If you’re replacing or servicing your disc brakes, you need lubricating grease. No ifs, ands, or buts, you need to lubricate the metal-on-metal parts that are meant to slide, otherwise, your calipers won’t move properly and you’ll be replacing your brakes (possibly rotors and calipers too) long before they should have needed it.
The best brake caliper greases will let you keep everything sliding that should, and they also can help stop brake bad squeal—that annoying noise you might be hearing each time you brake. Caliper grease is crucial to have on-hand anytime you’re getting ready to perform any service to your mechanical braking system.
For more information on the best brake caliper greases, refer to our table of contents.
Table of contents
1. Editor's Pick: Permatex Ceramic Extreme Brake Parts Lubricant
Ceramic Extreme Brake Parts Lubricant from Permatex is designed to work over a massively wide range of temperatures, wider than your brakes will likely ever see. But that’s the point, because you don’t want to be on the edge of lubricant failure on hot or cold days. Permatex says that it will keep your bolts and sliders lubricated from as cold as -50 degrees to as hot as 3,000-degrees Fahrenheit, hotter than any automotive braking system should ever get.
It’s a 100-percent synthetic formula that contains ceramic solids to help make it the company’s longest-lasting brake lubricant, let it resist that wider temperature range, and to silence brake noise. It resists corrosion of your braking components and will not wash out over time. The large bottle comes with a convenient applicator brush, making it easier for you to cleanly apply the lubricant to each part of your braking system that needs it, while the product is purple so you can easily see where you’ve applied it.
2. CRC Brake and Caliper Synthetic Grease
Synthetic brake and caliper grease, it says exactly what it is and does right on the can. This product from CRC works to help keep disc and drum braking systems from binding, sticking, and stops noise-causing vibrations thanks to the synthetic formula that won’t wash out. It contains molybdenum, PFTE, and graphite, and can handle temperatures as low as -40 and as high as 500-degrees Fahrenheit.
CRC says it won’t melt, wash out, or freeze in your braking system, and it’s also labeled as safe for rubber parts, which means the sensitive boots and seals in your braking system. Apply to self-adjusters, parking brake mechanisms, o-rings, and every other component for your braking system that sees metal on metal or sliding metal contact to help ensure long braking system life. Available in an 8 ounce or a smaller 2.5-ounce size for those who do lots of brake jobs or just a few.
3. Permatex Ultra Disc Brake Caliper Lube
Permatex Ultra is an environmentally conscientious brake caliper lubricant. It’s green, but it’s also actually green (in color) so you can see where you’ve already applied it. The brake lube is designed to make sure that your caliper pins and hardware remain able to move freely, even under extreme conditions. It’s also designed to keep the back of your brake pads greased and silent, resistant to melting, and it won’t freeze. The formula contains no silicone and it’s not made from petroleum, both of which contribute to its green characteristics.
While larger sizes are offered, this brake caliper lubricant is offered in an extra small 0.5-ounce size. Not everyone is running a full-size shop and changing brake pads every day. For DIY users, a normal-sized tube or bottle could easily outlast the buyer, though the contents of the bottle will not. With this smaller, convenient size, you don’t have extra sitting around collecting dust, you have just enough for that one brake job you do every few years.
4. AGS SIL-Glyde Brake Lubricant
SIL-Glyde brake lubricant is safe for your entire braking system (save for the pad faces, never lubricate those no matter what you use). It’s compatible with the metal surfaces to prevent wear, corrosion, and brake squeal, and it’s also safe for the EPDM and nitrile rubber surfaces as well as the plastics that make up the important seals and boots in your brake caliper system.
This brake lubricant is moisture resistant as well as melt resistant up to 425 degrees, keeping most braking systems lubricated throughout their operating range. It’s also designed to help dampen vibrations in all parts of your braking system, not to simply stop the back of the pad from moving like some others. One note of caution, though, SIL-Glyde also sells a lubricant in a near-identical package that’s not for brake use. So make sure to grab the right one to put in your cart and off of your workbench.
5. Super Lube Silicone Lubricating Brake Grease
Synco Super Lube Brake Grease contains Syncolon, a proprietary compound that’s designed to avoid hardening, drying out, or melting when it’s applied to your braking system’s key parts. It’s made from silicone and works to keep your brake pads from vibrating as well as lubricating the other parts of your braking system that need to keep sliding.
Unusually for an auto parts lubricant, Super Lube is also NSF approved as a food-safe lubricant that can be used in cases of “incidental food contact.” It’s also listed on the manufacturer’s website as being Kosher with certificates for both. Neither of those likely matters to your brakes, but if you’re working with cars, you know that sometimes these things get in places you don’t want them, like in your mouth, and in that case, knowing it’s NSF cleared is quite reassuring. It probably still won’t taste great, but that’s not the point.
How to Use Brake Caliper Grease
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The first step is to remove the old grease from anywhere on your brake parts you find it. From the inner surfaces of the caliper, from deep inside the sliding pins that let your brakes move, and from the tab ears of your brake pads and where they contact the body of the caliper. Adding new grease to old just gums up the fresh grease, and can cause any sticking or siezing to become even worse, damaging your brakes.
Once everything is well cleaned, using brake parts cleaner, apply a thin layer to any sliding parts. That includes the same brake caliper pins, the sliders on the body of the caliper, and any other moving parts. Apply the grease to the metal backing surfaces of the brake pads to help stop them from vibrating and making noise when you’re stopping. It’s important to grease where the caliper piston touches the pad as well as where the outer, fixed side of the caliper touches the pads, but it is absolutely crucial not to get any on the pad surface, the rotor, or anything that would touch either of those two surfaces. Lubricating the part that does the actual stopping is a very bad thing and could result in a crash.
How to Choose Caliper Lubricant
How you use your brakes is important when it comes to picking caliper lubricant. Live in the mountains, tow frequently, or are planning on taking your vehicle to the track? Look for a high-temperature grease, especially a ceramic-based one that can take the heat without melting. But be aware that those may need to be serviced and reapplied more frequently.
Absent-minded? Get an easily visible colored grease so you can tell exactly where you put it. If you’re assembling a caliper from scratch or assembling a new master cylinder, then you need to make sure you’re getting a grease just for those purposes, as the inside seals can be more delicate. Silicone lubricants are good for not getting washed away, lasting longer in service, and having no conflicts with rubbers and plastics, but their maximum heat abilities are lower and they can hold contaminating dirt.
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