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Are you the type that likes to go all out when it comes to the look of your car? You can start by transforming your wheels and painting the brake calipers. Caliper paint is an affordable and smart way to improve the look of your wheels and the vehicle’s general appearance even without purchasing extra accessories. Also, it’s stylish to use color to bring out the visible features of the brakes near the wheel.
You have probably seen some high-end cars with a bright color swirling inside the wheel. Well, that could be you once you find a caliper paint that matches your taste. We have come up with a few options in the buying guide below.
The Best Caliper Paints
You have two options when using POR-15 Caliper Paint. First, you can pour the contents in a container, dip your calipers in, and then hang them to dry. Or you can buy a brush and carefully paint over each caliper. Either way, you will get excellent coverage and a durable ceramic-like finish. You can even repeat the application for an even finish. We should note that the application can get messy, and you will have to be patient before applying a second coat.
What you can expect when the paint properly cures is a heat-resistant coating that can withstand temperatures of up to 500-degrees Fahrenheit. This is a bit on the low side, but it will provide an impenetrable coat under cooler conditions. What’s more, POR-15 offers a variety of colors, including black, red, silver, blue, and yellow.
- Weight8 ounces
Dries to form an impenetrable coat
Can cover four calipers of moderate size
Great sealing properties
Prevents metal oxidation
Takes long to dry
May not get full coverage if you don’t remove the calipers
When you hear the name Rust-Oleum, you know that you are adding an elegant shade to your brake calipers and also keeping rust at bay. The paint comes in an aerosol can with any-angle spray technology, so you don’t have to uninstall your brake calipers. Instead, simply angle the nozzle as desired for full coverage.
It also improves the condition of the braking components by resisting brake dust and high temperatures of up to 900-degrees Fahrenheit, which are created by harsh braking conditions. This is great for motorsport competitive environments and for people who reside in hotter climates.
Resists heat up to 900 degrees
Any-angle spray technology
- Weight12 ounces
Can be sprayed at any angle
Repels brake dust
Dries to a smooth finish
Great for drivers who live in warmer climates
Not resistant to brake fluid or cleaning chemicals
Colors may be darker than anticipated
Color may fade with time
High-speed drivers, RV owners, and anyone else who pushes their brake systems to the limit will benefit by painting their calipers with the G2 Brake Caliper Paint System. That’s because it’s formulated to withstand high temperatures of over 900-degrees Fahrenheit. The kit comes with a brake cleaner, brush, brake caliper reactor, and the paint itself.
You have to mix the paint with the reactor in the ratio of 8:1 to get the right shade. It will be dry to the touch in about eight hours, and you don’t have to add a clear coat since it dries into a glossy finish. This paint is resistant to chemicals and will prevent corrosive damage on the calipers whenever you clean your wheels. One downside is that the brush leaves streak marks, so consider using a foam pad instead.
Brake caliper paint kit
Heat resistant up to 980 degrees
- Weight1.75 pounds
Available in 11 wear-resistant colors
Primer or clear coat isn’t required
Cures into a glossy, attractive finish
Protects against rust, road salt, and rain
Bristle brush leaves streak marks
Single kit isn’t enough to cover all four calipers
VHT offers a high-gloss spray paint that comes in vibrant red, gloss black, bright yellow, and gold. It dries to the touch in about 30 minutes, and if you leave it overnight it will be fully dried. The paint is very attractive, and when fully cured it can withstand high temperatures of up to 900-degrees Fahrenheit.
The coat is designed with top-notch adhesion to resist chipping and fading. You can expect it to remain intact for a few years. However, the nozzle shoots paint out at a fast rate, and it can get messy if you aren’t careful. Also, you need to apply a primer or an undercoat to level the paint on the metal surface.
Heat and chemical resistant
Dries in 30 minutes
- Weight11 ounces
Doesn’t peel or crack even under harsh operating conditions
Has an attractive and vibrant shine
Extra clear coat isn’t required
Suitable for brakes, drums, and calipers
Requires a primer for leveling
Can get messy
Paint comes out at a fast rate
If you are looking to give your brake calipers a cleaner, more professional look, then try out the Dupli-Color Black Caliper Aerosol. You can also spice up your ride with the other colors, including silver, red, blue, and yellow. Dupli-Color claims that the paint will be dry to the touch 30 minutes after application, and you can handle the brake calipers in about an hour.
The paint comes in an aerosol can and can withstand temperatures of up to 500-degrees Fahrenheit when fully cured. The can features an EZ Touch conical nozzle that allows for precision spraying by directing the spray only in the pointed direction for minimal waste. The coat resists brake dust and chipping caused by harsh chemicals. You can also apply it to the brake rotors and drums. Unfortunately, the paint dries into a somewhat matte-like finish and can flake, peel, or melt under intense heat conditions.
Resists heat up to 500 degrees
Dries in 30 minutes, handles in an hour
EZ Touch conical nozzle
- Weight12 ounces
Resistant to chipping and brake dust
Fast-drying, durable finish
Available in a variety of colors
Chemical and heat resistant
Low heat protection in comparison to other brands
Need to apply multiple coats
May need to apply a clear coat
Eastwood is known for making automotive paints for restoration and repair projects. This paint in particular is available in red, silver, and black and can be applied even without removing the caliper. You can get it straight out of the can with a narrow brush or load it into a spray gun for easier application.
Eastwood utilizes nano-ceramic technology to increase the heat resistance and durability of the paint. It can withstand temperatures of up to 650-degrees Fahrenheit, and you can expect it to last for over two years without chipping.
UV and heat resistant
- Weight8 ounces
Chemical and chip resistant
Easy to apply and load in a spray gun
Available in red, silver, and black
Limited color options
Product is volatile and may emit strong fumes when opened
May cause skin irritation
Best Caliper Paint Buying Guide & FAQs
Originally, brake calipers came in either black, silver, or gold straight from the manufacturer. It’s now trendy for performance vehicle manufacturers to paint calipers in bright colors. Ones that are untreated tend to rust quickly. If your brake calipers are unpainted, you can opt for aftermarket paint to spruce up their dull and faded facade.
Nothing screams style more than painting your brake calipers in a vibrant color like bright red or yellow. However, it's not just about their look. You also need high-quality caliper paint to protect the metal from corrosion, dust, and the effects of heat. Our buying guide below will help you make an informed decision on how to choose and use brake caliper paint.
Benefits of Caliper Paint
The brake calipers help to squeeze the brake pads to slow down your vehicle and bring it to a stop. They undergo intense frictional forces that make the paint wear and fade with time. If your wheel has an open design, it can get frustrating when the ugly calipers show through. So what's the best thing to do? You can repaint the calipers in a vibrant color that accentuates your style and improves the visual appeal of your ride.
Caliper paint is one of the cheapest upgrades you can get for your vehicle. Most of the paints are under $20, and with just one can you can do at least two coats on each caliper. You don’t have to be a professional or hire one to paint your calipers. If you have the time, you can remove the calipers, paint them, and then reinstall them.
- It’s easy to change the color if you need a new look.
- It boosts the aesthetic value of your car.
- It highlights the style of your rims and makes the wheels pop.
- It protects your calipers from chemical corrosion and brake dust.
The Most Common Types of Caliper Paint
What largely distinguishes one caliper paint form another is the formula, packaging, and application style. These differences help the user to either get better coverage or spend the least time possible on the project. We explain the different types of caliper paint below.
Aerosol or spray-on paints typically come in 11- to 15-ounce pressurized spray cans. Most are enamel-based and come in a variety of shades, ranging from matte to high-gloss finishes. You typically have to shake the can before you spray the contents. To get the best results, you need to spray about three coats to get a longer-lasting and more finished look.
Spray paints are the easiest to apply, and you don’t have to remove the calipers for better coverage. A spray-on system is also a great way to ensure that you get a flat and even coat.
- Dipping Cans
Typically, dipping cans are large enough to fit an entire brake caliper. But you have to remove the calipers and dip them in the paint. You will likely only need to do one coat since the caliper takes on as much paint as its surface can hold and dries out evenly. If you miss a section, you don’t have to dip it back in, but you can use a small paintbrush to even out the patches.
The application can be messy, and you have to cover the surface you are working on. Also, it takes a long time to dry since you put on a thick layer at once. However, it’s the best paint if you want a longer-lasting coat.
Epoxy caliper paints are one of the most durable finishes since they contain epoxy resins and a polyamine hardener that create a hardened and solvent-resistant finish. This means that the coat will last for a long time without peeling, chipping, or cracking even after it’s exposed to brake caliper cleaners and other fluids. Most brush-on kits come with epoxy paints to encourage the paint to adhere to the surface.
However, epoxy contains caustic chemicals, which can be corrosive to the skin. You need to take extra measures when preparing the paint like wearing gloves, overalls, and a face mask in case it emits fumes.
What to Consider When Buying Caliper Paint
It’s important to get the best paint that suits your brake calipers. Your aim is to get a paint that will keep your calipers looking clean, new, and stylish. Below are some of the key features you should look out for when choosing caliper paint.
- Caliper Type
It’s important to consult your owner’s manual to determine if the calipers are compatible with the paint you intend to use. For example, you may have a floating caliper, which has one piston on one side of the rotor. It typically uses bushings and pins as the clamp, and the piston slides back and forth. This type of caliper can be removed for painting.
Another type is a fixed caliper, which has pistons on both sides of the rotor and can’t be dismounted. They are the best for painting since they have the best heat resistance, but removing them can potentially harm your gears.
- Temperature Tolerance
You can expect brake calipers to heat up really quickly during instant braking situations. In fact, they can get hotter than the engine. In such cases, the paint may melt or peel from the calipers. That’s why you need a paint that can withstand high temperatures for a continuous period.
The best brake caliper paints have a temperature tolerance of about 500- to 900-degrees Fahrenheit and can take the heat for over 10 minutes without melting or peeling. You can find some high-end, polymer-based paints with a heat resistance of about 1,000-degrees Fahrenheit. However, most of these paints don’t live up to the marketing hype, and it's better to choose something with reasonable heat resistance.
- Drying Time
There’s nothing that can test your patience like waiting for paint to dry. This can get really frustrating when you have to wait for hours between coats. That’s why you should prioritize fast-drying paint. Look for something that takes less than an hour to dry.
Your best bet is aerosol paint, which dries in less than 30 minutes as long as you spray on a thin coat. In order to get a solid, even layer, it only takes about two hours.
The amount you choose depends on the size of the calipers and how many you need to cover. Large vehicles such as RVs and trucks have large brakes since there’s more weight to stop. Performance vehicles also have large brakes to handle instant braking at high speeds.
It’s a no brainer that the larger the brakes, the more paint you need. If you are using aerosol cans, you should at least have two 11- to 15-ounce cans for full coverage of the rear calipers. Consider purchasing more if you need to cover all four calipers.
- Application Method
There are three ways to apply caliper paint: brushing, spray painting, or dipping. If you do not want to remove your brake calipers, opt for faster yet efficient methods of getting full coverage, either by spray painting or using a narrow brush to cover every inch of the brake calipers.
If you have the time to remove the brake calipers and don’t want to take any chances when it comes to getting the best coverage, we recommend dipping them in paint. Since you can't hang them to dry, you probably have to use a brush to cover the parts that are smudged while the caliper sits on the ground.
If you are going to upgrade the look of your brake calipers, don’t settle for less when it comes to choosing a color that suits your taste or general appearance of your ride. The most popular colors are shiny black, silver, yellow, and red. Manufacturers are popping up with a lot more color options.
Take care not to compromise on the quality of the paint when choosing a vibrant color. Look for a product that satisfies the protection needs of the brake calipers as well as provides aesthetic value. You shouldn’t paint your calipers purple just because it is available and not because it’s a durable and high-end caliper paint.
Tips for Buying and Using Caliper Paint
You may notice that some caliper paints don’t list the actual color on the label. That’s not an issue because the color on the cap or general color of the container is often an indication of the actual color of the paint. Be sure to test the paint on a piece of scrap metal so that you can know what to expect when it dries.
Clean your brake calipers thoroughly with brake cleaner fluid before you apply the paint. Be sure to remove any dust, grime, or rust. Paint doesn’t adhere well on a dirty surface, and it dries unevenly. That’s one of the reasons why paint starts to crack or peel.
Always work in a well-ventilated area when painting your calipers. Most caliper paint contains harmful chemicals that can cause nausea or drowsiness when inhaled for too long. Also, wear gloves and overalls to protect your skin from irritation.
- Apply a primer on the clean calipers so that the paint goes on smoothly.
- Cover anything that you don’t want to paint with painter’s tape, a plastic bag, or cling film.
- Try to avoid white paint since it tends to look unappealing when it’s dirty.
- Ideally, you should allow the caliper paint to dry for at least 24 hours before taking your vehicle out on the road.
Best Caliper Paint FAQs
If you’ve decided to upgrade the look of your car and paint the brake calipers, you probably have a few questions on the painting process and what else you can do with the paint. Below we answer some of the most common questions people have about caliper paint.
Q. Can I use caliper paint on other parts of my vehicle?
A: You can use caliper paint on other parts of your brake system, but check the manufacturer’s recommendations to determine where else you can use the caliper paint.
Q. Will an extra clear coat make the paint more durable?
A: On top of adding extra shine, an extra clear coat can make the caliper coat more durable, especially if it's from a high-end brand. However, it isn't necessary since most caliper paints have a clear coat in the formula.
Q. Do I have to remove the brake calipers to paint them?
A: Not if you are using aerosol paint or working with a small paintbrush. Just remember to cover the other areas that you don’t want to paint.
Q. How long does brake caliper paint last?
A: High-quality brake caliper paint can last for at least three years without peeling or cracking. However, that period may be shortened if your wheels are exposed to aggressive off-roading, if you live in a hotter climate, or if you frequently clean your brake components.
Q. What’s the best way to remove old caliper paint?
A: If you don’t have a dedicated caliper paint remover, you can use brake caliper cleaner fluid and a scrubber to remove the paint. If you don’t want to scratch the metal, you can wipe the calipers with a piece of cloth dubbed in isopropyl alcohol.
Our Top Pick
We recommend the POR-15 Caliper Paint as the best brake caliper paint. It’s a long-lasting, brush-on paint that offers full coverage of all four calipers. You also get a variety of colors to choose from, and you don't need to apply a clear coat since it dries into a glossy finish.