How To Refinish A Brake Caliper

How To Refinish A Brake Caliper

Your brake calipers are constantly exposed to heat, brake dust, and various substances throughout their lifetime. With increased usage, they tend to corrode and rust. The best way to protect them from such conditions is to refinish your calipers.


Until the 1990s, high performance vehicles came with black or silver brake calipers. But refinishing brake calipers became popular in the 90s when somebody tried using high temperature engine paint on the calipers. As soon as paint companies saw this, they released caliper friendly paint.


For a polished and new car, rusty calipers can ruin the overall look. You may even have invested in a new set of wheels, but it still looks messy if the calipers look old and rusty. With just a refinish, you can make your calipers look totally brand new.


We will provide step by step guidance on how to refinish your brake calipers, and the best part is you do not even have to dismantle them in order to apply the paint. But before we get into the essential items and procedure, let’s have a look at why you should refinish a brake caliper. 

Why Should You Refinish a Brake Caliper? How to Check if it Stuck?

The brake caliper is a crucial part of the brake system of a vehicle. It also contains brake pads and pistons. If your brake calipers are stuck, the brake pad will never completely disengage from the brake rotor surface. This means you will be driving with the brakes applied all the time.


A stuck brake caliper can cause more problems to the transmission (it may fail) as well. There are many more problems that can be caused due to a stuck caliper. Let us find out how to check whether your calipers are stuck or not.

Symptoms of Stuck Brake Calipers

  • If your vehicle pulls to one side while braking or driving, then your calipers may be stuck.
  • Another major sign of stuck calipers is a lot of heat emanating from the tires after a drive.
  • Another cause of stuck calipers is if the brake pads shims are caught or if debris builds up in between the spaces.
  • If the brake hose is worn out, the brake fluid will not reach the brakes, which may cause the calipers may get stuck.

One way of avoiding brake calipers from getting stuck is to schedule regular maintenance services or get them replaced when they are stuck. Or, you could just refinish your brake calipers once in a while to avoid rusting and debris from being stuck.


Refinishing a brake caliper not only gives it an aesthetic look, but it also prevents the calipers from tarnishing and reduces the chances of rusting. Now that you have realized the need for repainting let’s move onto our guide. 

Necessary Items for Refinishing

Before you set off to refinish your brake calipers, ensure that you have the required items for the job. Here’s a list of all the items you will need for the task.


  • Gloves, safety glasses, and a mask
  • Jack - to lift the car
  • Tools to remove the wheels and brake calipers (only if necessary)
  • Wire brush
  • Wet and dry sandpaper
  • Masking and duct tape
  • Brake cleaner or Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Caliper paint
  • Clearcoat

Steps to Refinish a Brake Caliper

Before we begin painting the calipers, you need to carefully jack the car up and remove the wheels. If you do not have experience in jacking up a car, take the help of a professional or a friend.


You also need to prepare your calipers for a smooth and even paint finish. For this refinish job,  we are going to work on a Porsche Cayenne.


Step 1 - Prepare the Calipers for Refinish

  • The initial step to a perfect refinish is to remove all the brake dust and lose debris as much as possible. A wire brush is recommended for this purpose. While brushing, ensure that you do not damage the sensors or wiring.
  • If you do possess the right tools, you can remove the calipers or the brake pads altogether. This allows the paint to reach the areas that are difficult to get to when they are on.
  • If your calipers have embossed writing on them, you need to remove it. Otherwise, the paint finish will have raised letters on it. Using a blade, you can scrap the lettering off the caliper.
  • Once the letters are scrapped off, you need to sand the caliper’s entire surface as smooth as possible.  
  • Next, use a solvent brake cleaner or isopropyl alcohol to clean the caliper completely.
  • Once your caliper is ready to be painted, mask the other surfaces where you do not want to get paint on. You can use plastic sheets and masking tape to mask off different areas.

Step 2 - Paint the Caliper

  • Shake the paint can thoroughly for a few minutes, then start applying a dust coat of paint 8 to 10 inches away from the caliper. Use long and even strokes to cover the caliper with paint, and leave it be for 10 minutes. Do not worry if the paint is quite see-through after one coat.
  • Now start applying the second layer of paint, and you will notice that the paint is no longer see-through.
  • Leave it to dry for 10 minutes and then start applying the third coat. This is called a wet coat, and you will get a smooth finish. But beware, there are chances of getting runs in the layer as well.
  • Leave this to dry for about 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Now you can clear coat your paint to remove any dust or debris that has settled on it. You can apply two or three layers of clear coat. Paint runs are uns normal when you go for one last coat.
  • After 10 minutes of the last clear coat, remove the masking.

Step 3 - Apply the Decal onto the Caliper

  • If your brake calipers do not have lettering,  skip this step. After 24 hours of drying the paint, you can paste brake caliper stickers onto the calipers. You can obtain these stickers online or at the local car accessory shops. Carefully place the decal in the center of each side of the brake caliper and peel off the tape. 



Great! Job well done. Your brake calipers now look a million times better than they did before. Do not forget to fix the tires back on; else, you aren’t going anywhere without them! 

Do’s and Don'ts of Refinishing a Caliper


  • Do paint the calipers if they are performance calipers.
  • Do remove the caliper or at least mask the surface that does not have to be painted.
  • Do use the right caliper paint. These calipers undergo too much heat, and using the right quality paint is crucial.


  • Don’t paint the caliper with a bright color if it is a single-piston mounted.
  • Don’t paint the entire caliper as paint on some surfaces can cause the caliper to seize.
  • Don’t paint the areas of the disc that are in contact with the caliper. It may contaminate the pad and mess with the friction.

Where to get Brake Caliper Stickers?

A brake caliper does not look authentic without its company sticker. What better place to purchase such stickers than on SnapDecal? 


SnapDecal contains various decals for all types of calipers. They also provide these stickers in multiple colors (up to 12 different colors). 


They have a reputation for providing die-cut high temperature resistant vinyl. They also come with clear transfer tape so all you need to do is peel and apply it into your calipers. 


If you are not satisfied with the decals, they provide a 30-day returns policy, no questions asked. They provide excellent support even if your decals are damaged while shipping. 

Benefits of Brake Caliper Stickers 

There are various benefits of using brake caliper stickers for your newly repainted calipers. Let's have a look at these benefits - 

  • Remember how to repaint, you had to remove the previous lettering? The only way to get those lettering back is to add decals to your calipers. After the paint has been let to dry for 24hrs, you can add the new decals onto the calipers. 
  • Adding decals to the calipers gives it the look of a premium finish. 

Final Thoughts

Our vehicles undergo a lot of stress and miles almost every day. It is only apt to get it polished and repainted to make it look brand new. Most brake calipers can be seen through the tires, and if they are rusty and old, they may not fit the aesthetic look you want.


This is why refinishing brake calipers are necessary. Just with some layers of paint, your calipers will look brand new. You can paint it any color of your choice or match it with the color of your vehicle.


The paint also protects the caliper from rusting and tarnishing quickly. But ensure to purchase the right paint for the job as these calipers undergo a lot of heat.


To purchase the best brake caliper sticker you can visit SnapDecal.