How much does it cost to paint calipers? Not as much as you probably think. Painting or powder coating your calipers not only protects them from corrosion and brake dust but it’s a great way to give your vehicle a sharp look. Whether you want to tackle the project yourself (for about $30) or outsource it to a professional (for anywhere from $200 to $400), we’ve provided you with what you need to know to get the job done.
In This Article
- DIY Caliper Painting Cost Details
- Professional Caliper Painting Cost Details
- DIY Caliper Powder Coating Cost Details
- Professional Caliper Powder Coating Cost Details
DIY Caliper Painting Cost Details
Painting calipers yourself can be much cheaper than a professional paint job. If you already have the tools to partially remove the calipers, you can buy caliper cleaning supplies and paint for around $30.
Painting calipers is relatively simple compared to most other work you could do on your own car. To paint the calipers, you have to remove them from the wheel (but leave them attached to the brake lines), cover everything to avoid paint overspray, and then clean the calipers before painting them. Removing the calipers from the wheel can typically be done in under half an hour.
To clean the calipers, you’ll need sandpaper and/or a metal brush and a cleaning solution, like rubbing alcohol, to remove rust and any brake residue. These supplies are cheap. If you don’t already have a metal wire brush, you can buy one for under $10. Sandpaper is also less than $10. You can also purchase a caliper cleaner, which costs between $10-$15. Instead of special caliper cleaner, you can use brake cleaner which is more readily available and is about half the price.
When choosing paint, be sure to buy high heat paint, as calipers are exposed to high temperatures during the braking process. High heat spray paint is also affordable — you can buy a can for around $10. VHT is a popular brand for caliper painting because it withstands especially high temperatures — up to 900 degrees. You might also consider buying a basic face mask and protective eyewear to protect yourself from paint fumes while applying the spray paint.
You can also buy caliper painting kits if you want to save yourself the trouble of buying supplies separately. While these are a little more expensive than buying supplies separately — between $25-$50 — you’ll be sure that all of your painting supplies are suited for caliper painting. Note that cleaning supplies are often not included in these kits.
- Duplicolor Caliper Paint Kit: Includes one pint of caliper paint, caliper aerosol cleaner, stir stick, paint brush, masking tape, and a step-by-step instruction booklet
For a visual explanation of how to paint calipers yourself, take a look at the following video:
Professional Caliper Painting Cost Details
Professional caliper painting is the smart choice if you don’t have the space, tools, or know-how for a DIY paint job.
We called several auto body shops to get a price range for painting calipers and found that prices range from $225 to $440 for painting four calipers. Prices include any necessary prep work. Higher-priced paints and the addition of decals can add to the overall cost.
Pep Boys, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Advance Auto Parts, and similar popular auto parts stores do not offer this service; therefore, you may be best served by locating a small chain or local auto body shop near you.
DIY Caliper Powder Coating Cost Details
Powder coating can also be done at home; however, you will need to completely remove your calipers from the rotor and brake lines. Proceed with caution because working with brake lines can be a messy job. Brake fluid is very toxic.
To complete this DIY project, you will need powder coating paint (around $20), a powder coating spray gun (starting around $100), high heat masking tape (under $10), a wire brush (under $10), and other prepping supplies similar to the ones you would use for painting (under $10). You will also need the use of an oven for curing. Overall, you should expect to spend at least $150 for DIY powder coating if you don’t already own a powder coating spray gun.
For instructions on how to remove and replace brake calipers, see the following video.
For a demonstration of the steps needed to powder coat your brake calipers, see the following video.
Professional Caliper Powder Coating Cost Details
Powder coating provides a durable, professional finish that resists chipping and scratching better than paint. However, powder coating calipers is more labor intensive than painting because it requires complete removal of the calipers from both the wheel and brake lines, while painting can be easily done with the brake lines still attached.
Many companies do not remove the calipers; therefore, you will need to make other arrangements to remove them before you take them in for powder coating. This can significantly add to the final cost, potentially adding $120 or more. Based on the phone calls we made to auto body shops, we found that powder coating itself costs between $120-$400 for a car with four calipers, depending on the number of pistons and the color you choose (matching the color to your car costs more). Before powder coating the calipers, they must be thoroughly cleaned. This cleaning is typically included in the price to powder coat, but some companies may offer a discount if you clean them thoroughly yourself.
If you wish to simply buy new calipers to powder coat, you can get them for $40-$400+ each, depending on the car. A small car (which is lighter and usually has smaller brakes) will be on the lower-end of this range. A heavy truck or SUV will be far more expensive. Labor for installing them starts at around $120.
The total cost for powder coating four calipers, including the cost of removal and reattachment, is about $240-$600.
The total cost for purchasing four new calipers and having them powder coated and installed is about $400-$920.
People choose to paint their calipers to protect them from rust and corrosion and give their car wheels more visual appeal. Whatever your reason, you can opt for a professional or DIY paint or powder coating job. You can expect the total cost of professional caliper painting to be around $225-$400, while the total cost for powder coating will be around $240-$900, which includes the complete removal and reattachment of the calipers. If you’re up for the challenge, expect a DIY caliper paint to cost about $30 for supplies, while a DIY powder coating job will cost you about $150 for supplies, or about $50 if you already own a spray gun.
While you have the wheels off, it’s best to inspect your brake pads and get your rotors either replaced or resurfaced if you’ve noticed any sort of vibration while stopping. Replacing rotors you can do at home fairly easily. Turning rotors requires specialized equipment so you’ll have to take them somewhere. To find out who turns rotors (AutoZone etc) read our article about where to get rotors turned. These places will also tell you if you need to replace instead of just resurface the rotor. Brakes wear hardest on the front of the car since the momentum when stopping is greatest. So if you’re on a budget, put your money there first.
Suggested next reads: Will Walmart let you return paint? and, if you noticed your wheels could you some attention, here’s how much it costs to get curb rash and other wheel blemishes repaired.