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'13 Model S - dragging caliper?

I've got a 2013 Model S and I've noticed the front left wheel seems to accumulate a LOT more brake dust than the other three wheels.

On closer inspect, I've noticed that the brake pads on that caliper are just about worn out - while the ones on the other front side have a lot more life left in them.

This seems to indicate that the front left caliper is dragging, causing premature brake wear and excessive brake dust on that corner.

Is this a common issue? Is the resolution simply to change out the pads and clean the area around the calipers? Is there anything else to look out for?


Unnamed plug faced villian
Aug 21, 2013
Burlington, WI
This is a very common issue. It's happened on my 2013 Model S and my Parents' 2013 Model S. Worse in road salt areas.

What typically happens is the inside brake pad (the one not visible from the outside of the car) is the one that rusts/freezes up on the the caliper. This causes all of the brake effort to be on the outside (visible) pad only, thus wearing significantly faster. It also drastically reduces the braking effectiveness. Just not as noticeable with regen and otherwise big brakes. If this condition is left to fester too long, it can damage your rotors (one side not being cleaned effectively by the brake pad), prematurely wear your pads, and destroy your wheel bearings. I know all of this, because I let it happen on my car. Now, I every spring I remove the calipers and grease the edges of the brake pads. Since doing that, no issues. Unfortunately, I see a lot of cars end up this way, as it seems Tesla does not proactively clean brake calipers to cars unless asked.
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Active Member
Aug 31, 2019
Springfield, VA
Here's one of my front calipers when I replaced the pads and rotors around 50k and 5 years. 4 of those years I guess were in the Chicago area where I picked up my car. I cleaned it up with a wire brush and then applied brake grease to the caliper and the edges of the pads.

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