What Is A Dial Caliper Used For?

What Is A Dial Caliper Used For

When measuring lengths between two congruous opposing sides of an object, you need to use a dial caliper. It is an F-shaped device made of indurate stainless steel for inside, outside and depth measurements.

Accordingly, it is a calibrated precision measuring device used for taking accurate measurements. Reading through this article is essential for a better understanding of what is a dial caliper used for.

Usually, this measuring tool is useful for measuring small amounts of movement and material thickness. There are different applications of this appliance in the industry of automotive.

If you aim to measure the cylindrical diameter of objects, the caliper is the best selection to give the required outcome. It doesn’t matter whether you are taking measurements from outside or inside; a single tool can complete the task efficiently and accurately.

 Uses Of A Dial Caliper 

Measuring deflection 

Deflection is a center line in which a given segment can be able to move. Mechanics use dial calipers with various types of clamps in the industry of automotive repair to measure the wear of suspension-related components.

This involves measuring the deflection of suspension-related parts upon placement of a strain on them. There are various parts of an object that a mechanic can use a dial caliper to measure wear and deflection.

Ball joints 

The ball joints are segments of objects in which their deflection measurements helps in determining replacement requirement.

The measurement process involves lifting a few inches of the vehicle’s front terminal, followed by tire upward prying and measuring the deflection capacity.

Here, you can quickly notice weary of the ball joint by excessive deflection, hence the replacement requirement.

Pitman arm and steering gearbox.

The pitman arm and steering gearbox translate the steering driver’s wheel input into sideways tire movements. The excessive wear of the pitman’s arm can lead to alignment issues and steering problems.

Steering gearbox wear

An adequately mounted dial caliper is useful for measuring the steering wheel movement’s required number that causes wheel locomotion.

Steering rack wear

The pinion wear and steering rack measurements are essential for determining the rack’s closeness to its failure. By measuring both down and up a rack, deflection can tell if bushings are weary excessively.

Accordingly, measuring the steering input amount is important in moving the wheels and facilitating the steering rack adjustments.

Measuring Thickness

The thickness of brake rotors is the next area in which mechanics use a dial caliper to measure. Brake rotor measurement is essential to prevent them from becoming very thin, leading to their shattering and loss of brakes.

The next reason for mechanics is to use a dial caliper to measure brake rotor thickness in determining their run-out.

Run-out is a condition in which there is an alteration of the brake rotor across its surface. It is necessary to note that this tool is useful, whereby there is a need to know the thickness of a particular material.

You need to use the device with more prominent jaws when measuring thickness to enable the object to find external dimensions measurements. There are various thickness calipers used for outside operations as listed below:

  • Machine shops
  • Laboratories
  • Auto repair facilities
  • Fabrication plants
  • Measuring the width

Width is another area that requires a dial caliper for measurement. The brake drum is the major part that mechanics need to measure the width. This helps in preventing shattering and the entire loss of brakes when a brake drum widens.

 Benefits of Dial Calipers  


Accuracy is one of the significant benefits of using a dial caliper for measurement. For instance, if the pinion and the rack system are free from debris, then the accuracy is trustworthy.

Even though it may not have clear readability, the dial displays measurements making the device much easier to read than its digital counterparts.

Used in wet conditions

The dial calipers are more essential tools to use during wet seasons than digital calipers. Accordingly, dial calipers have flawless operation even when they are damp, although they are never waterproof.

However, if you are using digital calipers, you need to keep them in a clean, dry place to prevent them from getting damp.

Do not require batteries.

Unlike many traditional counterparts, dial calipers do not require batteries for their operations. Instead, they depend on the pinion and caliper’s mechanism for them to work correctly.

These tools are friendly to the environment since they do not emit poisonous gases that pollute the environment. Accordingly, they do not use fuel in operation or electricity; hence, they are economically friendly and potentially durable.

Clear measurement displays 

There is a clear display of measurements when using the dial caliper, making the device simpler to read than traditional counterparts. The clarity in size and simple presentation of the information increases the readability chances of the information displayed.


Dial calipers are very versatile tools and can be useful for different purposes. They can successfully take the readings of an object’s external, depth, and internal parts.

How Does A Dial Caliper Work?

Quick Tip: How to measure and read a dial caliper

The dial calipers use a rack and pinion system that transfers linear locomotion of the caliper jaws to the orbitual movement of the dial indicator.

A train of gears inside the dial is useful for deriving the dial indicator needle mechanically upon the distance adjustments between the caliper jaws.

The toothed gear rack running along the significant beam length initiates the dial’s proper engagement for effective running.

This leads to the opening and closing of jaws, making the pinion inside the dial move down the rack quickly. Accordingly, there is an amplification of small jaw motions transformed into larger locomotion indicated on the dial.

Final Thought

Dependence on the dial caliper is essential for precise measurement. Accordingly, the device is the best choice when measuring both the outside and inside diameter of the cylinder-shaped object, depth, thickness, and length.

Since all the operations occur in the best tool, it is vital to save it in the toolbox when you precisely take dimensional measurements. Besides, you need to visit a website and find more information on what is a dial caliper used for to avoid difficulties in performance.