Gleaming rims are always eye-catching! But, what about those rusty brake calipers right behind the rims? Unsightly brake calipers can ruin the aesthetic of your wheels! You can make your brake calipers stand out for the right reasons with a little bit of paint.
Is it worth it to get your brake calipers painted professionally? Is this a project you can take on yourself? What is the cost difference? What about a powder coat? Keep reading to find the answer to all your brake caliper painting questions!
Table of Contents
- Why Should I Paint My Brake Calipers?
- How Much Does It Cost to Get Brake Calipers Professionally Painted?
- How Much Does It Cost to Paint Brake Calipers Yourself?
- What About Powder Coat?
- Final Thoughts
Why Should I Paint My Brake Calipers?
Painted brake calipers not only look great, but they protect the calipers from wear and tear. Brake calipers are subject to high temperatures and road debris. Damage can cause rust. Paint is a way to upgrade your calipers and the overall look of your vehicle.
How Much Does It Cost to Get Brake Calipers Professionally Painted?
There are different price ranges for a professional paint job for your paint calipers. The price will vary based on several factors.
Prices will vary according to your geographical location. Check your local auto body shop for an accurate quote.
Condition of the Calipers
New cars come with unpainted calipers. Those calipers can take a beating! Brake calipers that are in relatively good condition will take less time and be less expensive to paint.
Decals, metallic paint, airbrush art, or two-tone paint will cost more than a basic paint job.
Type of Vehicle
High-end, classic, or luxury vehicles may come with a higher price tag for caliper painting! It may be that the calipers are more difficult to remove or that you need to take the vehicle to your dealer to be worked on.
Some vehicles have larger brake calipers. These will usually cost more to paint. It is important to get a quote for your particular vehicle before you make a decision.
Regular Paint or Powder Coat
Powder coat is a dry finish process that has become very popular! It will cost more to have your brake calipers powder coated than to have them painted.
The actual painting part of the process is not time-consuming! However, removing the calipers takes some time! Once the calipers are removed, they are prepped for paint, then painted, then replaced on the car.
All of this can take up to 4-5 hours. Most auto body shops like Maaco have an hourly rate for labor. Don’t be surprised to see labor charges making up the majority of your bill.
Estimated Cost for Professionally Painted Brake Calipers
The average cost to paint brake calipers that are in relatively good condition is $250-$450. If you add custom details, or your calipers require a lot of repairs, be prepared to pay more.
Powder coating is much more expensive but will add extra durability to your calipers. Expect to pay between $175-$200 per caliper or $700-$800 total for powder-coated brake calipers.
Cost Per Square Foot for Professionally Painted Brake Calipers
Brake calipers are not very large. If we estimate that they are approximately 2 square feet each, or 8 square feet total. So, assuming 8 square feet of paintable area, it will cost about $31-$56 a square foot to have your brake calipers professionally painted.
If you get your brake calipers powder-coated, your cost per square foot will be $87-$100.
How Much Does It Cost to Paint Brake Calipers Yourself?
There is a way to avoid the steep price tag on professionally painted brake calipers! Join the tribe of weekend warriors and do it yourself!
- Tools – You probably already have these tools in your garage! You will need a tire iron, a jack, and a ratchet wrench.
- Brake Cleaner – You will need brake cleaner to thoroughly clean the calipers before applying paint. It costs about $10 a can.
- Wire brush – If you don’t already own a set of wire brushes, they will be helpful for removing tough grime or rust. This set costs $10.
- Use 150-200 grit sandpaper to smooth out the calipers before painting.
- High-temperature brake caliper spray paint – Look for a paint that is specifically intended for brake calipers. Your brakes reach high temperatures, so regular paint will not work. Most brake caliper paint can withstand temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Duplicolor and Rust-Oleum are reputable brands. Two cans of spray paint should do the trick! Brake caliper spray paint costs around $14 per can, or $28 total for the whole project.
- Masking tape – You will need to use masking tape or film, and newspaper to mask off the areas you want to keep free of paint.
- Protective gear – Wear a mask, long sleeves, gloves, and eye protection while cleaning, sanding, and painting.
- Power drill with rust brush – A power drill with a wire brush set may be helpful to speed up the cleaning process.
- High-temperature brake caliper paint – If spray paint is not your preference, this caliper paint can be applied with a brush or a paint spray gun.
- Paint spray gun – Use a basic paint sprayer or use a paint sprayer that attaches to an air compressor.
- Brake caliper paint kit – Purchase a complete paint caliper paint kit to take the guesswork out of the job!
Total Cost for DIY Painted Brake Calipers
All the basic equipment for a DIY brake caliper paint job will cost around $50. If you want to add any of the optional materials or add decals, that price will increase.
Expect to spend some time on your brake caliper paint job! Removing and prepping the calipers will take a lot more time than the actual painting process. Reserve 4-8 hours in your schedule for the project. It may take longer if your brake calipers are really rusty, or difficult to remove.
Cost Per Square Foot for DIY Painted Brake Calipers
Again, if we assume about 8 square feet of painted area for 4 brake calipers, your cost per square foot will be around $6.25.
What About Powder Coat?
Powder coat is a blend of polymer resins, pigments, curatives, and other ingredients. It is melted, mixed, cooled, and ground into a fine powder. This powder is applied with Electrostatic Spray Distribution (ESD) to your brake calipers. After the powder has been applied, the calipers have to be cured in a curing oven.
The result? Your calipers are now covered in a highly protective finish. The powder coat will withstand heat, moisture, impact, and UVB rays from the sun. It also looks great!
It is not possible for most vehicle owners to do a powder coat themselves. It requires an ESD spray gun and a curing oven. If you want to powder coat your brake calipers, it is best to leave that process to the professionals!
Make sure your wheels stand out for all the right reasons with freshly painted brake calipers! It is fairly simple to paint them yourself with a few tools and some heat-tolerant spray paint. If you want to upgrade the process with a powder coat, you may want to hire a professional. Either way, your calipers will look great and last longer with paint!