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Bad calipers/piston?
500 Madness
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Thread: Bad calipers/piston?

  1. #1
    Member Mr_Ritka's Avatar
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    Bad calipers/piston?

    Hi guys, so recently I noticed a noise while braking. I pinpointed the noise to the drivers side rear and the sound only came when braking and sounded like a little metal clicking. The strange thing is that it wasnt the normal squealing that lets you know your pads are worn, rather a tk tk tk tk tk noise only when braking slowly. Upon pressing the pedal harder the noise would disappear. Naturally, I decided to check said wheel and after removing the pads I noticed the inner pad severely worn down while the outside pad is not. In addition, the inside of the rotor looks terrible; its not smooth and looks to be have some rust in random areas. The piston went back in after pushing it with the tool. I cleaned the shims and greased contact points again and test drove the car....the noise was gone. Now, I obviously need to replaced the pads and rotors (presumably on the passenger side rear as well). My question is, what cause this uneven wear? Could the caliper or piston be bad? Is there a way to test it? My car currently has 22k miles so all brake components are from factory. Any insight is greatly appreciated.

    (not sure how to upload higher resolution images to show more detail)
    Current Ride:
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  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Caliper/pads not returning to center would be my guess, where grody caliper guide pins and hardware are usually to blame. Having cleaned and lubed the hardware, you could probably run it a while
    and check the pad again. I imagine it will wear evenly and you’d have some
    life left yet.

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  4. #3
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    Full disclosure: I have not yet changed the brake pads on my new-to-me 500 Abarth. However, I suspect they're much like the many other brake jobs I've done, including a recent repair of my wife's Honda.

    The calipers generally slide left and right on a pair of pins and they float to the center, more or less, when the brakes aren't on. When these pins and/or the caliper unit gets rusted or otherwise fouled, the caliper won't return to a centered "floating" position and one side rubs on the brake rotor. Naturally, this wears out one pad much faster than the other.

    The fix is simple. Take out the pins, clean them up and clean the bores where they fit too. Then lubricate the parts with a high temperature grease or, better yet, a special brake pin grease. Reassemble with a new set of pads, and you're good to go. Cleaning and lubricating the caliper pins should be done each time you change pads or otherwise take the brakes off, but unfortunately it is often overlooked.

    And while you're in there, at least bleed the brakes and if it's been a year or two, flush the brake system. Flushing is nothing more than extended bleeding. Plan on using nearly a liter can of the appropriate brake fluid. Brake fluid absorbs moisture from the air and that moisture will eventually cause corrosion of a caliper piston or brake slave cylinder or a master cylinder. So flush your entire system once in a while.

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  6. #4
    Senior Member fast_dave's Avatar
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    Rust Belt car issue.

    Caliper Rubber Seals & Caliper Hardware including pins need to be replaced & greased.

    Additionally, I'd wager the brake fluid is black (or getting there) and needs to be flushed - as that greatly helps keeping the caliper piston from sticking.
    Last edited by fast_dave; 06-10-2021 at 04:27 PM.
    2012 Sport 5 speed Manual Trans, SPC Adjustable Front Camber Bolts, CorsaStrada Lower Front Chassis Brace, ST Rear Sway Bar, 205/45/16 Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport Tires

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  8. #5
    smark's Avatar
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    Ditto, what Mozilla, and Fast_Dave. Both recommended. That happening at 22K miles, is sure premature.

  9. #6
    Senior Member bryanintowson's Avatar
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    I've had to replace both of my rear calipers. Think I might have to again soon, too.

  10. #7
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    Dec 2020
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    My left rear caliper just went bad at 60K.
    Worst is there is none locally and had to order it.

  11. #8
    Junior Member SardineBreath's Avatar
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    Has anyone ever noticed how the rear brake pads on Fiat 500s rub a little? I've spun both rear wheels and at a certain point in the rotation the brake pads contact the rotor. Same issue I had with my Sport, now with my Abarth.

    Yes the caliper slide pins are well lubricated including the brake pad metal shims so I doubt it's a case of lubrication or sticky brakes. Maybe just a Fiat thing?

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  13. #9
    Amministratore Fiat500USA's Avatar
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    You also have to make sure the pads don't stick in the bracket. They can get sticky or rusty depending on environmental conditions and how dirty things are.

    Also, using the handbrake a lot adjusts the pads to take up clearance and they can get close to the rotors. Especially if the driver is the type to really yank excessively hard on the hand brake.

    Semi metallic pads especially can get attached to the rotors if the car isn't driven for a length of time especially in wet conditions. They will break free and you can here some rubbing until the rotor surface is polished out.

    I have ceramic pads, but they too get stuck if I leave the handbrake on for a few days and it rains. I t goes away after a drive down the block. If it didn't go away I would pull the pads of and clean everything.

    A hint is when you put the pads on, the pin on the pads has to fit into the caliper piston. That's a detail that many miss.

    If pads are worn more on one side, that usually is the guide pins as was mentioned or the pads have gotten stuck in the bracket. Calipers do go bad, too, but the other issues are more common.
    Last edited by Fiat500USA; 06-18-2021 at 10:08 AM. Reason: added last comment.
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    My 2012 Sport rubs on the passenger side. Had to disassemble it and lube everything. Still rubs at one point but it's not noisy anymore.

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