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Caliper Covers and Other Mods to Enhance Your Challenger’s Brakes

By:  Connor MC  / Sep 16 2019
Caliper Covers and Other Mods to Enhance Your Challenger’s Brakes)

There is a lot to love about the Dodge Challenger. It may only come with two doors, but it can seat four or five adults in relative comfort and still haul. There is no shortage of aftermarket performance mods for the Dodge Challenger. However, one of the most neglected parts of any vehicle are the brake calipers. When you think about it, what was once an obscure part of your muscle car are now exposed for everyone to see, all thanks to larger stock wheels.

Shop Challenger Caliper Covers

Caliper covers are a simple, but effective mod for sprucing up your Challenger's curbside appeal as well as adding extra functionality. Certain caliper cover designs also allow for greater cooling of the brake rotors, so you can keep full pedal pressure longer.

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What are Caliper Covers?

Caliper covers are engineered to, well, cover the visible side of the existing brake calipers. Caliper covers are usually manufactured from lightweight and durable aerospace aluminum. The best caliper covers are easy to install and will require no drilling or complicated modifications. Caliper covers are custom designed to fit a specific make and model. If you are looking for a set of caliper covers for your Dodge Challenger, make sure to specify the make, model, and engine size to ensure a perfect fit. 

Caliper covers also come in a wide range of colors and designs. The great thing about this simple mod is you can personalize the style of your vehicle without shelling out a ton of money. You can match the color of the caliper covers with the stock paint in your ride to achieve a clean and uniform look. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, why not choose a different color to achieve a sporty and contrasting look? The only limit is your imagination!

What are the Benefits of Caliper Covers?

1. Clean and aggressive styling. This especially holds true for older Challengers. Dirty brake calipers are an eyesore to say the least. It is hard to keep them spotless and clean without removing the front and rear wheels. Installing a nice set of caliper covers is the easiest solution. The covers will conceal any existing dirt or damage on the calipers and keep them looking new even after many miles of aggressive driving. 

2. Reduces brake dust contamination on the wheels. Caliper covers are not just about aesthetics. The cover can deflect huge amounts of brake dust from contaminating or gumming up the surface of the wheels. The covers will maintain the pristine look of your alloys and make them easier to clean!

3. Reduces heat in the brake calipers. Installing a nice set of caliper covers will have the effect of providing an additional heat sink for the caliper. They can draw out excess heat from the brakes under intense driving conditions. In fact, simply bolting on a set of caliper covers has been observed to reduce caliper temperatures, on average, by 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

What about Caliper Paint?

Painting the calipers with high-temp spray paint is a more economical option. However, intensive preparation is required before spraying the calipers with paint. In most cases, the caliper will need to be removed and cleaned entirely prior to painting. If not, the paint will not adhere or cure properly, which will result in an ugly set of calipers. Having to remove the caliper also means disconnecting the brake line, which in turn means bleeding the entire brake system once done. When it comes to ease of installation and aesthetic finish, it hard to beat caliper covers.

How Can Upgraded Brake Hoses Increase Performance?

Without sounding like a bespectacled engineer, upgrading the brake hoses will help maintain the firmness of the brake pedal in adverse driving conditions, such as when racing on the track or burning rubber at the dragstrip. The flexible rubber hoses in a stock braking system are ideal for normal city driving. But if you’re looking to improve the pedal feel and braking modulation in your Challenger, the first step is to get rid of the OEM brake hoses and install a better set of stainless steel braided brake lines. 

Those stock rubber hoses have a tendency to swell up when exposed to intense pressure and higher temperatures. When this happens, you will feel a dramatic decrease in pedal firmness and pedal travel, which will also affect the reaction time of the brakes. This means you need to apply more pressure on the pedal to achieve the desired stopping power. 

Simply put, replacing the stock brake lines with stainless steel braided hoses will improve and maintain the line pressure inside the braking system, which inevitably results in stronger and more consistent braking in all types of driving situations.

Can Multi-Piston Calipers Improve the Braking Performance in My Challenger?

It depends on the design of the braking system. Multi-piston brake calipers have a tendency to improve the clamping force of the brakes. The clamping force is the force exerted on the disc as you step on the brake pedal. Brake calipers with two, four, or even six pistons are usually paired with a larger-diameter brake disc. The purpose of multi-piston calipers is to provide an even pressure against the surface area of the disc rotor, which results in more friction and better stopping power. 

However, having more pistons in the calipers does not necessarily mean having better and stronger brakes. Remember that increasing brake torque is not simply a matter of upgrading to a multi-piston caliper set-up. Improving the amount of brake torque will also have to do with increasing the radius of the disc, the line pressure, and the caliper piston area. 

As a reference, all 2008-2018 Challenger SE, SXT and SXT Plus models come equipped with a single-piston (60 mm) caliper up front and a 42 mm single-piston caliper in the rear. Rotor sizes are 12.6" both front and rear, however the rear rotors are thinner as they measure at 0.4" thick versus 1.1" at the front. When stepping up to an R/T or adding the Performance Brake Package, rotor size is increased to 13.6"x1.26" and the caliper is upgraded to a dual-piston (42 mm) design.

Challengers equipped with the Brembo High Performance Brake Package feature 14.2x1.26" rotors in the front clamped by a Brembo 4-piston (42 mm each) caliper. The back features a 13.8x1.1" rotor and four-piston (32 mm each) caliper. SRT Brembo High Performance Package includes a whopping 15.4x1.34" rotor and a six-piston (36 mm each) caliper up front and the same rear rotor and caliper as the regular Brembo High Performance Package.

What is a Line Lock Kit? How Does it Work?

A brake line lock kit is an electronic device that will lock the front brakes independently from the rear. This makes it easier to perform awesome burnouts with a simple flick of a switch. 

Line lock kits consist of an electric solenoid, basic wiring, warning light, and a separate switch. With this kit installed, applying the brakes and pressing on the switch will only hold the braking force on the front wheels. The brakes in the rear wheels are disengaged, which will enable you to smoke the tires and perform massive burnouts. When you’re done, simply press the switch in the line lock kit to release the brakes in the front wheels.

When Should I Upgrade the Brakes in My Dodge Challenger?

You can install caliper covers on both stock and modified Challengers. Make sure to specify the make, model, and engine size of your vehicle when ordering a set of caliper covers. Also remember that most caliper covers are designed to fit the stock calipers. If your Challenger comes with upgraded or larger multi-piston calipers, it is better to contact the manufacturer in order to determine the right size. 

For stock applications, there is no need to upgrade the calipers and the brake lines. But if you have a stock Challenger for track days, installing braided brake lines will significantly improve the brake pedal feel in your muscle car. Line lock kits will also make it easier to warm up the tires before blasting the quarter-mile. If your Challenger is tuned and modified to produce more horsepower, upgrading to a better set of racing brakes is the best option. This will include vented or cross-drilled brakes with stickier brake pads and multi-piston calipers. Remember, you can never have enough braking power in your muscle car. This will especially hold true if your Challenger is tuned for maximum performance. 

Fitment includes: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, SRT8, RT, SE, SXT, RallyeRedline, ScatPack, Hellcat, GT, TA, Demon