Many parts of your car will wear down over time, including your brakes. To help them stay in good condition, paint your brake calipers every three to four years.
A professional brake caliper paint job typically costs between $250 and $450. If you’re interested in saving some money, you can DIY this task in your own garage.
Benefits of Painting Brake Calipers
The main benefit of painting brake calipers is that the paint prevents rust from forming and weakening your brake system. Painted calipers also shed dirt more easily, resulting in a simpler cleaning job.
What’s more, this task gives you a chance to customize your vehicle a bit. Since brake calipers are visible from the outside of your car, painting them lets you show your style. Overall, painting your calipers can both improve the appearance of your vehicle and increase its value.
The most important part of painting brake calipers is picking the right paint. Go for a paint with high heat resistance that’s designed specifically for brake calipers. Spray paint is the most common choice, but you can also use liquid paint and a paintbrush.
Aside from the proper paint, you’ll need a few other materials for your caliper paint job.
Tools and Materials
Before you paint your brake calipers, gather the following items:
Milwaukee M18 Fuel 3/8" Mid-Torque Impact Wrench
349.99 $ 279.99 $
Evercraft Jack & Stand Combo
Starting at 24.28 $
Steps to Painting Brake Calipers
Follow these steps to complete your DIY brake caliper paint job.
Get Set Up
- Position your vehicle on a flat, level surface (in other words, not in your driveway) with the parking brake on and the ignition off.
- Using the lug wrench, loosen the lug nuts on each wheel by a quarter If the nuts are stiff or rusty, apply some rust release. Don’t remove the lug nuts yet.
- Place the jack under the vehicle and slowly raise it off the ground. Place jack stands under the jack points of the vehicle to support it. (Your owner’s manual will tell you exactly where the jack points )
WD 40 Specialist Rust Release Penetrant
Remove the Wheels
- Use the lug wrench to finish removing the lug nuts from the wheel.
- With the lug nuts removed, gently pull the tire towards You can do one tire at a time or all four at once. In the latter case, use chalk to mark the tires so that you don’t mix them up.
Remove the Calipers
- Use a ratchet wrench to remove the brake calipers. Be careful not to disconnect the caliper from the brake line or to damage the brake hose connected to the caliper.
- Separate the brake pads from the caliper. Set them aside to avoid getting paint on them. This is a good time to assess whether your brake pads need replacing.
NAPA Silent Guard Brake Pads
Starting at 74.89 $
Adaptive One Brake Pads
Starting at 85.89 $
Clean the Calipers
- Clean the calipers with a wire brush and brake cleaner.
- Use 150- to 200-grit sandpaper to sand the metal parts of the calipers.
- Finish with another spray of brake cleaner and wipe with a paper towel dipped in rubbing alcohol.
Protect Surrounding Areas
- Apply newspaper and masking tape to the rubber protectors around the caliper pistons, the brake rotor, and the panels around the wheel.
- Make sure you don’t get any paint on the brake discs. Doing so can affect their performance and make it more difficult for your car to stop.
Apply the Paint
- Follow the instructions on the paint can and focus on one side of the caliper at a time.
- (You don’t need to apply any paint to the inner portion of the caliper.)
- Apply the paint smoothly and from different angles for an even coat.
- Apply 3 to 4 coats of paint, waiting 5 to 10 minutes between each coat.
- Let the caliper dry for 30 minutes, and then repeat on the other side.
- Let the entire caliper dry for at least 1 hour before putting it back into place.
- Once all the calipers are painted and back in place, put the brake pads back on using a C-clamp.
- Replace all the bolts you removed.
- Place the tires back on the car and hand tighten the lug nuts in a crisscross pattern.
- Lower the vehicle to the ground and remove the jack and jack stands. Make sure all the lug nuts are properly tightened.
- Wait 24 hours before driving to allow the paint to cure completely.
- After 24 hours, take your vehicle out for a test drive to make sure the brakes are working properly.
Brake System Maintenance Tips
Although general wear is inevitable, getting your brakes serviced every year can help them last longer. Picking the right brake pads for your driving habits can also help you get the most out of your brakes.
If you have any questions about how to paint brake calipers or about brake system maintenance, speak to an expert at your local NAPA Auto Parts store.