MGP Caliper Covers, More Than Just Good Looks


Let’s face it, brakes just might be the least glamorous of all the performance mods out there. Often an afterthought or neglected until they make noise or cause a problem, brakes just don’t get as much attention as many of the parts you can put on your Mustang.

This bad rep could be honestly earned too, after all brakes can be ugly, they’re often messy, and to some they are complicated. Brakes don’t offer the seat-of-the-pants performance increases of a crate engine, supercharger, turbo or nitrous, and upgrading your brake system doesn’t usually give that wow factor when you pop the hood at the local car show. But now thanks to MGP caliper covers, you can easily and economically upgrade the look of your stock stoppers.

We got our hands on some MGP caliper covers for our project ’11 Mustang GT

MGP's Solution for ugly calipers offers more than just good looks.

There is however good reason to consider upgrades to your pony’s brakes perhaps even before you begin increasing your horsepower exponentially. Think about this for a minute, your brakes do a lot of work, aside from your connecting rods and valvetrain they might be the hardest working parts on your car. The job of your brakes is to convert all that forward momentum that we horsepower fanatics so dearly love into heat energy thus stopping our forward progress. Being able to stop on time or in a hurry can be important in all manner of situations.

A Solution For Any Budget

Whether your Mustang is a daily driver or a weekend track or dragstrip warrior chances are very good that it could benefit greatly from a brake upgrade. The problem with most upgrades is that they are costly and time consuming to install. Many upgrades might require you to take all weekend and you’ll probably need your buddy’s help to bleed them.

We got our hands on some MGP Caliper Covers for our project ’11 Mustang GT

MGP has developed a brake upgrade that is ingenious in its execution, simple in its installation and effective in its braking system benefits. Did we mention it’s affordable?  If you’re good with hand tools this upgrade will probably take you less than an hour, if you have access to a lift, probably even less time.  How many other upgrades can say that?

We are of course talking about the MGP caliper covers. Conceived by the company’s founder, these covers not only make your brakes look good when appearing through the gaps in those massive high dollar rims you just bought, they also have some added benefits. We’ll get to all that in a minute though.

Easily Installed

Depending on which type of clip is provided in your kit you simply either install the MGP clip or the caliper cover first. Once both the cover and clips are in place install the provided locknuts and/or studs and tighten to 25 inch pounds. The caliper cover should fit snugly and securely over the brake caliper and caliper bracket. It may be necessary on some cars to bend or slightly alter the wire retainers for the brake pads to allow for proper fitment.

The patented design of the MGP installation clips makes installing the covers a simple affair.

You should also check clearance between the newly installed caliper clip and the brake rotor. This can be measured easily with a feeler gauge but if one is not handy the desirable clearance should be enough to slide a business card between the bottom of the clip and the top of the brake rotor where it passes under the clip (.013 inches).

More Than Just Good Looks

Torquing The Brackets

Tighten the locking nut to 25 inch pounds or about a quarter turn past finger tight. The retaining brackets are the only nuts in the entire kit.

 

We will admit that we‘ve been a skeptic of caliper covers in the past, in fact the author initially brushed them off when first introduced as falling into that same category as those fake disc brake rotors that some people randomly stick behind their wheels to hide their uglier brakes.

MGP however doesn’t build those cheap molded plastic type parts that distort and discolor, fall off and don’t fit well. What MGP does build are high quality, precision fitted parts for your car. There is also evidence that the caliper covers provide more than just an upgrade to the looks of your braking system.

MGP did their own testing on the caliper covers using a Dodge Charger, the infrared heat detector does not lie, there was anywhere from a 20-50 degree difference in brake temperatures.

Heat is the bane of all brake systems as any racer or heavy traffic commuter will tell you. Larger diameter rotors help provide greater surface area to grip and better brake cooling as do varying brake pad compositions. Various types of alloys and composites have been used in the construction of rotors and in calipers to further help dissipate heat as well. Heat dissipation is where the MGP caliper covers can help.

We wanted to assure customers that the MGP caliper cover does not increase heat, it actually reduces it.

MGP builds its caliper covers from 6061-T6 aluminum. The increased surface area in direct contact with your brake calipers provides a very large heat sink for your brakes. ”It is common engineering knowledge that increasing surface area allows heat to dissipate thus reducing the temperature build up,” said Mike Barland of MGP “Electronic components use aluminum heat sinks as common practice to reduce heat build up. We wanted to assure customers that the MGP caliper cover does not increase heat, it actually reduces it.”

So as MGP claims, the caliper covers act just like a heat sink sitting on top of your computer processor, helping it to run cooler and more efficiently. This is an added benefit of the MGP covers is that they give the heat your brakes just built up a way to dissipate out of the system more rapidly. Lower overall temperatures could in turn give your Mustang less brake fade resulting in better/shorter stopping distances, increased brake pad life, increased brake rotor life, and reduced rotor warpage.

Save Time, Be Safe, Look Good

In our discussions with Mike Barland from MGP we also learned a little about the R&D process on new systems. To date MGP has developed nearly 600 applications for their caliper covers for many ’95 and up vehicles. When a new model or brake system comes out, MGP uses pilot cars either on dealer lots or at their own facility to develop a precision product for their customers. “Each MGP caliper cover is designed and developed using a test pilot vehicle.  Plate size, bridge configuration, clips design, wheel clearance, hub clearance is all taken into consideration.” There’s no guessing or just building off of manufacturer’s specs, these covers are built and tested based on the actual cars that consumers are buying.

Left you can see the factory stock caliper, it's pretty plain when new but years of daily driving and usage will take it's toll. On the right you can see the same caliper now with the MGP Caliper Cover installed.

So how do you want to spend your time this weekend? Cruising around in your Mustang, hitting the track or dragstrip? Or would you rather be in the garage cleaning off the brake dust you built up all week or, waiting for paint to dry and your buddy to show up so you can bleed your brake system? “The covers direct the air and dust toward back side of wheel, this keeps the wheel much cleaner, said Barland.

There is nothing wrong with upgrading your brakes and just as you may upgrade your wheels and tires to accommodate your pony’s new found horsepower you should upgrade your brake system components as well. The MGP caliper covers are a good first step in any brake upgrade. Most people don’t turn their noses up at a highly polished supercharger gleaming from under the hood, especially not if it performs as good as it looks. Think about that they next time you’re checking out a set of cool new wheels, how does what’s behind them look and how well will what you see perform?

Article Sources

About the author

Don Creason

Don Creason is an automotive journalist with passions that lie from everything classic, all the way to modern muscle. Experienced tech writer, and all around car aficionado, Don's love for both cars and writing makes him the perfect addition to the Power Automedia team of experts.
Read My Articles

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