Painting Brake Calipers
In this article, you will learn how to spray-paint your own brake calipers. These instructions will generally be the same for any car since you don’t have to disassemble anything besides taking the wheels off. If you have a newer car, you probably won’t have to clean your brakes very much, but if you have an older car (like mine), then this whole process may take longer than you think. I was scraping off rust/brakedust for about 30 minutes per caliper before I painted them. If you have a new car, all you’ll need to do is prep, paint and let it dry.
This is the wire brush that you will need if you have an older car. The brush pictured under “Tools you will need” didn’t work for me so I went out and bought this brush which worked very well.
Tools you will need:
- Floor-Jack & Jack Stands
- 21mm Socket and Breaker Bar
- Prying tool (only if you have hubcaps/center caps)
- Roll of Masking Tape
- 2 Weekday Newspapers, or 1 Sunday Newspaper
- Wire Brush (for cleaning brakes)
- Can of Brake Cleaner
- Can of Caliper or Engine 1500 Degree Spray Paint (500 degree may come off over time)
Hammer (not pictured)
1: Park your car in a well-ventilated area. Using the 21mm breaker bar, loosen your lug nuts on all 4 wheels. Jack up car, and securely lower it onto jack stands. Remove lug nuts and then remove wheel. You can do two wheels at a time, but I used 4 jack stands and did them all at the same time.
2: Inspect your caliper for dirt or rust (notice how nasty my caliper is :( )
3: Spray the brake-cleaner all over the caliper (it should dry very quickly). After that, start to brush away the rust and brake dust off the caliper. This may take quite some time. After about 20 minutes of brushing away, i still could see stuff coming off it. Its up to you when to stop. To help get the rust pieces off, you might want to take a hammer and gently tap the rust pieces. When the rust pieces come loose, you’ll see them turn black. Use the wire brush to scrape them away.
4: Using the newspapers, cover the roto and hub and use the masking tape to connect the newspaper together (so the wind won’t blow it away while its drying).. Also cover the cross member with newspaper, and Tape some newspaper all along the inside of the wheel well, to protect from overspray.
Use the masking tape to tape the various rubber fittings / brake lines on your caliper, your bleeder valve, rotor, piston, and bolts (if you don’t want to paint them). I used tape to cover the back plates of the brake pads. If you do this, MAKE SURE that the tape is on there. All 4 of my brake pad back plates are now painted with weird designs b/c my tape didn’t hold the paint out very well. I will probably just brush over them later with the paint.
5: Shake up the can of Caliper paint and quickly spray the caliper up and down. Repeat until it is covered in paint, but be sure to do it in quick sweeps rather than slow ones, otherwise the paint will run and drip off.
6: Let it dry for a little. I put a total of 3 coats on each caliper (and metal still shows through :( ).
7: While your waiting for the front two to dry, Go over to the rear and inspect the calipers for dirt
8: Use the wire brush and brake cleaner to clean off all the crappy brake dust and rust from the caliper. It took me about twice as long to clean the rears than the front due to their strange shape and various crevices
9: Cover the rear the same as the front. Be sure to cover the piston and rotor from paint as it can affect brake performance if overspray gets in there. Be sure to cover the TTL and cross member pieces. I didn’t, thinking that the paint wouldn’t touch them and I ended up getting paint all over one of the cross members :(
10: Coat the rears with paint as described in step 5
11: Apply a couple more thin coats and allow each coat to dry for 15-30 minutes.
12: after all the calipers are dry, carefully take off all the newspaper, and masking tape to reveal the finished result (notice the paint got onto the brake pad back plate and also on some other parts :(
13. Put your wheels back on, tighten the lugs to the correct torque specs and lower the vehicle back onto the ground.
14: Properly discard all newspapers and masking tape into the trash
15: Final Results (Front)
16: Final Results (Rear Drivers Side)
17: Final Results (Rear Passenger Side)