Cars and trucks need a lot of work and attention. When your car gets an oil change, a car wash or a new set of tires, it’s easy to forget about other things, like cleaning your brakes. In order to get rid of dirt and grime from your brake pads and liners, you can use chlorinated or non-chlorinated brake cleaner. It’s important to know the main differences between the two so that you don’t have problems with maintenance or safety.
There are toxic chemicals in both chlorinated and non-chlorinated brake cleaner, but chlorinated solvents have the most of them. Chlorinated brake cleaners are made up of Perchloroethylene (Perc), Methylene Chloride (MeCl), and Trichloroethylene (TCE), which are all VOCs (VOCs). To come up with an alternative, non-chlorinated brake cleaners were put on the market at a slightly higher price with less environmentally harmful chemicals like isopropyl alcohol and other petroleum hydrocarbons that aren’t as harmful as mineral spirits or toluene.
For an auto shop that cares about the safety of its employees, the difference in VOC emissions isn’t a small thing. Because VOCs make gaseous emissions that can harm people and animals, the EPA says they pollute the environment. Side effects that may happen when you take this medicine include headaches and nausea. They also can cause kidney and liver damage and some types of cancers in people. To make things even worse, California now doesn’t allow chlorinated brake cleaners to be used.
Even though the non-chlorinated brake cleaner has less toxic properties, the chemicals in it are very flammable. This means they can’t be used for things like vapor degreasing or more complicated cleaning. They take a little longer to dry than chlorinated solvents, which is one of their main drawbacks, along with a little less solvency. But don’t fall for it. There are two types of cleaning products: water-detergent and chlorinated. Water-detergent is better for cleaning dirt and grime, but chlorinated cleaners are better for cleaning paint and other materials.
If you want to keep your brakes in good shape, keep these things in mind: Check your local rules about what solvents are legal and illegal in your area, and think about the possible consequences and benefits.