To get the most out of your Jeep’s brake calipers, painting them a new color is a must.November 23, 2015
This article applies to the Jeep Wrangler JK (2007-present).
Brake calipers are an important part of your Wrangler’s brake system. They allow the hydraulic force from your car’s brake pedal to transfer through the brake lines and to the brake pads, allowing you and your car to stop. Aside from upgrading the functional use of the calipers and other brake system components, changing the color of the calipers to accent the rest of your car is a popular modification.
Whether you opt for the flashy neon red or a matte black color, painting the brake calipers is a simple and easy task to do yourself. Regardless of which color your choose, we recommend that you use a high heat or high temperature spray paint because the brake calipers get extremely hot with all those stop-and-go driving motions. Once you’ve got everything you need, follow the steps below to start painting your Jeep Wrangler’s calipers and have them looking fresh out of the box.
Figure 1. Jeep Wrangler JK with painted caliper.
- High heat spray paint
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Lint-free towels
- Metal wire brush
- 230 and 600 grit sandpaper
- Brake cleaner
- Plastic bag
- Masking tape
- Jack and jack stands
- Tire iron
- Bungee cord or cardboard box
Step 1 – Remove the brake calipers
- Place a floor jack under the jacking point of your Jeep’s frame rail on the side closest to the caliper you are painting.
- Use a tire iron to break the lug nuts loose, but do not remove them.
- Lift the car until the wheel is off the ground, and then support it using a jack stand.
- Remove all of the lug nuts, and then remove the wheel.
- Use a socket and ratchet to remove the caliper mounting bolts. The bolts are located on the back side of the caliper.
Step 2 – Prep the brake calipers
- Pull the caliper off and away from the rotor. Make sure to support the caliper using a bungee cord or box so as not to damage the brake line.
- To prevent paint from getting on the wheel hub assembly, use a plastic bag to cover it.
Figure 4. Cover hub assembly and support the brake caliper.
- Use a wire brush to remove rust and dirt from all the metal surfaces of the caliper. Take care not to damage the brake lines, the rubber around the guide pins, or the caliper pistons.
- Spray the caliper with brake cleaner, and then let it dry.
- Using a coarse 230 grit sand paper, remove additional rust or dirt from the nooks and crannies of the caliper.
- Then, smoothen the caliper’s surface further using a finer 600 grit sand paper.
- Spray the caliper again with brake cleaner, and then let it dry.
- Lastly, use rubbing alcohol and a lint-free towel to finish cleaning the caliper. Make sure to let the alcohol evaporate before painting.
Figure 9. Clean caliper with rubbing alcohol.
To clean the harder-to-reach surfaces of the calipers, remove the brake pads and clips.
Step 3 – Paint the brake calipers
- Use masking tape to cover the rubber parts of the caliper and other parts you don’t want painted.
- Lightly spray your first coat of paint, holding the can one foot away from the caliper. Spray the caliper in smooth, even strokes.
- Flip the caliper over, and spray the rear side in the same way. Take care not to paint the caliper pistons.
- Spray an additional two to three coats of paint, allowing two minutes between each coat for the paint to dry.
Step 4 – Re-install the brake calipers and wheels
- Once the caliper has fully dried, re-install it onto the rotor.
- Then re-mount the wheel and lower the car. Make sure you re-tighten the lug nuts once the wheel is on the ground.
- Repeat Steps 1 through 4 to paint the remaining three calipers.
- After all the calipers have been painted and dried, you’ll want to bake the paint onto the calipers. To do so, drive your car for 15 minutes, and then let the paint cool down for at least 30 minutes before driving again.
Figure 12. Re-install the brake caliper.