How To Paint Brake Calipers
Article by Mark Trotta
After disassembling, cleaning and inspecting, the next step of caliper rebuilding is a quality paint job. Painting is all about surface preparation.
To prevent chipping and peeling down the road, you need to start with immaculately clean calipers. Careful preparation is essential.
The calipers in these pictures are from a 1966 Corvette. They were initially cleaned during disassembly, but more cleaning was done before painting.
I sprayed the calipers with brake parts cleaner, then scrubbed them with a wire brush. For the tight spots I used scuff pads, followed up with more brake parts cleaner. After blow-drying with compressed air I allowed to dry thoroughly.
The piston bores and bleeder valve holes are not to be painted, and need to be covered up during the painting process. I put old bleeder screws and stuffed rags in the bores, then reinstalled the old bore seals.
After the painting was done, any over-spray on the mating surfaces of the caliper halves was sanded off.
Brake Calipers Ready For Paint
Brake Caliper Paint Choices
There's a dozen or more products which can be used to paint brake calipers. After doing some research, I chose VHT Brake and Caliper Paint.
VHT caliper paint is heat resistant to 900 degrees. Many color choices are available, including black, yellow, red, silver, gold, green, purple, and clear.
If instructions are followed, caliper paint will not chip, crack, fade or rust, even under extremes of operation or road and weather conditions. It is easy to apply, dries quickly and is remarkably resistant.
Several light coats of paint achieve best results.
The reason behind spraying several light coats is to eliminate runs, and dry completely before the next coat. For the first pass, spray lightly and aim for the hard-to-reach areas.
Although you could respray as soon as 15 minutes, what's the rush? Remember changes in temperature and humidity are not always known. Take your time. You're not painting a barbecue, you're restoring a classic car.
The four coats I applied took me four days. Each morning, before work, I went out in the garage, changed the position of the calipers on the cardboard, and sprayed on another light coat. I sprayed the last coat a little heavier to smooth out the finish.
Heat Cures The Paint
After allowing the calipers to dry for at least day, set the oven to 200 degrees and "bake" the calipers for one hour. This cures the paint, making it rock hard and impervious to chemicals.
It is not recommended to use an oven in which you also cook food.
If you're painting calipers in the summertime, you can leave them outside in the sun for a few hours.
Once the calipers cool down they can be reassembled.