How Brake Cleaner Works

How Brake Cleaner Works

The road can be dirty and grimy. Add high friction, a little bit of brake dust, some old brake fluid from a brake job that went wrong, and you can end up with a lot of gunk built up right where you don’t want it. In this case, spray-on brake cleaners are a great way to make sure that nothing is blocking your brakes and that they work as well as they should.

This is not the case with other fixes to your car. Cleaning the brake system with a spray-on cleaner is cheap and doesn’t require much preparation time or the removal of any major parts. A few minutes and a few tools will do the job. Most of the tools and equipment you need can be found in any garage or storage shed. It’s likely that if you know how to change a tire and how to use an aerosol spray can, you already know how to use brake cleaner.

You should check the brakes next time you take your tire off to see if there is any extra dirt on them. If you want to clean the brakes and make them work better, you can use a brake cleaner to do that. It also helps you see parts of the braking system clearly before you do repairs.

Brake cleaners are good at getting rid of oil, dirt, and other things from your car’s braking system because they use a mix of chemicals to break them down and wash them away. If you want to use most aerosol brake cleaners, you’ll need to take some safety precautions. We’ll show you how on the next few pages.


  • Brake Cleaning Tools and Materials
  • Brake Cleaning Preparation
  • How to Use Brake Cleaner

Brake Cleaning Tools and Materials

Most brake cleaners come in a spray can that doesn’t require you to take apart the brake parts. This makes it a very easy and quick project to do. When you use spray-on brake cleaner, you don’t need many tools to get the job done. Make sure you have your car’s tire iron or an impact wrench on hand to get the job done. Then, remember that you’ll also need to have jack stands to hold the car in place.

When you use the brake cleaner, dirt and other things will come off of the brakes, so you’ll need a pan to catch the cleaner that comes off. If you live in a certain place, there may be rules about where and how you can get rid of the cleaner when you’re done. What to do with used brake cleaner may depend on where you live. You can contact your state’s environmental protection agency, a city disposal office, or a local auto shop to find out how to get rid of it.

There are a lot of bad chemicals in brake cleaners that you don’t want on your skin, near your eyes, or on anything else that you care about. Acetone, methylene chloride, and tetrachloroethylene are some of them. These chemicals can irritate your skin, eyes, cause dizziness, headaches, and more. Long-term exposure could cause lung problems, make you unconscious, make you vomit, and more. To help protect yourself, it’s a good idea to wear gloves and eye protection when you do something dangerous. You should also only use the brake cleaner when the air is clear. Make sure you read the warning label on any spray-on cleaner before you use it.

Brake Cleaning Preparation

You need to make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area and that you’re wearing the right protective gear when you clean your brakes. You also need to make sure that your car is safe, too.

You don’t want to use those chemicals on your car because they can damage the paint, the finish, or any plastics on it. If the brake cleaner could get on parts of the car, you might want to cover them up before you use it. If you’re going to use the cleaner outside, make sure that the wind won’t make the cleaner spread to other parts of the car.

Besides covering up parts of the car, another thing to do is make sure that the brakes and all the parts around them are completely cool before using brake cleaner. Brake cleaner should never be used on hot metal on a car because the chemicals in the cleaner could start a fire. This can make toxic chemicals that are even more harmful to the air than they would have been if they had just come out of the can. This can happen when the can is burned.

Other than these preparations, there aren’t many steps that need to be done before applying the cleaner. Many brake cleaners don’t need the brake parts to be disassembled before applying them. Brake lines, shoes, drums and other parts of the braking system can be cleaned with the cleaner while they’re still in good shape; this means it can be used on them while they’re still in good shape.

How to Use Brake Cleaner

There’s a good chance you’ll be able to use brake cleaner on your car if you’ve ever used a can of spray paint. In general, the process of applying it is the same. After you remove the tire, hold the can about a foot to two feet away from the brakes. Then, start at the top of the brake parts and work your way down. This will wash the dust, dirt, and other things away from the brake part.

It will start to wash away the grease, oil, and other things that aren’t supposed to be on the brakes as soon as the cleaner gets into all of them. A second application may be needed to make sure that everything has been removed. Spraying is done when you’re done. You can let it air dry or wipe it with a clean cloth to get rid of the spray. Keep in mind that we said on the last page that you should collect and dispose of the used brake cleaner in a proper way.

Some brake cleaners may say that they can cut down on the noise caused by dirt and other things on the brake. Some people may be uncomfortable with using brake cleaner because it can remove loose friction material. The thought is that the friction material is there to stop the car when the brakes are used.

Despite what some people say, applying brake cleaner can be very good at getting rid of dirt and grease that could make it hard for you to brake. Easy to apply and clean up, it can be used to fix a dirty brake system in less time than it takes to get ready and clean up.

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