If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve decided to start servicing your own brakes. Congratulations. Nothing feels better than knowing you’ve made a major difference in your vehicle’s performance.
However, brake jobs have a lot of pitfalls. One often-overlooked step is selecting and applying the proper lubricant to your brake calipers. In this review, we’ve not only collected the best brake caliper greases available on Amazon, but we’ve also run down everything you’ll need to know about properly lubricating your brakes.
The Best Brake Caliper Greases
We’re coming close to breaking our own rules by recommending Mission Automotive Silicone Grease so highly. The label doesn’t recommend the product for use on brake calipers until the bottom, and it has various automotive, electrical, and marine uses.
Fortunately, that’s no indication of how well this grease works on brakes. In fact, it’s currently our favorite performance enhancer. This is a thick, easy-to-apply silicon-based grease. One jar of it lasts a really long time, and it’s an excellent price. We especially like how well the included applicator brush works.
- Silicone-based grease
- Works on brake calipers
- Rated up to 575-degrees Fahrenheit
- Brush included
- Brand Mission Automotive
- Model Silicone Grease
- Weight 8.8 ounces
Easy to apply
One jar lasts a long time
Effective at reducing brake noise and decreasing stopping distance
Easy to apply too much
Bottle sometimes dirty on arrival
Pre-bent applicator brush confuses some people
Sil-Glyde’s silicone-based lubricant is only a budget option because of the small tube that it comes in. There’s nothing at all inferior about its performance.
On the contrary, it quickly tamps down on obnoxious brake ticking and silences rattles, all while preserving the softer components of your brake system. Despite the low price, this is an ideal substitute for any manual-recommended grease, especially if you use a conservative amount for every brake job.
- Four-ounce tube of silicone brake lubricant
- Heat-resistant to 425-degrees Fahrenheit
- Brand Sil-Glyde
- Model Brake Lubricant
- Weight 4.5 ounces
Ideal for rubber brake components
Good at reducing noise
Lasts a long time
Can become unusable if cap is left off
Less powerful for metal-on-metal connections
Synthetic greases tend to be more expensive, though in the case of Sta-Lube’s molybdenum-based caliper grease, we think it’s worth it. This is a truly special lubricant that’s applicable in all brake systems, and it has the highest temperature rating we’ve seen.
Sta-Lube’s grease is less viscous and sticky than silicone-based options, making for a slightly more difficult application. However, it’s more effective in the long term. It shines on metal-on-metal contact points and sheds dirt fantastically.
- Synthetic caliper grease
- Rated for 600-degrees Fahrenheit
- Contains molybdenum, graphite, and PTFE
- Brush included
- Brand Sta-Lube
- Model SL3303
- Weight 14.4 ounces
Extremely high temperature threshold
Effective at metal-on-metal contact points
Resists dust and debris
Considered a volatile organic chemical (VOC) in California
Doesn’t work as well on slide pins
Harder to apply than silicone paste
CRC’s caliper grease is another molybdenum-based synthetic lube and is available in either an eight-ounce jar or a 2.5-ounce tube. Aside from moly, its active ingredients are graphite and PTFE.
It’s quick and effective at cutting down on brake noise and vibrations and resists corrosion over time. It’s also safe for rubber components, is moisture-resistant, and can even be used to lube parts other than brakes.
- Synthetic caliper grease
- Comes in 2.5-ounce or 8-ounce sizes
- Contains molybdenum, graphite, PTFE
- Rated to 400-degrees Fahrenheit
- Brand CRC
- Model 05359
- Weight 5.6 ounces
Protects against corrosion
Works on both metal and rubber
Completely silences brakes
Attached brush is hard to use
Too viscous in cold weather
Less effective for heavy loads
Versachem’s caliper grease gains points on our list for being a great insulator. All these lubricants resist electric current to some extent, but we’ve noticed Versachem’s lube is a great dielectric coat. It also shrugs off rust and corrosion easily.
It’s ideal for rubber parts, especially caliper bushings, but it’s also useful on spark plugs and other components around your car in addition to the brakes.
- Synthetic brake grease
- Comes in 8-ounce bottle or 18-gram tube
- Rated up to 400-degrees Fahrenheit
- Also works on non-brake electrical components
- Brand Versachem
- Model 26080
- Weight 9.6 ounces
Great electric insulator
Versatile and simple to apply
Dries out at high temperature
Can result in uneven braking if it becomes too gummy
Permatex’s brake caliper lube is an environmentally-friendly grease free of dangerous chemicals but is no less effective. It’s available in multiple shapes and sizes, from a 0.5-ounce tube up to an eight-ounce jar.
The Permatex formula is engineered for difficult braking challenges: hard stops, heavy loads, slick surfaces, etc. It helps brakes pass these tests with aplomb, especially at metal-on-metal contact points. We also like how rarely it sticks.
- Brake caliper lube free of volatile chemicals
- For metal contacts only
- Available in five sizes
- Rated to 400-degrees Fahrenheit
- Brand Permatex
- Model 24110
- Weight Up to 8 ounces
Doesn’t melt or dry
Works well in adverse braking conditions
Some sizes are too small to be useful
Not for rubber components
Best Brake Caliper Grease Buying Guide & FAQs
Brake calipers are one of the active components of your braking system. When you apply pressure to your brake pedal, that force transfers to the caliper, which squeezes the brake rotor and slows down your car. Caliper grease is a vital lubricant that ensures your calipers are working at peak efficiency.
Whether you’ve been performing your own brake jobs for years, or you’re just now thinking about saving money by getting into DIY brake repair, knowing what caliper grease works best for you can be a huge help. Below, we’ve put together the only caliper grease guide you’ll ever need.
Why You Need Brake Caliper Grease
Many people who know how brakes work still don’t follow the best practices when it comes to servicing them regularly. It’s not enough to just replace parts as they wear out. If you want your brakes to do their best, preventative work isn’t optional.
Brake caliper grease reduces friction, decreasing the response time of your brakes and cutting down on noise. It might seem counter-intuitive to lubricate a device that’s supposed to slow your momentum, but your brakes can’t cut your speed if they aren’t working efficiently themselves.
Here are just a few more reasons to find a good brake caliper grease:
- They resist heat effectively. Brakes work by applying friction, which creates a lot of heat. Heat, in turn, can damage unprotected components. Caliper grease provides not just lubrication, but also protection.
- They resist water and dust damage. Another way lubricant protects your brakes is similar to how paint protects your car: by putting a barrier between delicate parts and the elements.
- They can be used on other components. Some caliper greases will work well on other parts of your car and even in non-auto-related DIY jobs.
Types of Brake Caliper Grease
Brake caliper grease is not a universal lubricant. It’s specially engineered for the combination of metal parts and rubber seals that make up your brakes, and its objective is to play well with both substances. Almost all products that do this are either silicone-based or synthetic.
We strongly advise not using oil-based lubricants, especially if you aren’t a professional. We’ll go into more detail about this below.
Outside of that, the main distinction among silicone-based and synthetic greases is whether they’re built for caliper assemblies (metal on rubber) or external hardware lubrication (metal on metal). We’ll also unpack that distinction in this section.
Oil-based lubricants have historically been used for metal-on-metal contact points. Oil grease is considered the traditional variety of auto lube, but a knowledgeable mechanic will almost never use it on brakes anymore.
Why? Because petroleum-based grease isn’t compatible with the rubber seals used in the internal workings of modern brakes. It can make them swell and crack, risking catastrophic brake failure.
The risk is so serious, in fact, that using oil-based grease anywhere on your brakes can void your warranty. While silicon-based and synthetic brake caliper lubricant can be applied to other parts of your car, this does not work in reverse. Take our advice, and do not use oil-based grease for brake jobs.
The conventional wisdom used to be that silicone-based lubricants were not suited to metal-on-metal contact points because they would break down in the heat generated by all that friction. With new chemical technology, this is no longer the case, although silicone-based grease is still more likely to trap dirt and debris in your brakes.
It’s not a hard-and-fast rule that you should only use silicone grease on the internal assembly of your calipers. It’s just more likely that this is what a silicone-based product is for. Generally, you can trust what a product tells you about where it’s supposed to be used.
Synthetic brake caliper grease is better suited to external metal-on-metal contact points, although like with silicone-based grease, there is some overlap.
Synthetic greases are usually sold as either pastes or roll-on sticks. Common ingredients include graphite, polyalphaolefin (PAO), molybdenum disulfide (moly), and teflon, which are used in various proportions. Grease based on these ingredients withstands higher temperatures, attracts less dirt, and protects against rust.
Despite its many strengths, synthetic grease may not be the ideal choice for every part of your brakes. Silicone is still widely used on internal caliper assemblies as it’s a superior lubricant for rubber.
Features to Look for in Brake Caliper Grease
When doing a brake touch-up job, you should apply grease to every moving part on your brake calipers. This can be an extensive job, and a user-friendly grease product will save you a lot of money and time. To find the grease that will work for you, check the following three aspects.
One of the most common mistakes people make when buying brake lubricant is to buy a general auto lube product instead. Remember, brake calipers are delicate instruments, and most lubricants aren’t designed around their specific needs.
The last thing you want to do is accidentally buy a petroleum-based lube. Those might seem like they’re working, but they can damage your calipers, making your brakes less reliable over time.
The product you’re buying should explicitly spell out that it’s a brake lubricant. Read as much of the container as possible to gather information. If it’s not clearly labeled as brake caliper grease, keep looking.
- Temperature Range
Brakes work on the physical principle of heat dissipation. Through applied friction, they remove kinetic energy from your vehicle’s wheels by transforming the energy into heat.
We only get technical to spell out that when your brakes reach temperatures of 400-degrees Fahrenheit, it’s not a design flaw. If they’re not hot, it means they’re failing, and you should look for a breakdown lane ASAP.
This means that being able to withstand high temperatures is a necessary condition for caliper grease (that’s one of the big reasons we don’t use petroleum on brakes anymore). Fortunately, most products will alert you to their temperature range right on the container. Any grease you buy should be rated for at least 400-degrees Fahrenheit, though higher is better.
- Application Method
We mentioned earlier that brake caliper grease is frequently sold in squeezable tubes or roll-on sticks. It also commonly takes the form of a slightly thinner substance in a bottle or jar.
With any form except the sticks, you need some kind of applicator. Wire brushes work pretty well and are sometimes included with jars. Given the small amounts of lube typically required, there really isn’t any tool better than your finger.
The tools needed to grease brake calipers are very common (barring a horrible accident), but it’s nice to get something you’re comfortable using. Convenience increases the likelihood that you’ll service your brakes before they really need it.
Tips for Buying and Using Brake Caliper Grease
We have included a lot of dire warnings in this post, but with parts that are literally lifesaving you can’t be too cautious. Here’s another critical tip: Never apply any sort of grease to the friction surfaces (or “faces”) of your brake rotors or pads. Lubricant will cause these to break down over time, weakening your braking power.
Here are some other tips to make your home brake job easier and more effective:
- Clean every surface thoroughly before lubricating it. Brakes pick up a lot of grit. Use a wire brush and a can of compressed air.
- Use a little less lubricant than you think you need or just enough to cover the whole contact point in the thinnest possible layer. If you use too much it might leak and contaminate sensitive parts of your brake system.
- When buying grease, check to see if it contains any petroleum products. Some lubes sneak them in while not being explicitly oil based.
Best Brake Caliper Grease FAQs
Brake jobs are delicate work, but that shouldn’t discourage you from learning how to do them. It’s a rewarding and frugal way to help your car work better for longer. Rest assured, if you follow all our advice, nothing will go wrong, and if anything does, it can be fixed.
Q. How do I service my brake calipers?
A: Brake calipers can be removed as a single unit. Separate them from your car, clean them with a wire brush and compressed air, and then apply lubricant to any moving parts.
Q. What parts of the calipers should I grease?
A: Remember the engineering cliche: If it doesn’t move and it should, lube. Any part of the caliper that moves should be greased. Remember, this doesn’t include pads and shoes.
Q. Is white lithium grease acceptable for brake calipers?
A: While lithium lube is not oil-based, like oil-based lubes it can’t stand up to high temperatures. Therefore, you shouldn’t apply it to your calipers.
Our Top Pick
Mission Automotive Silicone Grease is our top choice for a brake caliper grease. It protects against just about every contaminant there is, while reducing brake noise to zero. It’s easy to apply and widely effective. As long as you apply it properly, Mission Silicone will guarantee you years of quiet, smooth braking.