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Jeep Wrangler Brake Dragging: Causes, Diagnosis, and How to Fix It?

Your retro-style Jeep Wrangler on the road looks nothing less than a cut scene from a movie. But wait up! This charming well-built vehicle seems off due to the brake dragging issue!

So, what are the Jeep Wrangler brake dragging causes? Usually, with failure of calipers on wheels of your vehicle, it malfunctions in releasing the brake rotor even when your foot is off the pedal, that’s when brake drag occurs. Eventually, your car keeps stopping. 

Although it is a serious problem, if you can quickly diagnose the issue, it will not cause you much difficulty, the diagnosis being pretty easy too. So, if you want an in-depth look into the Jeep Wrangler brake dragging causes and diagnosis, you’re in the right place. Take a few minutes for this article; it might save you some precious bucks! 

What Causes Jeep Wrangler Brake Dragging?

Before we get into the diagnosis and solutions, let’s see what are the possible nemesis of your Jeep Wrangler brakes. 

1. Worn-out or Malfunctioning Brake Caliper Bolts

Caliper bolts disarray is one of the most typical causes of brakes dragging. The task of these bolts is to secure the caliper while allowing certain flexibility.

A rubber boot protects the brake caliper bolts. This rubber boot keeps them lubricated and protects them from the outdoors. So, if there’s something wrong with the bolts, all you need to do is take out the rubber boot and replace the bolts.

2. Caliper Piston Issues

The brake pad is pushed into the rotor by pistons in the disk brakes of your Jeep Wrangler. There is a rubber seal surrounding these pistons. When this seal fails, the piston loses its ability to move freely. 

You will need to replace the caliper nearly always if this is the issue troubling the smooth functionality of your brakes.

3. Problematic Caliper Slides

The brake pads on your Wrangler have slots in them that allow them to travel back and forth from the rotor as you press on the brakes. If something becomes lodged in these slides, it will cause the pads to hinder detaching from the rotor completely.

So, why does this happen? It is often caused by faulty shims or other debris. What you need to do here is quickly restore the pads at the same time as you restore the shims. And don’t forget to clean everything up!

4. Unclean Brake Hose

One of the causes for your brakes to drag can be the brake hose that connects to the caliper on the Wrangler.  

If they are junked, it’s expected that there is pressure trapped in the line. This prevents the brakes from fully releasing, causing them to drag. It’s simple to replace the hose. 

5. Creased Brake Line

A crease or crimp is possible when something has pulled a metal brake line into the chassis. Most times, it is usual that a person is behind this unknowingly as he uses a floor jack without paying attention.

6. Dusted or Old Brake Pad Knuckles 

If you cannot find any other issues, check the knuckles on which the brake pads sit. Smooth them out, clean them up, and lubricate them afterwards if they are old and dusty.

How to Diagnose Jeep Wrangler Brake Dragging?

To know if your Jeep Wrangler brake needs diagnosis, check for burning hot wheels after a heavy ride. Without further ado, let’s get into the diagnosis steps.

Step 1: Take out the wheel

If any of the wheels seem overheated, you need to take out the wheel. Use a jack stand to push the Jeep upwards where the overheated wheel rests. Next, use an impact driver and loosen your lug nuts.

Step 2: Find out the problem

As you take out the wheel, on one side you’ll see two caliper pins, you’ll have to remove them. This will allow you to take out the caliper to get a better look at the parts inside. 

Such as, if the rotor has deep ridges preventing you from smooth braking. Then take a look at the brake pads if there is enough rubber protection on them or if they have worn out.

Step 3: Check the caliper

The next thing to check is the caliper itself. The usual problem with calipers is that they get stuck. To find out if that’s the problem, Grab a pair of pliers and try to squeeze the caliper just a little bit to see if there is a movement of the caliper. 

Remember to not push it very hard. Also, check if both the rubber bushings on both sides of the caliper have movement too.

Step 4: Pay attention to the knuckles

Finally, you need to check the knuckles on which the rubber pads rest. They might be worn out or have accumulated dirt, and grease that makes them coarse resulting in sticking the brake pads.

Tips: Before taking the car on roads after diagnosis, pump the brakes a few times without trying to drive it.

How to Fix Jeep Wrangler Brake Dragging?

The solution depends on the problem. So, after you have diagnosed it, and found the reason behind the brake dragging, we can work on the solution or repair it.

Worn-out brake pads Fix:

So, as you check the brake pads, if you see they are worn out or there is very less or no rubber seal on some places of the brake pads, you need to replace them immediately.

Deep ridged rotors Fix:

After you take out the caliper, you can take a better look at the rotors. And if you say it has deep ridges, you need to replace them as soon as possible.

Stuck calipers Fix:

The caliper itself can be stuck. In such a situation you’ll need to clean up the caliper well and grease it to make sure it has movement again.

Coarse knuckles Fix:

If the problem is with the knuckles on which the caliper slides or the brake pads rest, you need to smoothen them and later on apply grease on them. 

How Much Does It Cost to Fix Jeep Wrangler Brake Dragging

As like before, the cost of fixing your Jeep Wrangler brake dragging issue depends on the problem.

If your brake pads are worn out and you need new ones, they’ll cost you about $115 to $270 per axle including the parts and labor cost. Next, if you need to replace the calipers, it will cost you about $226; $55 for parts and additional $170 or more for the labor.

And finally, if the issue is with rotors, the total cost for the replacement of rotors will range from $180 to $275.

Is It Safe to Drive a Jeep Wrangler with Brake Dragging?

Of course not! As the brake dragging issue is seen, you will notice that the wheels or respective wheel may get too hot. 

If you do not take care of it immediately, it will keep wearing out all the components of your brake system and wheels, such as the calipers, brake pads, and even the rotors. This may cause permanent damage to your brake system and wheel.


As we mentioned right in the beginning, the brake system of your Jeep Wrangler or any vehicle is of great significance because without a proper brake system, your car may suffer irrecoverable damage and so will you. 

Hence, if you see any Jeep Wrangler brake dragging symptoms, diagnose it immediately and look for solutions.

If you cannot do it on your own, don’t wait up and take it to a professional or a well-known automobile shop. Trust me, you don’t want to mess with the braking system and incur losses you cannot afford. 

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