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 mistakes now and again. One of the most typical mistakes is forgetting to record which end of the brake calliper 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 calliper assembly. This bushing-less guide pin may also have a bevelled (flattened) surface in specific applications rather than having a smooth cylindrical form in others.

Almost everyone can remove brake callipers and take them apart as long as they have the right equipment and some basic mechanical knowledge. Putting brake calliper assemblies back together is a different matter and often fraught with pitfalls, including, most prominently, needing to know which guide pin goes where. The numerous, desperate pleas for help can be found on internet forums and social media. Putting brake calliper assemblies back together is a matter that is another matter. Continue reading if you want to find out more.

How to Determine Which Side of the Brake Caliper Guide Pin Should Be Placed on Top

The brake calliper assembly may need to be disassembled and reassembled in several circumstances while doing vehicle repairs and maintenance on your own, including the following frequent 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 include changing the brake pads or rotating the rotors to address the decreased braking performance.
  • Taking off the brake callipers to paint them or make other cosmetic adjustments to them

Putting the brake callipers back together does not have to be a stressful or complicated affair, regardless of 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 Determine Which Guide Pins Are on the Top and Which Are on the Bottom

Each brake calliper 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 still 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.
  • Both of their heads are the same in appearance (usually hex-shaped)

Although 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 calliper guide pin is cylindrical and smooth, whereas the surface of the other is bevelled, meaning that sections are flat rather than rounded.
  • One of the calliper 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 consistently cylindrical shape is the one that has the rubber bushing.

The next step is to determine where each guiding pin should be positioned if it has been determined that there is a difference between the two.

The Bushing-free Guide Pin should be placed 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. Having said that, when it comes to the guide pins for the brake callipers, the pin that does not have a bushing is supposed to be put in the top hole.

There are many different hypotheses about the function of the rubber bushing 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 crucial to note that removing the bottom guide pin from older vehicles or those with corroded brake parts could be pretty challenging. This is mainly caused by the bushing being stuck inside the aperture of the pin.

Warning: Proceed with Caution (and to the Wise)

The location of the bushing-less and occasionally bevelled guide pin in the higher position of the brake calliper has been corroborated by several sources. Still, owners of specific makes and models would be well-advised to be vigilant while researching. This is because the position of the guide pin in the upper part of the brake calliper has been disputed by some.

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

  • Only on the rear callipers does the bevelled guide pin, which does not have a bushing, go on Top of the housing.
  • However, the identical guide pin should be inserted into the bottom of the front callipers.
  • Compared to the rear callipers, the front callipers have their guide pins positioned in the opposite direction from those of the rear callipers.

Two essential things may be learned from this:

  • 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.
  • Investigate in depth the correct actions to take and the processes to follow to carry out any maintenance or repairs on your vehicle, taking into account the unique brand, model, and year of your car.


Doing your auto maintenance on components such as the brakes is worthwhile for several reasons, not the lowest of which is the potential savings that can be had by not paying a professional mechanic to do them. However, there are other reasons why auto maintenance on components such as the brakes is worthwhile. To avoid blunders like not knowing which brake calliper guidance pin goes on Top, it would be good to spend money on the appropriate tools and knowledge.

Also Checkout: What Grease to Use on Brake Caliper Pins?

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