Wheels and tires can make or break the look of your car. In fact, they can change the personality of your car at very little effort and expense!
My nephew (Scott) and his wife (Jessica) recently bought a 2005 Chrysler Crossfire from Jessica’s Mom. The car has under 60,000 miles and is in really good shape. The problem? Jessica felt it needed some updating and was thinking new wheels would do the trick. Instead of her spending over $1,000 for new wheels, I suggested we paint them.
The picture above shows the car in its raw state. Overall, this car has really nice styling, but those silver wheels were too understated. Jessica wanted something more aggressive, so she chose to make them satin black (good choice!).
If you read my previous article Paint Your Own Wheels, you know the technique used to make this change. You can learn more about the process used by reading that article.
These wheels are pretty big, with wide open spokes. As such, the brake calipers are pretty noticeable. A lot of high end sports cars have painted calipers, so we decided to go that route. Since most of those cars have red calipers, I recommended something more bold–YELLOW. Jessica quickly agreed (did I say she is also one of my smartest family members?).
Brake Caliper Refresh
The bottom half of this picture shows the original state of the brake calipers. They were a fairly bland looking cast iron component. I have only painted brake calipers once in the past, and in that case I used a spray paint that required that I remove the caliper from the car in order to paint it. That’s a lot of work, especially when I was trying to also paint four wheels in a weekend. I discovered a caliper paint that can be brushed on, which meant a lot less labor for me.
POR15 makes highly durable automotive coatings, so I was pleased to be able to find that they also had this brushable paint in their portfolio. I found this one-half pint (8 oz.) can on Amazon.
Application was pretty easy, once I got the calipers free of grease/grime using a can of brake cleaner and a wire brush. I followed that with a good cleaning of Dawn soap and water to take care of any left over grime.
I found that using a small hobby brush worked best for applying the paint. I was able to get into all of the crevices without having to mask anything off. After two coats of paint, they look great!
The Final Product
With a little patience and a weekend worth of time, this car’s personality was altered. The end result far outweighed the effort and expense put into the change. For under $40, the wheel and brake caliper repaint gave Jessica’s Crossfire a new personality. Scott sent me the picture below after picking up the car last night. He claims Jessica was smiling all the way home. Looks like mission was accomplished–the Crossfire got a new personality!