Our Blog

How Do You Prepare a Brake Caliper for Painting

If you want to stand out from the crowd subtly without going overboard, and getting your vehicle’s roof painted or wrapped is too much for your tastes, having your brake calipers painted or powder-coated may be a great option for you.

Brake caliper painting and powder-coating are one of the top upcoming car trends for 2021. With today’s automotive technology and customization ability, you can have your vehicle’s brake calipers painted to any color you can imagine and with an experienced technician, they will last the test of time.

Having your brake calipers painted or powder coating does not only involve paint. There is a lot of preparation and elbow grease involved. Below you can gain a cursory understanding of what goes into the preparation of brake calipers for powder-coating or painting.

Gathering Supplies

The first thing that has to be done before you are able to paint or powder-coat brake calipers is to gather supplies. Not including specialty equipment that the customization shop will have such as scissor lifts and paint and powder coating equipment, there is a lot of supplies that can go into brake caliper painting or powder coating.

Safety equipment like dusk masks and goggles must be retrieved, and tire irons, ratchets, and containers to mix paint are collected. Various tools and products may be needed for cleaning purposes, such as wire brushes, plastic brushes, 1-inch paintbrushes, sandpaper, power drills with wire brush attachments, spray solvents, alloy wheel cleaner, and brake cleaning fluid.

To keep the paint away from parts of the vehicle and work station, tape and drop cloths and over covers are needed. If the calipers are to be removed for painting or powder coating, the technician needs to set up a way to suspend the calipers safely. If your brake calipers have already been painted in the past, an abrasive cleaning pad or multiple will be needed.

Removing Calipers

After everything is collected and set up for a vehicle’s brake calipers to be painted or powder-coated, many places will remove the calipers themselves. Not only must they know how to do this without causing damage, but they will also need to be careful about the brake lines.

The weight of the brake calipers can put a strain on the brake line, leading to leaks or completely ruining the brake line. Some sort of system to suspend the caliper must be implemented to prevent this from happening.

This being said, some places do not remove the calipers at all. Having your vehicle’s brake caliper powder-coated at StickerCity, for example, will not require the calipers to be removed. Here, they offer powder-coating instead of paint because it is less prone to chipping and many consider it to be more cosmetically appealing.

Using high heat automotive grade paint and powder coating, StickerCity changes the appearance of the vehicle’s brake calipers without removing the caliper at all. This option is not only safer but also saves time.

Thorough Cleaning

The average cost of painting or powder coating brake calipers in Los Angeles is not only because of the cost of supplies, paint, and the labor of painting. Some of the cost is because of the extensive cleaning required to get a smooth and pristine paint job.

Before any paint job, you have to remove any dirt and debris. This is ten-fold as important with brake calipers because of all the grime and it’s proximity to the ground.

After the emergency brake is engaged, the vehicle is lifted, the wheels and calipers removed and brakes drained (if required), it’s time to get scrubbing. First, the coarsest materials are used; a wire brush.

This part can be made easier with a power drill equipped with a wire brush attachment. After the technician is finished with the power drill, a spray solvent is applied to break up the muck on the vehicle’s calipers. The reason this is done afterward is that solvents are flammable and it is not safe to use the power drill after it is applied.

Not only are solvents flammable, but they are also destructive to other parts of your vehicle. The technician must be careful to not allow any solvent to touch the brake lines or cylinders because it will break them down along with the dirt and grime.

Next, the solvent is scrubbed in with a wire brush to remove any rust. A steel wire brush should be used since a brass wire brush is too soft. Smaller and harder to reach areas are hit with plastic brushes and sandpaper, starting with a large grit of sandpaper such as 100 grit, and then progressing to finer grits like 300 and 500 grit.

Finally, alloy wheel cleaner or brake cleaning fluid is used, along with grease removing soap, remove any dirt or grease remaining.

If the vehicle’s brake calipers have already been painted in the past, the technician will use one or more adhesive pads to scrub the paint until the old paint has completely dulled. Then the cleaning process continues with brake cleaner and similar techniques as unpainted calipers.

Applying Primer


Once the vehicle’s brake calipers have been thoroughly cleaned and degreased, areas where the paint is not supposed to get have to be taped and covered adequately. The last thing you want is for the rest of the vehicle’s paint to need to be repaired.

Primer may be applied in layers before the painting begins. Each time the primer is applied, the technician will wait for it to dry, wet it, then sand it. This can take a while and is not always required depending on what products are being used to color the vehicle’s brake calipers.

Wrapping Up

You can not just buy paint and jump right into painting a vehicle’s brake calipers. It requires attention, work, and preparation. Acquiring the correct products to complete the job is the first step on the list of tasks before getting into the painting portion.

The most time consuming and important bit of preparation are cleaning the brake calipers extensively.  Next, everything is taped off, and the primer is applied. Finally, the calipers can be painted. 

For more info, here’s a full list of the services we provide.  Did you enjoy this article? Check out our blog. Have questions? Contact us.