Selling Services: Loaded Brake Calipers…Can They Boost Productivity? – UnderhoodService

Selling Services: Loaded Brake Calipers…Can They Boost Productivity?

Some technicians and parts professionals like loaded and semi-loaded calipers because almost everything they need comes in one box. They don’t have to worry about mismatched parts from different suppliers and the complete assemblies are quick and easy to install. Most importantly, they see fewer comebacks because of brake noise or other problems. Also, the assembled caliper can save time and make difficult brake jobs more profitable.

The term “loaded caliper” indicates a caliper that includes a caliper, hardware and friction. This assembly is ready to bolt on the vehicle in most cases. Some suppliers are even including the caliper bracket for some applications. A “semi-loaded” caliper is a caliper that includes just the hardware and no friction. This leaves the friction material selection up to the technician. Some people in the industry now refer to a caliper that is sold alone as “bare” or “naked.”

Loaded calipers do provide a variety of benefits when doing brake jobs on customer’s vehicles. Most brake suppliers have a loaded and semi-loaded caliper programs today so availability is seldom an issue. Price, in some shops minds, remains the main hurdle to buying loaded calipers, but one comeback can change their minds.

One of the main advantages for the technician is that loaded caliper assemblies help restore the brakes to like-new condition. Not only do they get new friction, but also a new or professionally remanufactured caliper and properly matched hardware (shims, bushings, slides, etc.). This significantly reduces the risk of future leaks developing, and uneven braking or pad wear caused by calipers hanging up or dragging.

Many technicians have learned the hard way that attempting to rebuild old calipers is often a waste of time. In many instances, the old calipers are so badly corroded or worn, they can’t be rebuilt or they leak when they are put back on the vehicle. Disassembling a caliper to replace the piston seal and dust boot is a messy job, and may be difficult or impossible if the piston is stuck in place. Steel pistons often can’t be reused because they’re too badly corroded, and scratches or pits in the caliper bore may cause the caliper to leak even after a new piston and seal are installed. That’s why most technicians prefer to replace old calipers with new or remanufactured calipers.

Caliper piston seals don’t last forever, and once they start to leak, it’s the end of the road for the caliper and the pads. Fluid leaks are dangerous because they can lead to a loss of hydraulic pressure in the brake circuit that may cause the brakes to fail. Brake fluid leaking from a caliper can also contaminate the brake linings and cause them to grab or pull.

A caliper may also have to be replaced if it is sticking. Internal corrosion can cause pistons to jam or freeze preventing the caliper from working normally or releasing completely. Corrosion on the caliper mounts, bushings or slides can also cause problems by preventing a floating caliper from moving normally when the brakes are applied. The result here may be uneven pad wear, uneven braking, dragging or a pull. With a loaded caliper, the caliper is replaced along with the pads.

Replacing the hardware is important, because old corroded hardware can cause braking problems. We’ve heard of shims that have worked loose and caused a rotor to fail by rubbing and cutting through the rotor hat! If a technician forgets to install an anti-rattle clip or installs one that doesn’t fit properly, the newly installed pads may be noisy. Loaded calipers reduce these risks by providing the proper hardware and replacing everything that should be replaced.

The type of friction material that’s included with a loaded caliper assembly is critical because it should be the same, or better than the original. To avoid a mismatch of friction side-to-side, when installing loaded calipers on a vehicle, both calipers should be replaced at the same time. If only one caliper is being replaced, be sure to use the same friction pads on both sides.

Additional Sales
When a caliper is installed, the brake system should always be flushed and refilled with clean, fresh brake fluid that meets the OEM requirements for the application (DOT 3 or 4 fluid).

Even if a caliper is loaded, specialized brake greases and lubricants will be needed for installation. Caliper slides and bushings should be lubricated with a high-temperature brake grease, and related brake components, such as hoses, lines, rear wheel cylinders and the master cylinder, should all be inspected to make sure these components are in good working condition and are leak-free.

Cores Issues
When returning brake caliper cores, make sure everything is in the box. If the manufacturer included new brackets, make sure to include the old part. Rear brake calipers should also include and emergency brake hardware that was replaced with the new loaded caliper.

If the brake caliper is aluminum, like on the Chevrolet Malibu, make sure that you look at the core for corrosion around the inlet port where the banjo fitting makes contact. The two dissimilar metals create galvanic corrosion that can lead to pitting of the surfaces. Make sure to check with your parts suppliers on the core policies for these types of calipers. Also, look for damaged threads in the inlet port installing an aluminum caliper. Someone might have damaged the threads and not told the parts store before returning the part.

Loaded and semi-loaded calipers generally provide good value for the money and can lower repair costs when price is an issue. If you choose to install loaded calipers, look for a supplier that has a good reputation and stands behind its products.

You May Also Like

Check Out The December Issue Of Underhood Service Magazine

The digital version of the December issue of Underhood Service is available on-line. Access the easy-to-view digital version that features articles on Spark Plug Service, Hyundai Oxygen Sensor Codes, CAN Bus Diagnostics, Subaru Stretch Belt Replacement, a host of Tech Tips, and more!

The digital version of the December issue of Underhood Service is available on-line.

CLICK HERE to access the easy-to-view digital version that features articles on Spark Plug Service, Hyundai Oxygen Sensor Codes, CAN Bus Diagnostics, Subaru Stretch Belt Replacement, a host of Tech Tips, and more!

Transmission Line Replacement

Transmission fluid likes to be at a constant temperature. If it is too hot or too cold for too long, the performance can fluctuate and potentially cause damage to the transmission.

VIDEO: AAPEX 2016 Insights

Andrew Markel discusses his take on conversations he had with economists at AAPEX 2016, including the future of purchasing parts.

BMW Tech Tip: Oil Separator Replacement

A clogged oil separator valve is a common problem on many BMW DOHC inline sixes. The high failure rate is caused by sludge build-up that can result in oil burning, rough idle and engine fault codes. Although the solution is pretty simple, replacing the valve is labor intensive and can take anywhere from six to nine hours.

New IDUSA Premium Guard Website Offers Easy Access To Wide Range Of Oil, Air, Cabin, Fuel And Transmission Filters

The new website’s bi-lingual, responsive design features look-up powered by ShowMeTheParts.

Other Posts
VIDEO: How To Deal With Air Conditioning Smells

Andrew Markel discusses what to do to get rid of A/C smells after customers have tried to do it themselves.

Oil Bath Air Filters

Long before people started using cotton gauze air filters soaked in oil, the oil bath air filter was the dominant filter on the market. The filter removes debris in the air by running it over oil and a mesh element. These filters worked great when most roads were dirt, but they could be messy to clean.

On The Web – September 2016

Finding Failing O2 Sensors If an O2 sensor gets “lazy” because of old age or contamination, the computer may not be able to adjust the fuel mixture quickly enough as the engine’s operating conditions change. Related Articles – Join Underhood Service On LinkedIn – Honda Tech Tip: Oil Pressure Switch Fails Intermittently – Fuel Trim

Join Underhood Service On LinkedIn

Related Articles – Check Out The August Issue Of Underhood Service Magazine – Hayden Automotive Introduces Low-Profile Fan Clutch – Belt Inspection Checklist                     Underhood Service’s LinkedIn Page                         Underhood Service’s LinkedIn Group