How to Clean Brakes without Taking Tires Off?

How to Clean Brakes without Taking Tires Off

There’s no doubt that the brakes on your automotive vehicle are one the most important parts of a safe and smooth driving experience. So if you’re going to give a component of your car constant care, the brake system should be on top of your list.

Unfortunately, brakes are quite prone to getting dirty because they’re frequently exposed to grease, grime, brake fluid, brake dust, and road debris. Not to mention, traditional cleaning methods of brakes require the removal of tires or wheels, which can be a major hassle for most drivers.

Different from cleaning tires and rims, brake cleaning can be a bit tricky. If you’re wondering how to clean brakes without taking tires off, keep reading to find out.

The Short Answer

You can rid your dirty brakes of grease and grime without taking tires off using brake cleaner. As the name suggests, the main purpose of a brake cleaner is to remove contaminants from your brakes.

However, the most impressive perk that comes with using a brake cleaner is the fact that it completely evaporates after it does the job. This eliminates the need for getting handsy with the brakes, which is only possible by taking off the tires.

What is Brake Cleaner?

how to check brake pads without removing tire

Also known as a parts cleaner, brake cleaner is a colorless cleaning solvent that evaporates without leaving behind any dirt remnants or solution residue on the treated surface. It was developed primarily to clean brake disks, engine parts, getting rust off tire rims and various metal elements in automobiles that often accumulate grease.

Back in the day, formulas of brake cleaners used to contain chlorine compounds referred to as organochlorines and organochlorine. But these compounds have ozone-depleting effects, so their use was banned several years back. 

Now, brake cleaners are non-chlorinated, featuring aliphatic or aromatic compounds with polar solvents such as acetone, ethanol, and isopropanol.

Brake cleaners are designed to be used on metallic surfaces only. It’s not recommended to apply such products on plastic surfaces because they cause irreparable damage to such materials. You can’t use them for removal plasti dip from tires or cleaning paint stains from tires. This is why brake cleaners are widely sold in metal packages – spray cans to be more exact.

Prolonged exposure to the chemicals in brake cleaners can also harm the skin. As such, there are certain precautions you need to take before using brake cleaner, which we’ll talk about later on.

Uses of Brake Cleaner

Main Uses

Brake cleaners are mainly used to degrease components of cars that are made of metal. However, you shouldn’t apply them on painted or any chemical-sensitive spots, for example, it’s not recommended to use them for cleaning white letter tires.

The purpose of degreasing is to prepare metallic parts for succeeding procedures such as painting, electroplating, or repairing. Brake cleaners remove tar, fats, oils, resins, dust, and they can be also used to remove tire marks from a concrete driveway.

Additional Uses

  • Stain remover.
  • Floor cleaner.
  • Ink and paint remover.
  • Gun cleaner.

How to Use Brake Cleaner

Below are the steps you should follow to clean brakes without taking tires off:

  • Step 1 — Move the car to a place with good aeration. Remember, ventilation is crucial for your safety. area.
  • Step 2 — Take the cap off of the spray can. There should be a plastic tube included with the product, so go ahead and insert it into the nozzle.
  • Step 3 — Spray a generous amount on the brake discs and around them. Be sure to cover the drums, calipers, and pads as well. While you’re at it, you may want to spray a bit of the cleaner on the wheels to “freshen” them up. Repeat until all dirt and grease have been removed.
  • Step 4 — Use a lint-free cloth to wipe away any excess cleaner on the brakes and wheels.
  • Step 5 — Let the brake and wheels air dry in the air for a few minutes and you’re good to go.

Precautions for Using Brake Cleaner

Be sure to stick to the following precautions when using brake cleaner to maintain safety:

  • Wear protective clothing to ensure your safety such as a mask and glasses.
  • If the brake gets in your eyes, wash carefully with plenty of water for several minutes. If you’ve had your contact lens on at the time of exposure, take them off and continue rinsing you feel significantly less irritation. Seek a doctor if the irritation doesn’t stop even with water rinsing.
  • Always use the brake cleaner in an open and well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling any of the toxic substances. If inhaled, you have to get fresh air. If there’s difficulty breathing after inhalation, seek a doctor immediately and administer oxygen on the way if possible.
  • Keep the can out of children’s reach. 
  • Store the brake cleaner in a cool place with adequate ventilation. Due to their high flammability, you must keep the product away from fire and explosive materials. This includes direct sunlight. 
  • After using brake cleaners, it’s necessary to wash your hands and any other parts of your body that might have been exposed to the substance. On no occasion should brake cleaners be ingested.
  • Brake cleaners are designed to be used on metallic surfaces only. It’s not recommended to apply such products on plastic surfaces because they cause irreparable damage to such materials.

Wrap Up

Brakes are the most important safety component of any vehicle. If you’re wondering how to clean brakes without taking tires off, the answer is simple: brake cleaner spray.

Applying an aerosol brake cleaner can remove any dirt from the critical parts, leaving behind no residue. Be sure to adhere to the precautions we discussed when using it.