The Best Way to Paint Brake Rotors and Restore Brake Rotors
Brake rotors have a big impact on how your wheels look. Beautiful wheels with rusted rotors peeking through just don’t scream wow. Yet, rust-free rotors with painted rotor hats can make all the difference. Plus, they make the car or truck look maintained. If your rotor hats are rusty, here is how to clean, prep, prime and paint brake rotors to achieve a quality and long-lasting result. It’s easy to do, they’ll look great, and it’s much cheaper than buying new rotors.
Before you paint the brake rotor hub it needs to be properly prepared so the brake rotor paint will strongly bond. To start, rust needs to be removed from the rotor hat. This can be done by sanding, sandblasting or by chemical means. While sanding or chemical removal can be done with the rotor still on the vehicle, sandblasting will require removal of both the rotor and caliper. So, keep in mind that performing the job with the rotor on the car is easier. Here we’re going to describe painting the brake rotors while still on the car.
- Start by eliminating loose or flaking rust from the rotor hat with sandpaper or a wire wheel. Be careful not to gouge or scratch the friction surface of the rotor. While you want to remove as much rust as possible, there’s no need to completely bring it down to perfectly rust-free metal. RustBlast, described in step three, will handle this.
- Next comes cleaning the rotor hat. Brake cleaner is traditionally used to clean off brake dust and debris and works well but is a harsh and toxic option. So, we’re using KBS Klean, a strong cleaner that is water based, non-toxic and biodegradable. Once mixed with water, use it along with a scrub brush to remove all dirt, grime, and brake dust. It works as well as brake cleaner and is safer to use.
- Step three before you paint the brake rotor hat is to address any remaining rust and prepare the surface for best adhesion of the brake rotor paint. In this case we are using RustBlast, which dissolves rust and it micro etches the metal surface with a texture which allows paint to best grab onto the metal. RustBlast is sprayed on and then scrubbed with a brush or scrub pad. RustBlast also leaves a zinc phosphate coating on the metal that prevents flash rusting.
- It’s important that you don’t get paint on the friction surface of the brake rotor as it can interfere with contact between the rotor and the brake pads. This can affect braking as well as damage the pads. So, before painting cover the friction surface of the rotor with masking tape. Also cover the brake caliper and wheel studs while you’re at it.
When deciding what paint to use on brake rotors, it’s important to choose a product that can handle high temperatures. We are using KBS Xtreme Temperature Coating Primer followed by KBS Xtreme Temperature Coating. Both are in aerosol version. Keep in mind it’s not necessary that every bit of rust is removed before applying the primer as it is very capable of bonding to and permanently sealing any remaining rust.
- KBS Xtreme Temperature Coating Primer is silicone based and can handle temperatures up to 1200° Fahrenheit. It acts like galvanization and locks onto the metal to provide a surface for best bonding of Xtreme Temperature Coating. Apply two thin covering coats, allowing 15 minutes drying time between coats.
- Next comes the Xtreme Temperature Coating, a high temperature paint intended for brake rotors which handles temperatures up to 1500° F. After waiting 30 minutes for the primer to dry, apply at least 2 thin covering coats and allow at least 15 minutes in between coats. After your done painting, wait 30 minutes for it to dry and remove the masking tape.
- The final step is heat curing for maximum paint hardness and adhesion. After letting the primer and paint cure in ambient temperature for 12 hours drive the vehicle a few times to heat up the rotors and allow them to come back down to room temperature naturally.
Keep in mind that painting the rotor hats isn’t just for rotors that have been used. Painting new rotors to prevent rust can avoid the rust problem to begin with.
KBS Coatings offers all the products used in our project to clean, prep, prime and paint the brake rotor hats in the KBS Brake Rotor Restoration Kit. Xtreme Temperature Coating is available in many colors for ultimate customization.
Brake rotors have a big impact on the appearance of wheels. Taking time to paint your brake rotors can help make them look their best.