5 reasons not to use repainted brake calipers

9/27/2016

Painting brake calipers without complying with Brembo's strict industrial procedures may produce a dangerous, unreliable and even aesthetically inferior product.

A beautiful colour soothes the eyes and pleases the mind. Even when it comes to brake calipers. Brembo designed and produced its first coloured calipers in the early '80s. They were a global success, so much so that red Brembo calipers have become a trademark, and are considered synonymous with exclusivity and performance by the entire automotive sports world.

These days Brembo produces calipers (both as original equipment and for the aftermarket) in over 40 different colours. Many, but not all colours, because some pigments are less resistant to light and to the elements than others. While, for other pigments, the colour doesn't remain stable as temperatures increase. So, if Brembo doesn't produce brake calipers of a particular colour, there's a reason.


 
Painting Caliper


 

​​​This caliper was not painted by Brembo.


And yet the world is full of brake calipers with truly bizarre colours and decorations, some even sporting the Brembo brand. Obviously the paint job on these calipers is not Brembo's doing. At times enthusiasts, who simply wish to use one of the colours offered by Brembo, choose to paint the calipers themselves or charge a third party with the task.

The initial enthusiasm that goes with the money saved by doing it yourself, or purchasing a repainted caliper at a significant discount, may however soon give way to disappointment. The reason is that calipers that have been repainted by someone other than the original manufacturer present several problems.

Here are 5 reasons why it's best to avoid calipers that have been repainted.


 

1) The caliper's past

Not everyone who repaints a caliper starts with a new one. Many people use second-hand calipers (from wrecks, vehicles with tens of thousands of kilometres on them, or, in some cases, even stolen vehicles). It's not a very wise choice; if you don't know the brake's past you can't be certain it will work properly.


 
Painting Caliper


 

​​​This caliper was not painted by Brembo.

2) The effectiveness and suitability of a caliper

Even buying a "new" caliper as a spare part, perhaps taken from a different vehicle, and then painting it with your favourite colour and mounting it on your vehicle is anything but a good idea. A car's brake calipers are designed to work with that specific model. Under no circumstances can they be used on a vehicle different from the one they were designed for. The danger here is that, though the caliper is new and repainted, it is not appropriate for the vehicle it is being mounted on. With regards to that, we recommend reading this article https://blog.racetechnologies.com/.../can-i-use-subaru.../ , which explains the reasons why mounting calipers designed for the braking system of one car on a different car can prove to be a hazard.

Brembo designs brakes to guarantee maximum performance given the weight, power and mechanical characteristics of each vehicle. An inappropriate caliper may not brake well under certain conditions, may be noisy in others and may not last as long as expected.


 

3) Keeping its colour

Whether you purchase a repainted caliper or go ahead and repaint it yourself, you can't be certain that the colour won't change after a few thousand kilometres. Colour may fade, or even worse peel off, due to the elements or simply due to the high temperature of the braking system following intense use.


 

The Brembo paint cycle is a long and complex process, which Brembo has perfected over the years. It includes, among other steps, applying an epoxy primer, polyurethane paint and transparent acrylic paint.

A dedicated system is used. A tunnel is used for 3 phases of pre-treatment spraying: the cycle includes painting booths and a baking oven. Colour is then applied to the calipers: this is done by hand and workers are specifically trained for the task. The calipers are then sent to another special oven. The next step includes branding the brakes by means of screen printing and tampography.
The painting process is completed by adding a transparent layer of paint.

Caliper green  

 

Brembo complies with rigid procedures to ensure that the colour won't change over time. Several environmental tests are used for each colour being produced and for each paint category, to guarantee that the paint will resist various liquids (e.g.: water, brake fluid and oil) as well as environmental conditions (humidity, temperature, thermal shock). Tests also verify long term durability in all conditions (including the paint's resistance to being hit, by rocks for example) and corrosion resistance.


 
Caliper B-M4 yellow  

4) Safety

With over half a century's worth of experience, Brembo has developed very rigorous manufacturing standards, these include painting standards. Quality control guarantees that the materials used don't have any effect on the brake system's performance. A paint job entrusted to others can be very dangerous, since the high temperatures produced when braking may cause the paint to come away and interfere with the brakes themselves.


 

5) Nothing beats an original

Why repaint a brake caliper or buy a caliper that has been repainted when you could buy a Brembo original and have it all: aesthetics, reliability and unbeatable performance? The BM-8 calipers presented at SEMA Las Vegas this November are available in 8 different colours, which means they can match the bodywork on any vehicle. What's more, they are backed by the world leader when it comes to designing, developing and producing brakes.


 

Conclusion

Painting brake calipers is a delicate process that is not without counter-indications. Based on our experience, we have identified 5 reasons why we suggest this not be done. Of course, everyone is free to form their own opinion and do what they feel is best on their vehicle.

We do not deny that there may be professionals who are able to execute this type of operation properly, but unfortunately we frequently receive reports of calipers that malfunction after undergoing a painting intervention that was carried out incorrectly. Obviously, it is not the paint itself that damages the calipers, but rather the preliminary operations conducted on the hydraulic part. Often the piston dismounting and mounting procedures are not carried out properly or, in some cases, not carried out at all. In this situation, if the caliper undergoes an "oven baked" painting process, the heat may damage the piston seals and jeopardise the performance of the caliper.

The variables affecting the process used and the professionality of those who carry out this intervention are numerous and difficult to anticipate. For this reason, Brembo simply discourages this type of operation on such a vital and important active safety component like the braking system.


 

Brembo S.p.A. | P.IVA 00222620163

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