How to Compress Rear Brake Caliper “No Special Tools”

Flat rate mechanic here today, we’re gonna do a rear brake job on a Ford Escape with screwin type caliper Basically, it’s a caliper and ebrake all-in-one Normally, you’d need a special tool, and I’m gonna show you how to do it without any special tools First we’re just gonna get this caliper off. I remove the two caliper slide bolts here And I’m just gonna take a small screwdriver to push them out the rest of the way Otherwise they can hang up when you’re trying to pull the caliper back I’m just gonna take and place the caliper aside for the time being while we get the brake pads, caliper bracket, and the rotor off It’s also a small clip that you can release with the screwdriver in the front I’m not gonna let the caliper hang. I’m just gonna kinda wedge it up there. It’s nice and secure And as you can see the pads on this they’re almost all the way down to the backing plates And it’s definitely time to have the brakes changed Gonna remove the 2 13 millimeter bolts holding the caliper bracket on to the spindle Also if you don’t have a secure place to stick the caliper you can always hang it by a bungee cord or even a coat hanger But you don’t want it to let it hang from the brake hose on this one with the Screw in style caliper has an e-brake cable and a brake hose attached to it You can let the e brake cable take up some of the slack. You don’t want to hang it from the brake hose though. Just cause a little too much stress now. It was impossibly damaged it And now we got the caliper off, we’re gonna get the rotor off. I just take a rubber mallet kind of break it free here Sometimes if the rotors stuck on can use some penetrating oil and let it set for a little bit sometimes They do get rusty and stick this one came off relatively easy Then you’re gonna want to make sure the spindle area where the rotor mounts is nice and clean And on this particular vehicle there doesn’t look too bad so now It’s also a good idea to apply some grease on the spindle area before putting the brake rotor on you can also use antiseze for this I Just find grease works almost just as well, and it’s not nearly as messy I’m gonna be installing a new rotor on this vehicle before I do so I made sure I cleaned it off with some brake clean They always come shipped with a lot of grease on them to prevent rusting If you don’t have brake clean soap and water is also a good alternative, and it works great Just prior to putting this rotor on make sure the spindle area is nice and clean that way you don’t get any pulsation in the brake pedal Now we’re ready to install our caliper bracket And as you can see I got the caliper bracket all cleaned up nice and good I Actually put it we have a sandblast machine I stuck it in the sandblaster And I’ve blasted all the rust away the service nice and clean if you don’t have sand blaster, which most people don’t You can use a wire brush just make sure you get nice and clean I put a little brake grease on there to help the pads slide nicely and prevents rust buildup from underneath the pads Which can cause them to stick in the future? Okay now for the cool part. I’m going to show you guys how to get this rear screw styled caliper Compressed without any special tools all you’re gonna need for this is some oil filter pliers And a set of channel locks We’re gonna use oil filter pliers to keep pressure on the piston while I Use the channel locks to spin the piston The only thing you’re gonna watch out for here is pinching rubber boot with the pliers. You can even pull that back if you need to Oil filter pliers We’re just gonna hold steady pressure on that it doesn’t take a ton of pressure just even steady pressure, and then you were gonna want to turn the caliper piston clockwise While rotating it with the channel locks I actually find myself doing it this way over using the tool in a lot of cases Tends to be much faster and If you’ve ever used those special tools you’ll come to notice that sometimes it feels like to need three hands So this way is really not a bad alternative and ends up being a little quicker And if you have an older vehicle and you got some rust buildup inside of there You can pull that boot back a little bit with a pick Spray a little wd-40 in there I’ll pull the boot back all the way down so you can make sure you don’t pinch it in this case I was able to get the channel locks on top of the piston relatively easy and There’s a fairly newer vehicle so everything’s still pretty nice and free Okay now that we got that all done. We’re ready to reassemble these rear brakes Now we’re ready to install our brake pads On this one you can see the spring on the pad That’s going to sit on the inside and what that does is keep the pad from rattling Keeps it tight in the holster We’re gonna apply a little brake grease To the backing of the pads this is gonna prevent the vibration also. We’re gonna do some silicone Inside of the caliper slides And that’s gonna keep the caliber slides moving nice and freely and also protector the rubber You don’t want to use normal Grease in there. There’s over time that will deteriorate the rubber you want to use a silicone for the brake slides Another little tip I can give you two is a lot of times when you put that rotor on there It’s gonna start. Just gonna sit some little crooked You can just spin a lug nut on there By just hand tight to hold that rotor in place And you’re always gonna want to start these caliper slides by hand just to make sure the threads dont cross On this particular vehicle we’re gonna be flushing the brake fluid after as well With a brake fluid flush machine And I’ll be doing a video on that to in the future so be sure to subscribe to the channel Now we’re just gonna install this brake clip and we’re gonna be done with this brake job on this side and this I just do by hand a lot of people have had a lot of problem with it, but if you just Put it a holes first and hold it by finger and then clamp around the bracket. They usually going relatively easily I would be glad to answer any question you may have on this video so be sure to leave your questions and comments below if This video was helpful to you be sure to hit the thumbs up button below Also subscribe to my channel so to help support future videos Below in the description. We’ll also be links to all the products I used to do this rear brake caliper service Thanks for watching the flat rate mechanic

100 thoughts on “How to Compress Rear Brake Caliper “No Special Tools”

    Here are the Amazon links to the products I used in this video

    Oil filter pliers:

    Channel Locks:

    Brake grease:

    Silicone Brake slide lube:

    Brake clean:

    My other video on replacing rear drum brakes:

  2. The brakes on this Ford are identical to the rear brakes on my 2005 Saab 9-3 Aero. I effectively used needle-nose pliers to push the piston back in, not touching the boot and taking a risk of damaging it. I put the ends of the pliers into the two holes in the pistons and turned them clockwise while applying downward pressure. Using channel locks would have made my job a bit easier

  3. You can also take us C-clamp and the old brake pad you screw the C-clamp and it puts pressure on the pad in the pad pushes the Piston back into the caliper

  4. I take this advice lightly considering this guy don't even know how to properly use channel locks.( the opening of the jaws always faces the way your turning)

  5. Why does my front disk brakes pulse when coming to a stop. Changed the rotors and pads 2 years ago. Mine take two 1/4" screws to hold the rotors in

  6. Always remove lid from brake fluid reservoir under the hood or bonnet, this allows fluid to expand when cylinder is pushed back in cylinder.

  7. It was nice of you to clean the mounts. The dealership didn't even bother cleaning and greasing the caliper slide pin. Needs new pads 13k miles later. Hope the home office dings them pretty good after my horrible review.

  8. I have a little tip I can give you…avoid working on Fords. They love to design and engineer everything bass ackwards. Nothing is simple with these vehicles. Unless you like going around your a-hole to get to your elbow….🙃😒

  9. This method destroys the rim of the piston and sometimes the boot. It is much harder to replace the boot and piston after you use chisel mechanic tools. Spend the $5 and get the tools you need, or don't do the job.

  10. Gotta love these YouTube certified mechanics. These are the joker's that keep me busy and flush with cash after they fuck up a customer's caliper.
    If you have the correct tools for the job, USE THEM!!!

  11. Or use the proper tool. Hey its only the cars baking system. A large long nose pliers in the two holes will also work. Please use care when working on the brake components. Have a safe and blessed day.

  12. If the pads are down to metal, depending on the caliper; sometimes it's almost impossible to fit the wind back tool on. Using this method will help give some extra mm to then fit the tool.


  13. A big NO NO all around , use the brake proper tools, you have damaged the top of the piston where the seal sits letting in water and dust into the piston causing damage down the's best to remove the piston and fit a new seal kit at the same time,

  14. This is shade tree mechanic vid , don't have the proper tools is a BIG mistake. That's like using a rock instead of a hammer !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. Anyone saying just C- CLAMP it in to PUSH it in has never done these before….You MUST turn as you push in to get them back properly….
    Emergency brake built-in Rear Brake Disc Calipers are like this !!

  16. Why did you say you have the Tool and still do it this way???
    I understand your showing a way to do it " WITHOUT ' access to the PROPER TOOL required for these REAR CALIPER Emergency Brake built-in turning style cylinders…
    Your showing an alternate way that could make a DIY newcomer cause more damage than they can afford to repair if they are careless or unskilled at using tools??
    The proper tool is FASTER if you use it properly!!


    This is an example of a real good kit that sells for $90 but around $70 on sale ( Canadian $$ and Store)….there are cheaper kits available and more expensive of course…this one has alot of adaptors and left/ right threads too…..

    Another style of tool
    Cheaper on sale….less adaptors

    Cheapest and least chance of fitting alot of vehicles…does work..
    But not as good as the better tools do..

  20. I used needle nose pliers ( regular or locking ones ) and turn by inserting in pin holes and pressing down as i turn with another tool ( whatever you like- screwdriver ratchet extension…etc…) if that is all you got it can get it done ….
    You can push on needle nose and do it too if your strong enough …same as the cube is used…lol

  21. If ABS is fitted, it is essential to undo the bleed screw to allow brake fluid to leak out. This to avoid causing back pressure within the ABS unit when winding back the caliper, even when using the correct tool. Damage to the ABS unit will result otherwise.

  22. Or, clean, lube with brake fluid, free boot from piston, protect piston and wrap jubilee hose clip to rotate. Gentle pressure with G clamp. No damage. Not everyone can afford every tool.

  23. Man wow, everyone is a critic these days. Nice shadetree hack for those times you gotta get the daily driver done but don't happen to have a lot of specialty tools on hand. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. I was in a tight spot working on my wife's truck not all that long ago.
    Wasn't around my tools so I ended up compressing and turning the brake piston with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's front teeth.
    Sure she snagged the boot up a little bit but regardless she finally did something useful….

  24. Do yourself a favor and but powerstop rotors and pads , you'll be amazed at how much better they stop your vehicle.
    Follow the break in procedure and you can't go wrong.

  25. There is no way I would use channel locks to turn the caliper piston. Way too easy to damage the dust seal. I'd either go out and buy a cheap tool made for the job, or make my own tool. It wouldn't be the first time I've done that.

  26. Tried this technique. did not work on my caliper. When I got it to turn it wouldn't go in. Went and rented the tool. Still would not go in. Replaced the caliper. Cost me a bit but that caliper was just not moving in with 156,000 miles on it. Yes I tried taking bleeder screw out too. Must have had a lip worn into piston. Still original rear rotors too. Replaced it all. Works great now.

  27. on mine i found 1 of the clips holding the pads was on backwards on each side.. is that also the squeler? the old pads were only half worn

  28. I usually just use a large c-clamp with some cardboard so I don't damage the piston or housing after I open the brake fluid cap(reservoir) or the zert that's located on the brake caliper which needs a tube connected & ran to some brake fluid

  29. I've been a mechanic over 40 yrs , auto – industrial equip I will always use the correct tool " right tool for right job " your way it is a alternative if you don't the right piston compression tool ( harbor freight) sells the tool.

  30. The same caliper on Mazda Premacy, and mazda3 I believe. I had a different spring clip on mine though. And it was a 7mm hex instead of a torx nut.

  31. Nooooooooo! If you aren't super careful, you will tear the piston boot. better idea, spend a couple of dolars for the "magic cube" brake piston tool.

  32. I've changed brakes and rotors many times. I changed them on a 2007 Chevy Impala 3.5l LT and ever since I changed the front the traction control has gone crazy and now and then the ABS comes on but will shut off. It's not wanting to stop during slow turns. I've gone threw and checked no sensor is disconnected and no mechanic can pull anything for why this is happening.

  33. If it wasn't for this video i was still in middel of nowhere changing my brake pads. I tried everything to push the piston back in. even my tools bended. But with this little trick i was able to do it and install the pads. Very every grateful😁

  34. Bro… just adjust the channel locks enough anchor the piston then carefully squeeze until the piston recess.
    Use a large screwdriver as a lever and apply steady pressure until the piston recess enough.

  35. Why is half the people doggin this guy, he obviously made the video to help out people in a jam to get the job done, great job dude this video just help me out tremendously, like to see more tricks done on other parts

  36. The rotors are supposed to be washed with hot soapy water brake clean is an alternative, caliper bracket bolts and caliper bolts have a specific torque spec, never use slip joint pliers to turn pistons in, supposed to open bleeder valve when twisting pistons in, brake hardware was missing (wear plates) never put grease on the caliper brackets(where wear plates are supposed to be), it’s ok to use brake parts lube on slide pins but not that much. Oh yeah slip joint pliers were being used backwards. Faster is not always better and usually causes mistakes and damage.

  37. Open brake reservoir cap .
    Open bleeder valve .
    Spray the rubber boots with breake cleaner
    Spray WD40
    Use old disc and VISE to press the cylinder or piston ..

  38. He says if you are in a jam. There’s nothing wrong with this method as long as you are careful. The cheap cube from sears or harbor freight is junk and doesn’t work well on most models.

  39. U sir are a genius!!!!!! I rented the kit from autozone and it didn’t have the exact size and pliers were not were not working at all. Literally 3min it took. U are Godsend haha

  40. PEOPLE, LOOK, there are 2 types of REAR brake calipers. Ones without builtin parking brake adjusters and ones WITH. If your not sure which ones you have it is simple to identify. If it has 2 small holes or indention's on the surface of the piston head, then it is a caliper with the built in parking brake adjuster. This type needs to be turned (screwed in ) while applying pressure to the piston to compress it back in. C CLAMPS ONLY WORK ON FRONT CALIPERS AND OLDER STYLE REAR BRAKE CALIPERS WITHOUT THE BUILT IN PARKING BRAKE ADJUSTERS. If your car is newer than 2000, assume it has the parking brake adjuster. I do not know when this became standard but just assume in general and be prepared just in case. The method in this video IS shade tree but it will work if you were not prepared or have not come across this type of caliper in the past. YES, BE VERY CAREFUL not to damage the end of the dust boot but the piston SEALS are well inside the caliper and the only way they will be damaged is if you ruin the dust boot and dirt gets inside the boot. this will inevitably ruin the seals in time. I would not use this method in the video for anything other than steel pistons. Not sure if the piston is steel, use a magnet. Are you still uncertain or confused, ………..GET IT DONE BY A PRO. Specialty tools make certain jobs easier but not using them doesn't mean it's a hack. If you know what needs to be done, and are aware of what to be careful about, have at it by any means necessary to get the job done. Some of the negative comments for this video are fucking ridiculous. This video is OBVIOUSLY a work-around for not running across this type caliper before and not having the SPECIAL TOOL at your disposal. Regarding the Channel locks comments, REALLY!!!! Yes, you get more grip torque using them in one direction as opposed to the other direction, but space and clearance doesn't always allow them being used in the most optimal direction. Get a life you fucking morons. P.S. Using AC Delco brake lube on a Ford gives it 30% more braking power 😉 One more thing to ad thats very important, please watch this video for explanation of where the dibits in the piston should be when putting it all back together. Jump to 1:07 mins. in video

  41. Barrow, rent, buy any number of versions of the drive tool, ranging from $7 to $190… The cheap tool, typically will only last a few brake jobs, but, for less then $10 buck, save your knuckles folks, working on automotive makes your hands hurt, even with proper tools, but why speed the pain up, lol… I suppose, if one is in a bind, this of course would work, but, if you are working on vehicles, appreciate your craft, and do not fear buying tools, just on the mere fact of making your life easier… Please note ,all is stated in kind, … On a side note note, once you buy the tool, rent it out to your buddies, and in the time, it is paid for, as per the higher cost tools… Just an idea… So one may say, I would never charge money to my friends… Try looking at it the other way, you have wear and tear on your stuff, and in time, you will need to possible purchase another… And if you always have tools, they will always be glad to give you a wee bit of money to use yours, while they do not have to purchase one for themselves… And if you have that friend who never offers money while always using your stuff, he is not your friend, he is a fair weather friend, and only calls when he/she wants something… It doesn't mean you have to accept the money offered, but they should at least offer, or to buy you some food, or a case of your favorite beverage… Lol

  42. That makes no sense.
    If you are in a pinch, ok!
    But, it’s slower with risk of damage to the boot.
    Use the right tool!!!!!
    DIY- it’s your car; why take the chance
    Tech- it’s your job and it’s actually faster using the right tool. You only fumble with it if you don’t use it.

  43. Thanks for showing us this nifty-ness. Not a fan of SST. Especially when referred to companies no longer around, or changed names etc

  44. Brilliant!!… I have often fought (and lost) with stuck calipers.. gonna change rear pads on my Mustang this morning.. will use your technique should the inevitable non compliant piston gets in the way. Doing a great job mate. 🙂

  45. Use one of the old break pads and a large c clamp. Press the caliper piston back in. You risk scoring the piston cylinder if you twist and cock the caliper piston. Any damage to the cylinder surface can cause the caliper piston to grab, chatter even fail. I will never use this method, because its not smart. You leaving your self out there to be sued if someone dies due to following your instructions, someone repairs a car that later crashes. Just use standard methods. DO NOT twist the caliper cup to re seat it. PRESS IT BACK in. A "C" clamp in is not a special tool.

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