How to Paint Your Brake Calipers

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A painted set of brake calipers adds a lot of personality to a car if done right. Whether you want to restore their original look or make the dull factory ones stand out, there are a few essential things you should consider.
Before you start the process, it is essential to prepare. Make sure you have enough space, good ventilation, and a way to jack up your car and remove all four wheels.

Use jack stands for this and do not improvise because you might end up damaging the car and hurting yourself.

You will need to have tools, gloves, goggles, a lot of plastic bags, or anything that can be used to prevent certain areas of your car and driveway from sharing the same color with your calipers.

Masking tape is also essential and so is brake cleaner, of which you should get plenty. Beside that, get some sandpaper, a toothbrush, wire brush, and the all-important heat-resistant caliper paint.

Make sure you decide how you want to do this. It is possible to paint the calipers without removing them from the wheel assembly but that will be a tougher task and the result might not live up to your expectations.

The best way to proceed is to take them off, which is not necessarily a tough process, but you do have to pay attention and not disconnect them from the brake line. The calipers are usually held in place by one or two bolts you can remove with a ratchet wrench.

Make sure to remove the brake pads, which are usually held in place by clips. Locate the clips and gently pull out the pads.

After removing the calipers and masking everything around them as best as you can, the most important step of the process begins, cleaning them.

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Photo: Audi AG
If they were already painted, your job will be easier as you will just have to remove the old paint but otherwise, you will have to use the brake cleaner, wire brush, and sandpaper to clean them thoroughly.

Use the wire brush to remove dirt and rust and spray brake cleaner constantly to get rid of any debris or loosened wires from the brush. Make sure you do not use the brush on any rubber castings.

Sand the metal parts with 150-200 grit sandpaper while making sure to go after all the nooks and crannies. If there are areas that you cannot properly reach with sandpaper, use a toothbrush.

After you finish the cleaning process you can begin to paint the calipers. Make sure to read and follow the instructions inscribed on the can and paint one side at a time. Spray short bursts and move the can from side to side as you do.

You should go for three or four coats and it is important to wait at least 10 minutes between them. After applying multiple coats to one side allow it to dry for half an hour and repeat the process on the other side.

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To finish the job, allow the paint to dry. The time it takes can vary depending on temperature and humidity, but it is a critical step, and you will not want to ruin all the hard work.

Give the calipers a couple of hours before you reattach them and resist the temptation of using the car for another 24 hours so that the paint can cure completely.

All that hard work and patience will be rewarded when those ordinary calipers no one ever noticed will now instantly stand out.
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About the author: Vlad Radu
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Vlad's first car was custom coach built: an exotic he made out of wood, cardboard and a borrowed steering wheel at the age of five. Combining his previous experience in writing and car dealership years, his articles focus in depth on special cars of past and present times.
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