Which Brake Caliper Guide Pin Goes on Top?

Which Brake Caliper Guide Pin Goes on Top?

It is now much more straightforward for individuals of varying skill levels to work on their automobiles because of the quantity of knowledge readily available via computers, tablets, and even smartphones. Brake jobs are among the most common categories that are explored online. But even seasoned auto enthusiasts and experienced people who are good at doing things themselves may make a mistake now and again, and one of the most typical mistakes is forgetting to record which end of the brake caliper guide pin goes on top.

Even if there is the possibility of an exception, the rule of thumb is that the end of the guide pin that does not have the rubber bushing (which has the appearance of a short sleeve) goes on the top of the brake caliper assembly. This bushing-less guide pin may also have a beveled (flattened) surface in specific applications rather than having a smooth cylindrical form in others.

Almost everyone can remove brake calipers and take them apart if they have the right equipment and some basic mechanical knowledge. Putting brake caliper assemblies back together is a different thing and frequently one that is loaded with problems, including, most prominently, needing to know which guide pin goes where. The countless, frantic cries for assistance on online forums and social media prove this. Putting brake caliper assemblies back together is a subject that is another affair. Continue reading if you want to find out more.

How to Tell Which Brake Caliper Guide Pin Goes on Top

When it comes to the repair and maintenance of automobiles, several situations might need the brake caliper assembly to be taken apart and reassembled, including the following typical scenarios:

  • To solve strange sounds or sensations that occur when applying the brakes
  • To repair or replace components of the braking system that have been damaged.
  • Several solutions to the decreased braking performance include changing the brake pads or rotating the rotors.
  • Taking off the brake calipers to paint them or make other cosmetic adjustments to them

Putting the brake calipers back together does not have to be a stressful or complicated affair, regardless of the reason why they were removed and taken apart in the first place. Remembering a few helpful pointers is essential since knowing which guide pin to place on top and which to put on the bottom is half the fight.

How to Tell the Difference Between Top and Bottom Guide Pins

Each brake caliper assembly has two guide pins; at first sight, these pins are highly similar. It may be tough to tell them apart when they are initially taken from the machine and coated in old oil and sludge. As an example, both of these groups have the following features in common:

  • They are comparable to one another in length and width.
  • They are identical in hue and construction, using the same substance throughout.
  • They each have a similar head, often in the form of a hex.

Even though, to the untrained eye, their overall look might be confusing, there are a few distinguishing characteristics that make it simpler to differentiate one guide pin from another:

  • The surface of one caliper guide pin is cylindrical and smooth, whereas the surface of the other is beveled, meaning that sections of it are flat rather than rounded.
  • One of the caliper guide pins has a rubber bushing (also known as a short sleeve by many sources) at the end of it, and there is an indentation at the other end of the pin to hold the bushing in place. This bushing is used to keep the plug-in position.
  • In most cases, the guide pin that has a shape that is consistently cylindrical is the one that has the rubber bushing.

When it has been established that there is a distinction between the two guiding pins, the following step is to ascertain where each should be placed.

The Bushing-less Guide Pin Goes on the Top

Due to the sheer number of different car brands and models available today, it is next to impossible to establish guidelines that apply to the care and upkeep of all automobiles. In light of those above, regarding the brake caliper guide pins, it is common practice to insert the hook without a bushing into the top hole.

There are many different hypotheses about the function of the rubber bushing that is located on the bottom guide pin; nevertheless, one of the most widely held beliefs is that this rubber bushing acts as a dampening mechanism to cut down on vibrations and noise.

It is also important to point out that removing the bottom guide pin from older cars or those that have rusted brake components may be very difficult. This is mainly caused by the bushing being stuck inside the aperture of the pin.

A Word of Caution (and to the Wise)

The location of the bushing-less and sometimes beveled guide pin in the higher position of the brake caliper has been corroborated by several sources. However, owners of specific makes and models would be well-advised to be attentive while performing their research. This is because the guide pin’s part in the brake caliper’s upper position is occasionally beveled.

For example, the location of the guide pins on the brake calipers of some Hondas, namely Accords and Preludes, requires extra care and attention:

  • Only on the rear brake calipers does the beveled guide pin, which does not have a bushing, go on top.
  • However, the identical guide pin should be inserted into the bottom of the front calipers.
  • Compared to the rear calipers, the front calipers have their guide pins opposite those of the rear calipers.

Two essential things may be learned from this:

  1. Always keep a record, or better yet, take a quick snapshot of the original location of the pieces while they are being taken apart using your smartphone.
  2. Investigate in depth the correct actions to take and the processes to follow to carry out any maintenance or repairs on your vehicle, considering the unique brand, model, and year of your car.


Doing vehicle maintenance on components such as the brakes is a good project for several reasons, not the least of which is the potential savings that can be gained by not paying a professional technician to perform them. However, there are other reasons why auto maintenance on components such as the brakes is valuable. However, it would be prudent to invest not only in the essential equipment but also in the necessary information to prevent mistakes such as not being aware of which brake caliper guide pin goes on top.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *