Causes of Brake Pad Loose in Caliper and Solutions

When you experience a brake pad loose in caliper, you must know that it is unsafe to continue driving the vehicle in that condition. When the pad is not tight enough, it will experience a series of issues that will make it lose its effectiveness. You need to check the brake pads and the caliper once you suspect this is the case with your vehicle.

Your wheel will come with many symptoms when the brake pad is loose, some of which may include noise from the wheel, fast brake pads wear, and more.

brake pad loose in caliper

Causes of Brake Pad Loose In Caliper

The brake pad caliper is essential in housing and protecting the brake pads. It is mounted into the calipers for it to function correctly. The brake pad caliper is prone to get loosed due to wrong brake pads installation, worn-out pads or bad driving practices etc. It can cause severe damage to the vehicle’s wheel. 

Various factors, including the following, can cause the problem.   

1. Wrong Installation

Your brake pad can get loose in the caliper when not installed correctly. People must understand that it should be tight enough. There is a specified torque for every nut in the vehicle, including the nuts holding the brakes to the rails. It is essential to tighten the nuts to the specified torque.

When installing a brake pad yourself, you should have the right guide to install it properly. You can consult your vehicle manual to do this. 

2. Corrosion

Another reason that yourbrakes are loosed is due to corroded parts. As a result of its position, parts of the brakes can get affected by external factors, including water, dirt, and debris.

3. Wear and tear

Your brake pad will loosen when worn out after some period of use. When it gets worn out, it will no longer be as tight as it should be. In this case, the brake is a different size than it used to be and can no longer meet the rotor. The caliper will then become loose and move around a lot.

It would be best if you changed places immediately when you figured out that the brake pads had worn out to the extent that the kit is now loose in the caliper.  

4. Reckless driving

A common cause of loose brake pads is reckless driving. The brake and caliper are held in place firmly. However, rough driving can lose the bolts and cause the brake to loosen.

Reckless driving could also damage other parts of the wheel. For instance, driving fast into a porthole could cause cracks in the caliper and tire vibration.

Should Brake Pads Be Loose In Caliper?

The brake pads are fitted firmly into the caliper, and space should not be between the calipers and the pads. Driving with a loose brake caliper could be dangerous and cause severe damage to part of the wheel.

When you drive with a loose caliper, it comes with some symptoms, including shaking brakes. When the brake pad and rotor in the wheels are supposed to work in synchrony, your brakes will experience severe wear and tear if this is not the case.

Another sign you will experience is brake pads rattling in caliper. The constant shake in the caliper is responsible for the pad rattle. It could also be a grinding sound, like two metals rubbing on each other, and the bad brake noise can be loud and uncomfortable to hear.

If you use a vehicle with loose brakes for too long, the brakes may lose their stopping power. It results from the extreme wear to thebrake pad and caliper. If this is the case, you must change the parts and have them installed correctly and firmly.

Finally, for this aspect, a loose brake caliper can cause a brake system failure. When the brakes are not tightened correctly in place, there is no way it can be as effective as it should be.

How Do You Fix A Loose Brake Caliper?

If you have a brake caliper loose, the best way to fix it is to tighten the bolt. It is best to follow the proper steps to tighten the bolts.

Below are steps to tighten the bolt whenever you have a loose or shaking caliper.

1. Remove the brake caliper bolt

Before you get the bolt removed, you need to locate the caliper. It is a housing that is connected to the disc rotor, and it is connected to the knuckle using bolts. Find the bolts and proceed to remove them.

However, some bolts can be corroded with debris, making them rusty and hard to remove. If this is the case with the bolts, you will need high-quality penetrating fluid applied to the bolts and let it soak in there for a while. Go on to loosen the caliper, but ensure the loosening direction is correct; many bolts have reversed threads.

2. Inspect the bolt

After you have removed the bolts and replaced faulty parts of the brakes, you need to have the bolts checked immediately. Once you notice that the bolt has rust, you can quickly get the bolts checked by physically inspecting those bolts for holes and rust.

You can also get the rusted bolt cleaned, and after cleaning it properly, inspect if there are still holes. Insert the bolt in the bolt hole to see if it will fit properly. You must change the bolt if it does not fit into the hole properly.

3. Clean and rethread bolt hole

You also need to rethread the bolt hole if worn out. Before fixing the bolt, you must clean the hole or rethread it with a thread cleaner or chaser. You can use a new caliper thread as your thread chaser.

4. Install all components

The next step is replacing all damaged components in the brake caliper, including the pads and bolts. Ensure that you consult your vehicle manual.

Tighten caliper bolt You Tube

5. Tighten the bolt to recommended torque

The next step is to tighten the bolts on your vehicle to the recommended torque, and this is where many people need to correct things. It would be best if you understood that not all cars use the same torque for their calipers. You can get the exact torque measurement for your caliper by consulting the vehicle’s manual.

Is It Safe To Drive With A Loose Brake Pad?

It is not advisable to drive with a loose brake pad. It is very dangerous to go with a loose brake because the brake will not be as effective as having a well-tightened pad. With a less tight brake parts, it will take more force on the brake pedal to get the brake to work correctly.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix A Loose Caliper?

The cost of fixing a damaged caliper depends on what parts are damaged. The average part price of a caliper is between $500 and $850. The price excludes labor costs. If you are considering labor costs, you will be looking at an extra charge of more than $100.

It will cost less if you replace the bolt alone. The bolt could cost as low as $5 and up to $100 or more.

brake pad and caliper


The primary cause of brake pad loose in caliper is due to a loosened or damaged bolt. When this happens, you will have to get the bolt checked immediately. Inspect the bolt correctly and if there is damage by rust, get them replaced.

There are other ways that your brake pad could become rusted, one of which is a worn brake pad that needs replacement. 

Akindayini Temiloluwa

I am Akindayini Temiloluwa, an automotive expert writer and car enthusiast. I have over three years of experience in the automotive writing niche and have completed over 300 pieces of content from 50 projects. I have vast knowledge and skill in vehicle repairing, all mechanical work, car upgrades and maintenance. My goal as an automotive content writer is to simplify the most challenging concepts for my readers, help them self-diagnose what may be wrong with their vehicles and offer real value for their time.

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