WTF Wednesday: Brake Calipers

I previously attempted to feature new insight into wheels and how they work with “Wheels Wednesday”.

But in all honesty, it was a lazy attempt, not to mention a monotonous one. So for now on (aka for as long as I remember) I’ll be doing “WTF Wednesday” instead.

I often come across many part names and concepts about cars that honestly, I just don’t know what the fuck they are. So I’m going to research these foreign concepts and share with you all my new found knowledge. I feel it my duty to let you all know just what the fuck these concepts are so that we can all be a little more fucking knowledgeable about cars.

Oh, and I may be a little late but…

CAUTION: F-bombs ahead. Proceed to fallout shelter. 

But just like my parents would say… less swearing, more learning.

So without further adieu, I present to you all…

Image

… this weird, red… thing.

These are called brake calipers. And judging by the title of this blog post, I’m sure most of you already figured that out.

Now, this may be because I’m female, but I always assumed that calipers were more or less a fashion statement for your car. Just like we bring a pop of color to our outfits with bold, statement necklaces, guys bring a little color to their wheels by the means of calipers. So I, looking to add a pop of color to my ride, set out to purchase a pair of bright blue calipers to compliment my car’s dark gray exterior.

Imagine my surprise to find out that calipers have absolutely nothing to do with fashion. And actually, they’re an extremely important component of the car.

Our car’s calipers are more or less responsible for our ability to brake. They create friction with the rotor of the wheel (what makes it spin), which slows it down.

Howstuffworks.com explained it best:

The brake caliper fits over the rotor like a clamp. Inside each caliper is

a pair of metal plates bonded with friction material — these are called brake pads. The outboard brake pads are on the outside of the rotors (toward the curb) and the inboard brake pads on the inside (toward the vehicle). When you step on the brake, brake fluid from the master cylinder creates hydraulic pressure on one or more pistons in the brake caliper, forcing the pads against the rotor. The brake pads have high-friction surfaces and serve to slow the rotor down or even bring it to a complete halt. When the rotor slows or stops, so does the wheel, because they’re attached to one another.

That color we see is actually from the caliper cover, not the caliper itself. Their purpose is to protect the car from brake dust. Not too many cars come equipped with them, and typically you see them most on sports cars.

You can purchase them aftermarket, but expect the same sticker shock that I did when I searched for them. Almost $200? Are you kidding me? If you’re looking for just the color and not really the protection, then purchase a specific spray paint to give your calipers some pizazz.

Oh, and it’s actually affordable. 

Enjoy your new knowledge, and have a great day everyone!

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