Jeep Wrangler Brake Caliper Sticking [What to Do]


Brake calipers are the essential safety features of your Jeep Wrangler. Their function is to firmly hold the brake pads and force them against the rotor component of the brake when you push your foot against the brake pedal. Any inadequacy in their function could land you in immense trouble. You could experience a preventable accident and suffer grave injuries. 

This is why it is very important to pay attention if you notice your Jeep Wrangler brake caliper sticking. This may seem to be a small and insignificant component, but it could cost you your life. There could be flaws in the structure of these calipers or in the components surrounding these calipers which cause them to stick.

A stuck caliper will incompletely disengage from the surface of the brake rotor so that the brakes will be pressed by some amount at all times. While driving with a stuck caliper is essentially dangerous for your safety on the road, it could also cause serious issues with your transmission system. Oftentimes, transmission systems give up early because of this problem. 

Note the symptoms of a stuck brake caliper 

There are certain symptoms of a stuck caliper that you can spot early. This will help you save the consequences of this problem. You can take preventive measures early on and maintain the safety standards of your Jeep.

Pay attention to the rotten egg smell

Never ignore the rotten egg smell that fills up your Jeep’s cabin. This could be a sign of trouble. Brakes heat up and begin to glaze when they are pressed for long by a stuck caliper. While this reduces their efficiency to stop your Jeep in case of emergencies, it also puts much pressure on your engine. This strong smell should be addressed immediately. 

Note if your vehicle has started pulling to one side 

Whenever a brake is stuck in the front, your Jeep will tend to pull in the direction of the failing brake. Your Jeep will seem to be steering in that direction.

Pay attention to smoke 

You should never ignore any sign of smoke emitted by your vehicle. If you smell smoke after riding your Wrangler around, it could be a sign of hot brakes. The constant pressure of a stuck caliper would cause the brakes to heat up and start emitting smoke. This is a definite signal of stuck brakes. Once you notice smoke, you must immediately get your vehicle repaired by a mechanic and not drive until the problem has been taken care of.

Notice the fall in fuel efficiency 

In case your Jeep Wrangler has suddenly started losing mileage, it could be a sign of brake calipers that are stuck. Stuck calipers create a lot of pressure on the engine and the transmission which could drag down your usual fuel mileage.

Jeep Wrangler Brake Caliper Sticking

Know the common reasons behind Jeep Wrangler brake caliper sticking.

There are certain mechanical and technical reasons behind every problem that arises in your car. There are some common faults that usually explain sticking brake calipers. 

Your brake calipers may be rusty 

It is possible that your brake calipers and piston boot may be dirty. Caliper pistons are also important components of the braking system. They serve in pushing the brake pads against the brake disc. This phenomenon reduces the speed of your Jeep when you press your feet against the brake pads. 

Brake caliper pistons are surrounded by a rubber boot that prevents the entry of dust and dirt particles into the brake system. However, this boot commonly gets damaged. It gets corroded by water, dust, and other damaging factors that make their way into the piston. A rusting piston could get completely jammed. This is a common reason behind sticking brake calipers.

You must check the brake boot for any apparent damage and the presence of rust. In case your boot is rusty, you can push the piston out and clean it. Always remember to replace the boot.

Your brake pads could be rusty 

This is another common reason behind stuck brake calipers. The guides of these brake pads should be regularly lubricated for them to easily glide upon the brake caliper bracket. The forward and backward movement of these brake pads becomes compromised due to the presence of rust. The collection of dust and rust can significantly reduce the movement of these brake pads and make it appear like the calipers are stuck. 

You can fix this issue by removing the brake pads and cleaning the brake pad bracket with the help of a file or sandpaper. These pads should then be lubricated with copper paste.

Your brake caliper guide pin could be dirty 

The brake caliper guide pins are situated at the brake caliper bracket. Their function is to help the caliper slide forward and backward at the time you press the brakes. If these guide pins develop rust, they could get stuck and prevent the proper functioning of the brake caliper. This is another usual reason behind the sticking brake calipers of the Jeep Wrangler. 

There are rubber boots around these guide pins for their adequate protection against water and dust. You must check the integrity of these boots and thoroughly clean them. It is also essential to lubricate them before putting them back on. 

Note that these protective boots may be very difficult to remove. It may become necessary to warm a torch to heat them up for easy removal. 

There could be an issue with the parking brake cables 

Especially if your problem seems to arise from the rear end of your Jeep, it is possible that there is an issue with the parking brakes. Most modern cars are not equipped with the handbrake inside of the brake disc. It is instead present on the brake caliper. This leaves a window open for the entry of water and dust that could cause the handbrake to rust. 

This problem could lead to an improper release of brake calipers at the time you release the Jeep’s handbrake. You can fix this problem by adequately lubricating the handbrake cable and the caliper arm. You must ensure to move it forward and backward many times to ensure that it is working well. Otherwise, you may have to replace the parking brake cables and even the brake calipers. 

Your brake hose may be broken 

The function of a brake hose is to allow the fluid to flow into the braking system and then back into the master cylinder. But if there occurs a small breakage in the structure of the brake hose, the brake fluid would only flow towards the brake pistons and not return. This can also cause your brake calipers to stick.

Although this issue isn’t seen very commonly in Jeep Wranglers, it could be a possibility. If you have inspected and analyzed all the other problems, you must get to the brake hose and replace it if necessary. 

Your brake fluid may be old 

Many brake problems arise because of dirty and old brake fluid. Your brake fluid continuously draws water from the air. Typically, it should be replaced after every one or two years. If this fluid isn’t replaced, its water content will rise and it might cause your brakes to rust from the inside.

Take these steps to adequately maintain your brake calipers

Regular maintenance and care do not leave space for such problems to arise. You must take some essential measures to care for your brake calipers and the important safety features of your Jeep.

Change the brake fluid 

The brake fluid in your braking system must be changed every year or after every three years at a minimum. This will save your brakes from rusting on the inside. 

Adequately clean the brake pads and the guide pins 

After every two or three years, you must clean your brake pads, guide pins, and brake pistons. At these times, you must also check for signs of deterioration. Whenever possible, replace these components for the best in class safety.

Brake hard 

It is beneficial to sometimes brake hard while driving at high speeds. This activity engages your vehicle’s braking system and prevents them from ever getting stuck. If you never use your brakes to their full capacity, they’ll eventually get stuck. So attain that thrill a few times a year to best maintain the function of your brakes. 

Use your parking brake 

Many people resort to never employing their parking brake when they have an automatic transmission system. This often causes the parking brake cables and their brackets to get stuck. 


It is very important to keep your braking system well maintained and in its best shape. Any issue with the safety apparatus of your Jeep could cause you immense harm. It is important that you check these components regularly during service. In the event of any problem, get your Jeep’s braking system repaired by a mechanic before driving again. Note the symptoms of sticking brake calipers when they arise and take quick action.

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