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Replace brake caliper?

My teenager apparently was driving his 2001 Subaru Outback without paying attention the grinding noise coming from the front wheels. Our repair shop said both front calipers were locked up, needed replacement.

About 40,000 miles ago, when my wife was driving that same car, the same thing happened. The same shop replaced the calipers at that time. I am wondering now if this shop is taking us for a ride. While it is clearly wrong letting the brakes go that far, how often is caliper replacement required? I talked to someone else who owns a shop, he said he replaces calipers in about 1 out of 125 brake jobs.


a funny thing happens when the brakes get ‘worn out’

in really simple terms, when the brakes get really worn, the caliper gets pushed out further than it regularly should be used. (especially when someone is NOT listening to the grinding noise!)

although this should never happen, it does. when the caliper piston gets pushed out too (relatively) far it can get jammed, or stuck, so it will not release. the ‘non release’ of the piston keeps constant brake pad pressure on the brakes, thus adding to their hasty demise.

without being there, it is really hard to comment further, but your original description pretty much says enough… ignoring simple ( un natural) sounds often leads to larger, more expensive repairs.

not to cast stones here, but if the wife showed this example, how is the teenager expected to learn differently?

Vince, We need more info about what calipers locked up means. If the calipers truly were locked up, you would have NO braking power from the front and only the rear brakes would be effective. I doubt this is the case. Ask him to show you what he means by locked up. If the piston moves out when the pedal is pressed, and there’s no apparent fluid leaks, I can’t see why they would need to be replaced.

I was out of town, all the info I have is that the calipers were not fully releasing, caused excessive wear of the rotor. I asked for the calipers back but they said they need to turn them in as cores.

I don’t expect anyone on this forum to be able to tell me the condition that my calipers were in. My question is, of the readers here that have shops or do repairs on other peoples cars, how often do you find it necessary to replace/rebuild calipers?