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Many drivers are not experts when it comes to car maintenance, and when they take a close look at their vehicle or someone else’s, they may notice some interesting quirks. Sometimes, those interesting quirks indicate that a part needs to be replaced, but in the case of the red-colored part in a car’s tires, it’s completely benign. Here’s a look at what that red-colored auto part actually is and why it’s red in the first place. 

That red-colored auto part is just the brake calipers

As Vehicle Freak explains, the red-colored part in the tire is the brake calipers, which are a critical part of the car’s braking system. Brakes are relatively simple in design, as most car brakes rely on friction to stop the car’s wheels. Brake calipers play an important role there, as they’re the part that presses the brake pads against the brake rotor that’s in every wheel.

The brake caliper is usually composed of two metal plates holding the brake pads together. As such, the brake pads are the parts that make contact with the brake rotor, and the friction that comes, as a result, is what causes the car to slow down. The brake caliper holds it all together, and it’s also where the brake fluids go when drivers press on the brakes. 

There are two common types of brake calipers as well, and they’re either fixed or floating. Fixed brake calipers are by far the most common. Floating brake calipers have a slightly different design that ultimately helps cool down the brakes. This is necessary since the friction caused by braking can heat brakes a lot, and overheating can damage the brakes and cause them to malfunction.

Here’s why those brake calipers are red

The wheel and ventilated disc brakes of a Mercedes AMG SLS 6.3 with red brake calipers
Red brake calipers on a Mercedes AMG | Tim Graham via Getty Images

Since brake calipers are such an essential part of a car, and since they’re visible from the outside, it’s unsurprising that some drivers and automakers decided to paint them as a fashion statement. Red brake calipers are not materially different from brake calipers of any other color. They are often painted red, as that makes them look better in the eyes of their owners.

This was primarily done on sports cars and other high-performance cars, as red is an aggressive-looking color and is well-known for being a color that pops out to the eye. As such, many luxury car owners gave their cars red brake calipers so that their vehicles would stand out even more than usual. However, since it’s just a color scheme, nothing stops any vehicle’s drivers from painting their brake calipers red. Or any other color, for that matter.

Brake calipers can be other colors

Like any other fashion statement, red brake calipers are a car fad, and many drivers and automakers don’t like them anymore. As such, other brake caliper colors have become more widespread, though two colors are far more common than not. Black is the most common color choice since it helps the brake calipers blend in and be more discreet. Silver is also a common choice, as it looks good and blends in with most wheels. 

That said, there are a lot of colors in the world, which means that automakers have a wide variety of color options available too. Gold is a common color choice, as are blue, orange, and green. Some automakers are more unique and offer less common choices. For example, Cadillac also offers purple, and Chevy offers pink. 

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