Posted By Vinyl Frog On May 29, 2023

Caliper Covers vs Caliper Paint - Which Option Is Better For You

Caliper Covers vs Caliper Paint

What should you choose: Caliper Covers or Caliper Paint? Vinyl Frog has weighed the pros and cons for you to make the selection easier. Read on.

When it comes to the aesthetic upgrade of the vehicle and adding that extra zing to it, colored brake calipers have become a threshold for high performance in the automotive aftermarket sphere. But how to infuse energy to the overall look through color? Should one opt for caliper covers or caliper paint for it?

Many car enthusiasts go for colored calipers to add a cosmetic upgrade to their vehicle and simply, to look cool. They either choose caliper covers or paint for this. Both of these have their advantages and downsides. To assist you in making the right choice that is ideal for your vehicle, let's examine the merits and demerits of each.

What Are Caliper Covers?

These are colored covers made of either fiberglass, hard plastic, aluminum or stainless steel. They are used as aftermarket modifications for brake calipers. They often come in a variety of shades and designs. You can even customize your brake caliper covers available on the market according to your preference. This means you can choose to have them in different colors or engraved.

Caliper Covers vs Caliper Paint

It is important to get the caliper covers that are of the right size for your car. If they will not fit your specific car model and interfere with the wheels, they might cause safety issues. Also, do not compromise on quality. High grade aluminum caliper covers are considered to be the best. They might cost more than the plastic ones but are certainly worth every cent.

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What Is Caliper Paint?

A more conventional method of personalization is to paint brake calipers. Paint gives a fresh look to your calipers. Premium quality paint provides a tough coating on calipers that resists chipping and cracking from road debris and heat stress. The application of paint entails removing the calipers, cleaning them thoroughly, and painting or coating the surfaces with specialized high-temperature paint. Surface preparation holds a lot of importance without which the paint won’t last long.

Comparison Between Caliper Covers And Caliper Paint

Both caliper covers and paint have their plus points and negative aspects. Let’s analyze each to see which one is better to apply.

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Enhanced Aesthetics 

Both caliper covers and paint are primarily used to improve the visual appeal of your vehicle's wheels. Caliper covers come in various colors, finishes, and designs, allowing you to customize the look of your wheels. They help add a sporty or luxurious touch to your vehicle's overall appearance.

Caliper Covers vs Caliper Paint

Caliper covers are also often designed to expose the brand name or logo, providing an additional element of style to your wheels. They can help draw attention to your vehicle's braking system and create a more eye-catching visual impact. The only hitch in covers is that you may at times not find the color of your choice and might have to get the covers custom made to resolve the issue. This of course will be more expensive.  

Where caliper paint is concerned, there are essentially no restrictions on customization. You can match your personal style or enhance the overall appearance of your vehicle by selecting any color, or finish, or even by applying detailed graphics or decals. Hence you can fully customize the look of your calipers with paint.


Well-executed, excellent caliper paint job can give your vehicle a more professional and clean appearance. It can make the brake calipers stand out and add a subtle touch of style to your wheels.

The Verdict: In this department, caliper paint seems to be the more viable option monetarily only if you do not get the color of your choice in caliper covers, which is highly unlikely. The range of colors has expanded quite considerably over the years in covers. 

Easy Application

Nothing beats the benefit of hassle free application. Caliper covers can be fitted without the use of specialized tools or technical knowledge and are generally simple to install. The majority of covers use a clip-on or bolt-on mechanism. All you have to do is remove the wheel and use some common tools to fit them. This is one of the reasons why people love them.

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Application of caliper paint, however, is a time consuming process, especially if you opt for a high-quality professional finish. A great paint job involves the ability and knowledge of painting procedures. To ensure a finished product that looks professional, it is essential to understand the right methods for surface preparation, painting, and curing. The final product may seem uneven and be more prone to cracking or peeling, or fall short of your expectations if the process is not carried out properly.

Caliper Covers vs Caliper Paint

Since you will be applying paint to the calipers, proper surface preparation, multiple coats, and drying time all add up to a potentially lengthy endeavor. It is also better to remove calipers and then prepare them for paint for a long lasting job. You must also be careful not to get any paint on the brake discs. This may impact their ability to bring your car to a stop, which could be dangerous.

If you think you can apply paint keeping the calipers on, bear in mind that it is hard to clean them when they still have the rest of the parts around them. And paint only adheres to a thoroughly clean surface. This is the most important aspect of a paint job and if it is not taken care of, the whole process will fall apart in a year or so. Imagine going through all the hassle without ensuring longevity.

The Verdict: Caliper covers win hands down as far as application is concerned. There is no doubt about it. You can apply them yourself as well without hiring the services of an automotive expert if you have some knowledge. This is not possible if you have opted for caliper paint.  

Reversible Option

If you do not like the look of the caliper covers that you have installed or want to change their color, you can easily remove them. Unlike paint, caliper covers can be taken off or replaced without any hassle. This flexibility allows you to experiment with different looks and customize your vehicle according to your preferences.

Caliper paint is more of a permanent solution and stays on for years to come if applied professionally. If you want to change it or remove it altogether, it will not be an easy job. It can be challenging to undo or modify the final paint result. If you are dissatisfied with the existing shade or design, you will need to remove the existing paint, potentially leading to additional effort and cost. Not a great idea. 

Caliper Covers vs Caliper Paint

The Verdict: Caliper covers steal the show here as well. You can remove and replace them yourself as well without any professional help as compared to caliper paint.

Protection Against Harmful Elements

Caliper covers provide a shield of protection against dirt, grime, and corrosive elements, helping to prolong their lifespan and maintain their appearance. Brake dust is a common issue that accumulates on calipers, causing them to look dirty or worn out. Some caliper covers are also designed to help minimize brake dust buildup on your wheels.

Caliper Covers vs Caliper Paint

Caliper covers prevent dust particles from settling on the calipers and being dispersed onto the rims. They redirect the dust that comes off of your brake pads towards the rear of the vehicle. This leads to less dust flying onto the outside surface of your wheels. This helps keep your wheels pristine for a longer period, reducing the frequency of cleaning them.

Caliper paint can help conceal brake dust and make your calipers look cleaner but they do not disperse the dust or help keep the wheels clean. It's important to note that while caliper paint may temporarily hide the dust, regular cleaning and maintenance of your braking system and wheels is still necessary.

The Verdict: In this category as well, caliper covers are clear winners. Who would not want a cleaner surface that does not require much tending to? Paint is just a coating on the top that will need to be cleaned to maintain its freshness. Otherwise, with all the dust, it will just look dull and dirty.

Heat Resistance

Premium quality caliper covers dissipate heat and improve the overall performance of the brakes. Since many are made from aluminum, they offer an excellent way to reduce the overall heat buildup.

Caliper Covers vs Caliper Paint

When brakes are applied, calipers produce a substantial amount of heat. Some people have the notion that caliper covers can hinder the dissipation of heat, which could reduce the effectiveness of brakes. This can happen if you have purchased low quality covers. Credible caliper cover producers use heat-resistant materials and add ventilation systems.

Premium quality caliper paints are made to be heat resistant as well. They do not chip, crack or fade even under extreme conditions.

The Verdict: Both caliper covers and paint win points here. But since caliper covers also reduce heat to improve brake performance, they get a bonus. Where heat resistance is concerned, quality is key. If you have applied supreme covers or paint to your calipers, you will not have to worry about heat resistance.  

Cost-Effective Option

Compared to other brake customization options like paint or replacing calipers, covers are generally more affordable. Though initially, they might seem to be high priced, but when you factor in the time, tools and expertise required to do a quality paint job on the calipers, you realize that iit is more expensive in the long run.

Initially, caliper paint costs less than covers but it proves to be expensive in the long run. It's not just the paint you have to consider, the cost of application will also be added to it since you have to remove the calipers for a perfect job. This is not easy and a layperson with minimal knowledge cannot do so. You’ll have to work with the hydraulic lines and the brake fluid system which is quite tedious and has to be done perfectly by an expert.

Caliper Covers vs Caliper Paint

Initially, caliper paint costs less than covers but it proves to be expensive in the long run. It's not just the paint you have to consider, the cost of application will also be added to it since you have to remove the calipers for a perfect job. This is not easy and a layperson with minimal knowledge cannot do so. You’ll have to work with the hydraulic lines and the brake fluid system which is quite tedious and has to be done perfectly by an expert.

Hence for painting calipers, you will have to hire an automotive expert who would execute it in an impeccable manner without damaging any other parts or the brake system. This will add on to the initial cost of paint making the whole job more expensive than caliper covers. 

The Verdict: Caliper covers earn more points here as well since they eventually offer a cost-effective way to change the look of your vehicle's calipers without the need for removing any parts, extensive modifications or replacements.

The Durability Factor

Durability is an important element to account for if you are using high quality products both in caliper covers and paint. A supreme caliper cover made with aerospace grade aluminum can last for more than 7 years if taken care of. It may seem to be expensive at first glance but you will realize that it is more cost effective with the passage of time.

High-quality caliper paint is designed to withstand harsh conditions such as heat, road debris, and chemicals. It is formulated to be resistant to brake dust, chipping, and fading, ensuring a long-lasting and durable finish. It will last for 3 to 4 years after which, you might want to refresh or change it going through the whole process again.

The Verdict: Premium quality aluminum caliper covers are more durable and long lasting than paint. This quality trumps the expense concerns one might have initially, favoring caliper covers over caliper paint.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Final Verdict

With all factors taken into account, caliper covers are the clear winners. They are more durable, visually aesthetic, easy to install and have a variety to choose from. They are also a reversible option. If you have the initial budget, go for premium quality caliper covers without thinking twice.

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