Brake Caliper Location – Explained

Published by Darron Toy on

hello everyone and welcome in this video we're going to be discussing brake caliper location why manufacturers put brake calipers in the places that they do so we're going to be looking at some different cars out there and also some data that I took while I was visiting the Detroit Auto Show checking out various vehicles and see if we can come to a conclusion if there is an ideal spot depending on the purpose of the car so first let's just look at some of the different reasons why you may place the brake calipers in a different location and what I've drawn here is kind of a an outline of a vehicle with the rear tire and the front tire and then basically you've got you know an upper location a lower location back and front kind of towards the inside of the vehicle of where you may place the brake caliper I've divided up into these four sections so from a weight distribution perspective you may want to put the brake calipers toward the center to keep the moment of inertia of the vehicle lower in order for it to be a little bit more agile you also may want to place it down low to keep the center of gravity of the vehicle down low so weight distribution could play a role in that aerodynamics can also play a role you've got air passing over these wheels and if there's a certain path that the air lights to take where it could be cooling the brakes then you don't want to put that brake caliper in that location you want the air to be able to flow and cool down those brakes also if you have ducts for the air to feed the front brakes or the rear brakes you may want to have that duct positioned so that it blows air on to the brake itself not on to the caliper so that could play a role in where you place the caliper depending on how you have that air duct routed and you may want to have a shorter routing so that you blow it up towards the front rather than a longer routing which is more complicated cost a bit more you know adds more complexity to it to route the air towards the back another factor could be suspension packaging so you've got control arms knuckles brake line routing for example if you had an upper control arms it was placed right here and you would have an interference if you had your brake caliper place there well then obviously you can't place the brake caliper there and you'll have to place it in another location the vehicle purpose can play a role so for example if you have this off-roading 4×4 vehicle that you know is going to be going through deep mud or water things like that well then you may place the calipers a bit higher to try and keep them out of them or the debris or whatever it may be down there so they don't get quite as dirty or get messed up cost will always play a role and everything so if there is a location that is for some reason cheaper to do whether that be packaging or if there's less interferences or things like that then you know that's definitely going to be preferred from the marketing side where you want to keep the cost of the vehicle as low as possible and then also appearance always plays a role so there's a location that the designer thinks looks best then that may play a role in where the calliper ends up so now let's look at some actual vehicles and look at some hard data so while I was at the Detroit Auto Show I was checking out different cars and seeing where they placed these brake calipers and I looked at 55 different cars across 21 different manufacturers and took some data on where they place these calipers so what we've got going on here is the different locations this will be the rear tire on the right side and this will be the front tire on the right side and then you've got this upper quadrant inner quadrant lower quadrant and towards the rear of the vehicle so on a percentage basis as what I'm looking at where they placed the brake calipers so of these 55 cards and if it wasn't apparent this green car here represents all cars it's a van and it's green so where would they place the majority of them we've got 53 percent where towards the rear on the rear wheel 47 percent on the inner of the rear wheel 0 up top zero on the bottom so I think the suspension packaging is playing the role here we've got your control arms interfering and you're not going to be placing the brake calipers up high or down low so 53 percent towards the rear 47 towards the front for the rear tire for the front tire 49 percent towards the rear and 51 percent towards the front so you know this is kind of a 50/50 we know they're not up top we know they're not on the bottom but they're distributed between the front and the rear fairly evenly as far as being on the inside or the outside a slight preference towards the outside so you know I wasn't quite satisfied there so I took a look at some different sports cars so of these 55 cars about half of them more sports cars you know things like Porsche Corvettes Vipers things like that where they're obviously being geared towards you know attract friendly car that's performance oriented and so of those cars I took the same data and you know as we can tell there's going to be zero up top and down low from the previous data but what's interesting is there was definitely a bias for these performance oriented cars so for the rear thirty five percent of the brake calipers were placed towards the rear sixty-five percent so you know definitely a bias towards the front towards the inside of the car for the rear brakes and then for the front brakes and even heavier bias to me towards the inside so eighty-three percent work towards the inside and seventeen were upfront so what this is telling me is what they're probably going for with these performance oriented cars is to have the weight centrally located and then I would imagine up front that they've got air cooling ducts for the front brake that they've probably got routing towards this and that's why you know they want to keep it the weight towards the back and then also have plenty of cooling for the brakes an interesting thing the Dodge Charger when I looked at the base model and had the brake calipers up front however when you look at the Hellcat then it places the front calipers in the rear more centrally located so it's interesting to see that change to go from you know an everyday kind of v8 car to a performance-oriented v8 car you know same car but more performance oriented model and then also looking at some of the gt3 cars for example the Lexus RC F gt500 these having the brake calipers towards the inside of the vehicle and then kind of down low as well so they kind of put the weight towards the center and then tried to lower it a bit you know kind of keep the weight low and in the center which is ideal from a weight distribution point of view so if you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below thanks for watching


7GehirneUndKeinsGeht · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

So if the sum of all cars have a nearly equal distribution and one half is sports cars with a heavily unequal distribution, than the other half of cars must have the opposite unequality in distribution.
Also does breaking create any forces, that have different directions based on the point whese the breaking occurs?

StydianX GameTV · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

Most Internet Engineers has suggested that painting your Brake Calipers "RED" increases your Horsepower by 25 and over all performance by %15.

Brandon Kohlmeier · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

One thing that was not considered is serviceability. You want to place your calipers in such an orientation that all of the air leaves the system when you bleed them. If this is not the case, the calipers must be removed to be bled. This was a problem in my Formula SAE team last year. We lost lots of valuable testing time during competition just bleeding the brakes because all four calipers needed to come off. This season, I am the brake system design lead, and that is not the case now! With the calipers placement, I focused on serviceability and centralizing mass.

Mark Leppington · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

You keep saying weight, can you expand on your meaning of weight?, saying front tire back mount and rear tire front mount has lest weight… what is ment by this?

Julaiha idris · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

STi has brake calipers placed at the back

Samiran Phukan · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

Why some superbikes rear brake calipers placed low while most of them are placed at the top?

Big Mike · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

I know this is an old video and maybe it has been pointed out but for Chargers the issue is RWD vs. AWD. All of the RWD cars have the front calipers mounted to the inside and the AWD models have a clearance issue so caliper is mounted towards front. Easy way to tell if a Charger is RWD or AWD is check the front caliper placement. Nice content.

8k · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

The audio…

uhmeizuhngralphf05 · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

The Dodge Charger you showed is actually and all-wheel drive that's why they put the brake caliper in front up position you wrong buddy

iLoveTheseRemoras · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

Pretty sure it's not the "marketing side" that tries to get money saved on the manufacturing process πŸ™‚

mr repair · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

rwd bmw are under sports

TheHuskyGT · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

Lol, my Impala shares the same caliper placement than a Skyline R32, R33, R34.

Marc · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

Are you sure setting the direction of the inertia transferred from the rotor to the caliper is not a factor? I think if the caliper was behind the hub the rotor's inertia transferred to the caliper and the spindle would compress the suspension creating dive (front) and if in front of the hub it would push the wheel down into the ground.

Avery Cooper · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

Thank you! I've always wondered about this. P.S. Porsche is pronounced poor-shuh.

Robert D. · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

Ohhh, so, the math adds up.

Hareesh S · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

can you change the placement of the caliper in a gt86? so that the calipers are pushed inward towards the centre of the car

James Philpott · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

Some cars have 2 calpers on the back

AliAdean · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

Front mounting of the front caliper makes the wheel want to leave the road under sudden application,rear mounting it makes the wheel want to dig into the road when the brake pedal is hit which is far more safer and desirable,and that's why all the best and race cars have rear mounted front brake calipers.

sogerc1 · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

And now 1000 engineers hit their foreheads saying "damn, I didn't even think of that, I just put the calipers where I had some space for them" =D

sbn025 · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

is brembo the only brake manufacturer????

Zohar Modifier · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

Best video ever:) Election with brain:)

Jennifer WhiteWolf · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

Polar moment, polar moment, polar moment, polar moment….

Robert Happ · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

Oh no, you mispronounced Porsche!

Anthony Bane · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

The dodge charger is not a sports car….

Proxy Panda · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am


Would brake caliper position on front brakes (being front side or rear side of front brakes) alter the affecting forces of the disc inertia change the impacting forces on the car/chassis.

If you are rotating the disc brake forward, stopping it with brake calipers from the front side down would be more aggressive clamping force/friction COMPARED to having the on the back side of front brakes, as the forces applied would be in an upward action, pulling the brake pads instead of pushing in, end results would be more feel and feedback to the driver of the vehicle?

Adolf Shitler · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

Lose the brakes, weight reduction. Now you can't brake so you have to be careful, lose the engine, even more weight reduction.

David Cross · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

I read on article, Hot Rod or Car and Driver- not sure, that said powertrain breaking is most effective. How come high performance cars do not do this?

RODERICK CONSTANTINO · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

Always wondered this. Thanks J. Btw, I think you were trying to draw an Renault Espace F1.. lol

Z0mbiekiller254 · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

Your all wrong the reason the brake calibers are were they are is they work best there if they were in the trunk they wouldn't work so they put them where they work

Evan C · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

Finally! I've been wondering about this for so long!

Ian Wolfe · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

I've always wondered this! Great vid man!

122ffsdd · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

so this is on a channel called Egineering Explained and this entire video was speculation

GlenMiz · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

It's Porsche pronounced, "poor shaa" ?

Daniel Miller · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

Would the direction of the tires spinning have an effect? By that i mean that the for the front tires, placing the caliper on the back side would apply the brakes at the point where the tire would need the most power to continue spinning, thus in theory gaining brake efficiency.

Evan Warren · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

The 2002 dodge caravan sport has calipers on the top.

Zombie · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

the calipers on the rear of our van is on top :/

hgratp · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

Aggressive 22"s on that minivan.

Turbo Tork · May 15, 2019 at 8:41 am

I have never even thought of this and i work as a car mechanic.

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