024.
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