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Brake Caliper Paint vs. Powder Coat vs. Covers – How to Choose?

If you want your vehicle to stand out from the crowd while participating in some car-related activities in Los Angeles without going too far, customizing your brake calipers may be the option for you. Customizing your brake calipers can take mediocre hidden brake calipers to the next level or add an interesting accent color to your wheels.

There are a few different ways that you can customize your brake calipers, including brake caliper painting, brake caliper powder coating, and brake caliper covers. Being one of the top 10 vehicle customization trends right now in Los Angeles, customizing your brake calipers is an attractive modification for many but which method should you use? Below you will find the things you should consider when deciding between methods.

The Difficulty of Application and Prep

Brake caliper customization often requires thorough and extensive cleaning and may require the brake caliper to be removed from your vehicle as part of how brake calipers are prepared before painting and powder coating. This can be dangerous unless done by a professional with experience and the correct tools.

Some places, like Los Angeles’ StickerCity applies durable powder coating using high heat automotive grade paint without removing the calipers at all. This is safer for your brake lines and your calipers and is also significantly faster than dismantling everything.

Even if you decide that you do not need to remove your brake calipers, powder coating needs special equipment and experience and it is not advised to attempt it yourself.

Brake Caliper Covers, on the other hand, are much easier to install. If you have simple hand tools, a reliable jack, and some time, it is possible to install caliper covers yourself. One of the biggest advantages of brake caliper covers is the ease of installation. Despite this, if you are new to customizations, you may want to have your covers installed by a professional.

The Amount You’re Willing to Spend

The average cost for painting or powder coating your brake calipers in Los Angeles depends on many factors. Brake caliper painting may cost anything from $250 to $450 when professionally done, and up to $200 per caliper if you choose specialty paint or want decals added.

Brake caliper powder coating can cost as little as $60 per caliper for lower-end jobs, and up to $1000 total for the highest quality with decals. Brake caliper powder coating is almost always significantly more expensive than having your brake caliper’s painted.

Brake caliper covers are also more expensive than having your brake calipers painted. Most expensive of all are likely fitted aluminum brake caliper covers. When you factor in the labor needed for brake caliper painting and powder coating, time, experience, and equipment, the price is closer between these options. If you are looking for something with a price somewhere between brake caliper painting and aluminum brake caliper covers, ABS plastic brake caliper covers are less expensive.


The Appearance of Existing Brake Calipers

If you have a pure performance vehicle, your brake calipers may have never been meant to be seen or cared about. If this is the case, a layer of paint likely will not make your brake calipers look all that great. Brake caliper covers, on the other hand, can change the shape and appearance of your brake calipers.

If you do not need to or want to change the shape of your brake calipers, then painting or powder coating makes more sense and can do a better job of enhancing their appearance.


The least durable of the methods to customize your brake caliper painting. Brake caliper paint is susceptible to painting and chipping, especially with it being in such a high contact area of your vehicle. This does not mean that they will not hold up for a long while. Brake caliper paint generally lasts for 3 to 4 years or more.

Powder coating your vehicle’s brake calipers lasts even longer than paint because it is substantially less susceptible to chipping and peeling. The downside to brake caliper powder coating is that in the rare occasion it does chip, it is more difficult to have repaired whereas brake caliper paint can be easily touched up. More durable than both brake caliper powder coatings and brake caliper painting are brake caliper covers that can last up to 10 years.

Aesthetic Outcome

People get their brake calipers customized for cosmetic purposes so the aesthetic outcome is the most important part. We have already discussed that you can change the shape of your brake caliper’s shape with brake caliper covers. Besides this advantage, brake caliber painting and powder coating generally give a better impression than brake caliper covers. They are often seen as tacky, and many enthusiasts are vehemently against them.

Instead of having an obvious aftermarket part, you can have your brake calipers painted to have a factory appearance. Alternatively, you can have your brake calipers painted to any color imaginable but still maintain the high-quality appearance of factory paint jobs.

Powder coating is considered the ultimate brake caliper treatment, superior over paint. Brake caliper paint will look great at 5 feet or in a photo, but it will not be as smooth or have as consistent of color, as you will get from brake caliper powder coating. This being said, after brake dust gets on your calipers, it is unlikely that you will be able to tell the difference between brake calipers that have been powder coated or painted.

 Wrapping Up

There are a lot of things to consider when deciding which method to utilize when customizing your brake calipers. For example, brake caliper paint is often the least expensive but only lasts 3 or 4 years before it may run into chips or peeling. Brake caliper covers, because they are made from aluminum or strong plastic, can last up to 10 years, but are not as aesthetically pleasing to some unless you are trying to change the shape of your calipers. 


For more information about brake caliper paint click here in LA; also here’s a full list of the services we provide in Los Angeles. Did you enjoy this article? Check out our blog. Have questions? Contact us.