Learn how to paint your brake calipers

Paint Brake Calipers

08 May 2015, 07:45

If you like to keep your car looking nice and clean, it is always a shame to let rusty brake callipers spoil the overall polished look If you invest in a new set of shiny wheels, for example, you want the rest of the car to be able to look just as good as they do.

If you like to keep your car looking nice and clean, it is always a shame to let rusty brake callipers spoil the overall polished look. If you invest in a new set of shiny wheels, for example, you want the rest of the car to be able to look just as good as they do. It’s surprisingly straightforward to keep your brake callipers looking shiny and new, so there is no reason to let them spoil the overall appearance of your vehicle. There are some people who would say that in order to do this job properly, you need to remove all of your brake callipers. This turns what is a simple cleaning and painting job into a much more complicated process, and does not necessarily improve the results.

As long as you are careful about protecting the other areas of the brakes, there is no need to remove the brake callipers from the car in order to paint them.

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This how-to guide will talk you through how to paint your brake callipers without fully removing them in an easy to follow step-by-step guide.

  1. Firstly, you need to prepare and assemble all the relevant material. There is no point starting the job if you do not have the equipment necessary to finish it off properly. To achieve sparkling clean and shiny brake callipers you will need:
    • 1 large piece of sturdy cardboard
    • 2 cans of enamel spray paint
    • Several plastic carrier bags (or a few lengths of plastic sheeting)
    • 1 stiff toothbrush
    • 1 can of brake cleaner
    • Masking tape
    • A ramp or car jack
  2. Loosen all of the nuts on all four wheels, but do not remove them completely.
  3. Jack the front of the car up first so that the front wheels are lifted off the ground.
  4. Remove the nuts on the front two wheels and then remove the wheels completely. Make sure that you store the nuts in a safe place so that you do not lose them before you need to put them back on again.
  5. Once the wheels have been removed, you will be able to see the dirty, and probably rusty, brake callipers exposed.
  6. Spray some of your brake cleaner onto a toothbrush and start to scrub the callipers clean. You will need to apply several rounds of brake cleaner in order to fully clean the callipers. Don’t spray the cleaner directly onto the callipers at any point, spray the toothbrush instead and apply the cleaner that way.
  7. You may need to spend a short while cleaning the callipers. The longer you spend on this step, the better the overall effect will be once you have finished.
  8. Once you have finished scrubbing the callipers clean, remove the front retainer clip and cover the bleeder valve with masking tape. Make sure that you completely cover the valve with tape as you do not want to get any paint on this part. Once the valve is covered, tape the brake hose fittings as well. You will need to protect these when you spray the calliper with paint.
  9. Take the piece of stiff cardboard and cut out a piece shaped like an upside-down letter L. The L should be big enough to allow you to place it over the bracket holding the calliper in place, protecting all of the parts of the car behind it.
  10. Take one of the plastic carrier bags, or the plastic sheeting, and cover the rotor to protect it from the spray paint. You will find that you will have to spin the rotor in order to catch the plastic between the brake pads and the rotor wheel. Otherwise, you will end up with gaps on the rotor which are not covered by the plastic, and if paint gets into these places, you could seal the brake pads to the rotor which would stop the brakes from working. You may need to use a couple of pieces of masking tape to hold the plastic in place.
  11. Spray the calliper using slow and even strokes. Take your time to create smooth and even layers as this will give the best appearance once you have finished. It does not matter if you get paint on the side of the brake pad which touches the calliper, but do take extra care to ensure that no paint gets between the brake pad and the rotor. This is the advantage of removing the callipers entirely, but as long as you have taken the necessary precautions to cover the rotor completely, there is no need to remove the callipers from the vehicle.
  12. Leave the paint to dry before removing the plastic and the cardboard. Move onto the next wheel and repeat the process again.
  13. You will need to remove the jacks from the front of the car, and raise the back end instead once you have painted the front brake callipers. Make sure that the paint is completely dry before you reattach the wheels. Once you have painted all four callipers and replaced the wheels, take your car for a drive and test the brakes. If you spot any problems at all, contact a local garage to have the brakes checked over.

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