Like many car owners, you probably cherish your vehicle and strive to maintain it in impeccable condition. Nevertheless, rust may unexpectedly appear and cause harm to your ride. Brake calipers are especially prone to rust formation, which can not only damage the appearance of your car but also compromise its braking ability and safety. How can you eliminate this irksome issue?
This article will guide you through removing rust from brake calipers with easy-to-use methods and equipment. Let’s start!
What Causes Brake Caliper Rust?
Let’s first familiarize ourselves with the reason behind rust formation on brake calipers before delving into its removal technique. Rust is a consequence of chemical interaction between iron and oxygen in the presence of moisture or water.
Brake calipers, being made of metal that comprises iron, are susceptible to rusting due to exposure to air-borne oxygen and water from various sources such as precipitation and cleaning methods.
It is undeniable that rust will develop over time. However, the speed at which rust forms can vary depending on several factors, including:
- The quality and type of metal used for the brake calipers. Resistance to corrosion varies among different metals, with stainless steel and aluminum being notably more resistant. Metals that are less expensive may corrode more rapidly and severely.
- The climate and environment where you drive your car. Living in a region that is humid or has a high salt content, such as near the ocean or in an area where roads are regularly salted during snowy periods, may increase your likelihood of experiencing rust problems compared to those residing in drier and milder regions.
- The frequency and style of braking. Braking forcefully and frequently can result in increased heat and friction on your brake calipers, leading to the erosion of their protective coating and the exposure of metal to corrosion. Conversely, using light braking maneuvers infrequently might not clear out adequate amounts of dust and debris from your brake calipers, potentially allowing moisture to accumulate and causing rust.
- The maintenance and care of your brake system. Failure to regularly inspect and maintain your brakes could result in overlooking rust indications, which could propagate and decline. Additionally, it is recommended that you maintain cleanliness and dryness of your brake calipers.
So why should you care about brake caliper rust? Well, besides making your car look bad, rust can also affect your braking performance and overall safety. Rust can:
- Reduce the effectiveness of your brake pads and rotors by creating uneven surfaces and increasing friction.
- Cause your brake calipers to stick or seize, preventing them from releasing properly and causing drag or overheating.
- Damage other components of your brake system, such as hoses, lines, pistons, or seals, by creating cracks or leaks.
As you can see, brake caliper rust is not something to ignore or take lightly. In the next section, I’ll show you how to remove it safely and easily. Stay tuned!
How To Remove Rust From Brake Calipers: 3 Popular Methods
After understanding the reasons behind brake caliper rust and its removal importance, it’s time to learn the exciting part – how to remove it. There are three commonly used techniques that can eradicate the rust from your brake calipers, which include sanding and wire brushing, chemical rust remover, and shot blasting.
Method 1: Sanding and Wire Brushing
Eliminating rust from brake calipers can be done economically and straightforwardly by using sandpaper, a wire brush, and manual effort. Follow these steps to do it:
- Use a jack and lug wrench to remove the wheel and brake caliper from your car. But make sure to secure your car with jack stands or blocks before starting to work on it.
- Scrub off as much rust as possible from the brake caliper using a wire brush. But keep in mind not to damage the rubber parts or the piston.
- Start with a coarse grit of sandpaper and progress towards a finer one, using different varieties to achieve a smoother metal surface and eliminate all traces of rust.
- Wipe off the dust and debris with a clean cloth or rag.
- Apply anti-rust spray or paint to hinder metal corrosion in the future, and apply grease or lubricant to prevent brake caliper squeaking or sticking.
- Reinstall the wheel and brake caliper on your car, ensuring everything is tightened correctly. Before driving, test your brakes.
- To expedite the process, either a drill or a rotary tool, equipped with a wire brush attachment, can be utilized.
- An alternative to sandpaper is to employ steel wool or aluminum foil in order to eliminate rust from your brake calipers.
- As protection from particles of dust and rust, gloves, goggles, and a mask should be worn during this particular method.
Method 2: Chemical Rust Remover
This is a more effective and faster method of removing rust from your brake calipers. It involves using a special solution that dissolves rust and leaves behind a clean metal surface. There are many brands and types of chemical rust removers available in the market, such as Evapo-Rust, Rust-Oleum, or WD-40. Here’s how to use them:
- Take off the wheel and brake caliper using a jack, lug wrench, and jack stands or blocks to secure your car for safety.
- Submerge the brake caliper in a plastic container or bucket that’s big enough and pour chemical rust remover to cover it – following instructions on the label.
- Let the brake caliper soak for 15 minutes up to 24 hours depending on rust level and solution strength.
- Rinse the brake caliper with water after removal and use a cloth or wire brush to remove any remaining residue or dirt.
- Thoroughly dry the brake caliper using a towel or hair dryer then apply some anti-rust spray or paint to protect against future corrosion – you can also use grease or lubricant to prevent sticking/squeaking.
- Tighten everything properly, check brakes, then reinstall wheel and brake caliper before driving.
- You should wear gloves, goggles, and a mask when using chemical rust removers to protect yourself from fumes and splashes.
- You should dispose of the used solution properly according to local regulations. Do not pour it down the drain.
- You can reuse the solution multiple times until it loses its effectiveness.
Method 3: Shot Blasting
Removing rust from your brake calipers through the use of a machine that shoots out tiny particles of abrasive material at high speeds is the most professional and costly method.
Because it necessitates special knowledge and equipment, you’ll have to engage the services of a skilled professional or seek out a shop that provides this service. The process entails blasting away rust and other impurities from metal surfaces. Here’s how it works:
- Remove the wheel and the brake caliper from your car. You may need to use a jack and a lug wrench to do this. Make sure you secure your car with jack stands or blocks before working on it.
- Take your brake caliper to a shot blasting facility or service provider. They will use a machine that shoots tiny beads of glass, steel, sand, or other materials at high pressure onto your brake caliper, removing rust and other impurities. This method is very effective and precise, but also very loud and messy.
- Once the shot blasting procedure has been completed, your brake caliper will undergo cleaning and drying. Additionally, an anti-rust spray or paint may be applied to safeguard the metal against future deterioration. To avoid sticking or squeaking of the brake caliper, lubricant or grease may be utilized.
- Put back the brake caliper and wheel onto your vehicle, ensuring that all screws are securely fastened. Prior to driving, verify that your brakes are functioning correctly by conducting a test.
Repainting Brake Calipers
If you’re in the mood for some adventure and creativity, consider repainting your brake calipers after cleaning. This can enhance their appearance and provide added protection against rust and corrosion. Additionally, it’s an enjoyable and straightforward DIY task that can be completed at home.
To repaint your brake calipers, you’ll need the following materials and tools:
- Brake caliper paint. Suitable paint for high-temperature and metal surfaces is available in different colors and types. Brake caliper paint can be purchased online or at most auto parts stores in spray cans or bottles. Some popular brands are VHT, G2, or Dupli-Color.
- Primer. This is optional, but recommended for better adhesion and durability of the paint. You can use any primer that is compatible with your brake caliper paint and metal surfaces.
- Masking tape. You’ll need this to cover the areas that you don’t want to paint, such as the rubber parts, the piston, or the brake pads.
- Newspaper or cardboard. You’ll need this to protect your work area from paint spills or overspray.
- Gloves, goggles, and a mask. You’ll need these to protect yourself from paint fumes and splashes.
- A wire brush, sandpaper, or steel wool. You’ll need these to scuff up the surface of your brake calipers before painting them. This will help the paint stick better and last longer.
- A clean cloth or rag. You’ll need this to wipe off any dust or debris from your brake calipers before painting them.
- A hair dryer or a heat gun. You’ll need this to speed up the drying process of the paint.
Once all the materials and tools are gathered, follow these steps to repaint your brake calipers:
- Take off the wheel and brake caliper from your car by using a jack and a lug wrench if necessary. Ensure that you secure your car with jack stands or blocks prior to starting work.
- Use the wire brush, sandpaper, or steel wool to scuff up the surface of your brake calipers. This will create tiny scratches that will help the paint adhere better and last longer. Don’t worry about ruining the appearance of your brake calipers; you’ll cover them with paint anyway.
- Use the masking tape to cover the areas that you don’t want to paint, such as the rubber parts, the piston, or the brake pads. Make sure you press the tape firmly and leave no gaps or wrinkles.
- Cover your work area with newspaper or cardboard to avoid paint spills or overspray. Protect yourself from paint fumes and splashes by wearing gloves, goggles, and a mask.
- Put on your gloves, goggles, and mask to protect yourself from paint fumes and splashes.
- Well shake the paint can and apply a thin coat of paint onto your brake calipers over the primer by spraying. For optimal outcomes, comply with the product label guidelines. Allow the paint to dry for approximately 15 minutes or until dry to touch.
- Continue with the preceding procedure until you attain the intended shade and coverage, which could necessitate two to three applications of paint depending on the grade and nature of the product utilized.
- Use the hair dryer or the heat gun to speed up the drying process of the paint. Be careful not to overheat or burn your brake calipers or yourself. Keep a safe distance and move the dryer or gun around constantly.
- Remove the masking tape and newspaper or cardboard from your brake calipers and your work area. Dispose of them properly according to local regulations.
- Reinstall the brake calipers and the wheel on your car. Make sure you tighten everything properly and test your brakes before driving.
And that’s it! You’ve completed the repainting process and you’ve given your brake calipers a new look and a new life.
- You can choose any color or design for your brake calipers, but make sure it matches or complements your car’s color and style. You can also use stickers, decals, or stencils to create patterns or logos on your brake calipers.
- For the new paint on your brake calipers to fully set and avoid peeling or chipping, refrain from driving your car for a minimum of 24 hours.
Congratulations, you’ve reached the end of this piece that gives insight on how to get rid of rust from your brake calipers. We hope you found it both informative and captivating. Rust is an unpleasant issue that can negatively affect your vehicle’s performance and appearance, especially the braking system.
It is therefore necessary to eliminate it swiftly and prevent its resurgence. As highlighted in this write-up, there are three methods you can use to accomplish this: sanding and wire brushing, chemical rust remover, or shot blasting.
If at any point you suspect that your brake calipers or any other component of the brake system has rust, take action without hesitation. Rust can endanger your safety and cause costly damage to your automobile. You could choose to handle it yourself or seek professional assistance; either way, it’s a decision you won’t regret.