1A Auto Video Library
Our how-to videos have helped repair over 100 million vehicles.

Brakes too Sticky or Not Working on your Truck

Share on:

Brakes too Sticky or Not Working on your Truck

Created on: 2013-07-03

If your brakes are stuck or smoking, the 1A Auto mechanics in this video will explain a few different causes on these trucks and how you can fix it

  1. step 1 :Inspecting the Brake Slides
    • Raise and secure the vehicle
    • Loosen the caliper bracket with a hammer
    • Loosen the T55 Torx bolts from the caliper bracket
    • Remove the T55 bolt
    • If the bolt does not slide out easily, clean, sand and lubricate it
  2. step 2 :Inspecting the Brake Caliper
    • Pry off the caliper with a flat blade screwdriver
    • Pull off the caliper
    • Press the brake pedal
    • Check that the piston moves properly
  3. step 3 :Removing a Stuck Brake Slide
    • Have an assistant strike the caliper with a hammer
    • Loosen the bolt with an impact driver
  4. step 4 :Cleaning the Brake Caliper
    • Apply rust penetrant to the brake caliper bracket
    • Work the bolt back and forth to clean out the caliper bracket
  5. step 5 :Inspecting the Caliper Bracket
    • Pry off the brake pads with a flat blade screwdriver
    • Pry off the brake pad slides with a flat blade screwdriver
    • Check the slides and caliper bracket for rust
    • Remove the two 18mm bolts from the caliper bracket
    • Pull off the caliper bracket
    • Replace the caliper bracket if it is rusty

Tools needed for replacement

  • Air Powered Tools

    1/2 Inch Air Impact Gun

  • General Tools


  • Materials, Fluids, and Supplies

    Rust Penetrant

    Bearing Grease


    White Grease

  • Ratchets & Related

    A Piece of Pipe (for leverage)


    1/2 Inch Breaker Bar

  • Screwdrivers & Related

    Pry Bar

    Flat Blade Screwdriver

  • Sockets - Metric

    18mm Socket

  • Star Drivers & Sockets

    T55 Torx Socket

Brought to you by 1AAuto.com, your source for quality replacement parts and the best service on the Internet.

Hi, I'm Mike from 1A Auto. I hope this how-to video helps you out, and next time you need parts for your vehicle, think of 1AAuto.com. Thanks.

In this video, our 2002 GMC truck had a little brake issue. We were towing a boat, not a very heavy boat, probably about a 4,000 pound trailer which this truck, basically, can tow without even knowing it's there. When we were done with about a 20 minute trip, we stopped and our right rear brake was smoking, actually. The brake had hung up enough so that we could actually feel it tugging on the truck a little bit and like I said, when we got done with our trip it was smoking so we're going to pull it apart and show you a few of the places on these trucks where those brakes can get sticky.

We're going to start out. We've already got the vehicle raised and secured. There's a jack under there as well as it's on the lift and we're going to use a large hammer and we're just hitting the area around where that T55 Torx bolt holds the caliper to the caliper bracket. Give it a bunch of good raps and try and help knock it loose a little bit. Now we've got a T55 Torx bit, a flex handle and we even use a pipe for some extra leverage. Be careful when you do this. This can lead to some bloody knuckles, but you should be able to break it loose.

Now we'll speed up as we just take that caliper bolt all the way out. Eventually the bolt comes loose enough, you can undo it by hand and pull it right out. Now here's the first place to look: that bolt that we just pulled out that's now in our right hand. We'll take a better shot of the upper one. You see how, after we loosened it up, after we did a few turns with the wrench, we could easily take it out with our hand and then slide it out. A lot of times these brakes can get caught up there, those slide bolts. Those are the bolts that, basically, the caliper slides back and forth on. If it's not easy to take out, if you have to keep using the wrench and then pull it out with pliers then you'll need to clean it up, maybe even take a little bit of very fine sandpaper, sand that slide bolt down, clean it up and then lubricate it. Make sure it is nice and free when it goes back in and that can be the first place to look for sticking brakes.

You can use a long screwdriver and wedge it in down here between the caliper bracket and the caliper itself. Once it's up and out of the way, you can pull it out the rest of the way. As I said before, these slide bolts are the first place to look for sticking brakes. You can see that the lower slide bolt came out fine and then we rotated the caliper up and this upper slide bolt came out no problem, so on this vehicle, these are nice and free for us but we'll still actually clean them up and make sure that they don't have any wear on them. We'll clean them up, even maybe use a little bit of, like I said, fine sandpaper, 1,000 grit or 1,200 grit, even 2,000 grit sandpaper, very fine. Make sure they're nice and clean. If they do have any wear on them, you can replace them but we'll clean them up, put a little bit of either bearing grease or brake grease or white grease on them and put them back together. We're going to go further into the brakes to find our problem.

Here's the second place to check, your caliper. These calipers can freeze up and you're going to see the bottom piston is frozen. As I go to move it, press the brake pedal and you can see that top piston moving out. The top piston is doing its job. The bottom piston is frozen in place. The bottom piston will move a little bit but then it won't give back and allow the brakes to come off. This is actually not the main problem; this is a symptom from another problem.

Down here, we're just going to show you our technique for getting that upper slide bolt out. It, basically, involves having both an impact wrench and a hammer. You can see as Don is working the impact wrench, I'm hitting the caliper with a hammer, being very careful not to hit the brake line itself. Eventually the bolt will free right up.

Here, this is just a little tip. I'm using some penetrating oil, going right into the brake caliper bracket and spraying it in there and then I'll use the caliper bolts to work them back and forth just to clean out in there. Here I'm just taking one of those bolts . you can see I've cleaned it all off . and sliding it in and out. Pull it out, clean it off again, put it in, and slide it in and out. I'm just trying to clean out inside that caliper bracket as well as I can. Just for your reference, we actually did find that there's a problem with the caliper brackets so you'll see us, we'll be putting on new caliper brackets and then there's also a separate video for that as well.

This is just one tip to help you put your brakes back together, once you've got them cleaned out then, obviously, you would just lube up those caliper bolts, again, with just a little bit of grease or brake grease or white grease when you put it back together.

Here we're going to take the brake pads off and you notice we've got a big screwdriver. You'll want to use a large screwdriver or a pry bar or something and you'll notice we're using a hammer. This is an indication that you've got an issue. When you have to use force to get these brake pads out and you can see them sticking a little bit, this is usually, actually, the main cause of the problem. We'll show you this a little more later. The stainless steel slides that are on these brake calipers, they are fine but what actually happens is the caliper brackets rust underneath them and cause them to expand out and, basically, hold the brake pads in place. You can see Donny looking at the brake pads. That's the side that was heating up a lot and the brake pads are pretty badly scored and actually also cracked. He's taking off now the stainless steel slides and underneath those slides, the caliper brackets are rusted and pitted and that's, actually, the main cause of our brake issues. Because they've rusted and expanded, the brake shoes cannot glide easily on those slides.

Here we're going to use an 18mm socket, breaker bar and a pipe for some leverage and remove the bolts for that caliper bracket. Here's our old bracket and our new one. You can see where the brake pads are going to slide is nice and clean in the machine.

Let's go back to that. You can see, on this new caliper, the surface where you put the stainless steel slides on is right here. As I said before, my caliper was stuck in this truck but I believe the main cause of that was because the old caliper brackets had rusted underneath the stainless steel slide and that had expanded the slide out and the brake pads were, basically, pretty much frozen in place. They didn't move easily. What happened is, over time, because on these trucks, the rear brakes only do about 20 to 30% of the stopping. Therefore, they don't move a lot. Basically, the pads stay in place for quite a long time, therefore, the pistons stay in place and then they can seize up like they did on this truck. Like I said, don't stop if you find that your caliper is frozen. Don't stop there and think that's your only problem. Go check these caliper brackets. If you find that your caliper brackets have pretty much rusted and gotten scaly underneath the stainless steel slides then you'll want to replace them with a set from 1A Auto. If you want to see that video, we got a few different videos on servicing the brakes for these GMC Sierras and Chevy Silverados.

We hope this video helps you out. Brought to you by www.1AAuto.com, your source for quality replacement parts and the best service on the Internet. Please feel free to call us toll-free, 888-844-3393. We're the company that's here for you on the Internet and in person.

Tools needed for replacement:

    Air Powered Tools

  • 1/2 Inch Air Impact Gun

  • General Tools

  • Assistant

  • Materials, Fluids, and Supplies

  • Rust Penetrant
  • Bearing Grease
  • Sandpaper
  • White Grease

  • Ratchets & Related

  • A Piece of Pipe (for leverage)
  • Ratchet
  • 1/2 Inch Breaker Bar

  • Screwdrivers & Related

  • Pry Bar
  • Flat Blade Screwdriver

  • Sockets - Metric

  • 18mm Socket

  • Star Drivers & Sockets

  • T55 Torx Socket

Search Videos
Go To Top

Same Day Shipping

Need your part faster? Choose expedited shipping at checkout.

Guaranteed To Fit

Highest quality, direct fit replacement auto parts enforced to the strictest product standards.

USA Customer Support

Exceeding customers' expectations, our team of passionate auto enthusiasts are here to help.

Instructional Video Library

Thousands of how-to auto repair videos to guide you step-by-step through your repair.