How to Use Brake Cleaner in 2024

Published on:
This post may contain affiliate links, and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking on our links
Read our review guidelines.

If you’ve ever felt like cleaning your brake system is as daunting as untangling a stubborn knot, worry not, as mastering the art of using brake cleaner can make the process a breeze.

Ensuring your brake components are free from grime and residue is crucial for optimal performance and safety on the road. However, knowing the proper techniques and precautions to take can make all the difference.

Let’s unravel the steps to how to use brake cleaner and elevate your brake maintenance game to a whole new level.

Safety Precautions

When using brake cleaner, always ensure you’re in a well-ventilated area to prevent inhaling harmful fumes. Safety precautions are crucial when working with brake cleaner, as the chemicals can irritate your eyes, skin, and respiratory system. As a mechanic, protecting yourself is essential.

Remember to wear gloves and safety goggles to shield your skin and eyes from potential contact with the solvent. Brake cleaner is potent and can effectively dissolve grease, dirt, and other debris from your calipers and brake components. However, it contains acetone, which can be harsh on the skin.

Additionally, the solvent is highly flammable, so keep it away from open flames or sparks. Before using brake cleaner, ensure that the engine and brake parts are cool to prevent any risk of ignition. Properly disposing of used brake cleaner is also vital to protect the environment and comply with local regulations.

Stay safe and follow these precautions diligently when working with brake cleaner.

Proper Ventilation

istockphoto.com

To ensure your safety when using brake cleaner, always work in a well-ventilated area. When using brake cleaner, proper ventilation is crucial to avoid inhaling harmful fumes. Here are some tips to ensure proper ventilation while using brake cleaner:

  • Use a fan or open doors and windows: Enhance ventilation by using a fan or opening doors and windows to help disperse fumes.
  • Avoid enclosed spaces: Never use brake cleaner in enclosed or confined spaces as it can increase the risk of inhaling vapors.
  • Utilize exhaust fans or ventilation systems: If working in a garage or workshop, make sure to use exhaust fans or ventilation systems for adequate air circulation.
  • Continue ventilation: Even after applying brake cleaner, remember that fumes can linger, so continue ventilating the area until the fumes have completely dissipated.

Step #1 – Protect Surfaces

Ensure your safety by protecting surfaces from harmful residue and deposits while using brake cleaner. Before starting your brake job, watch a cleaner instructional video to familiarize yourself with the process. When working on your brake rotor or brake caliper, use CRC Brakleen to effectively clean these parts.

Remember to remove the wheel to access the components properly. Utilize a clean cloth to wipe away any excess cleaner and debris. By safeguarding surfaces with a barrier, such as a protective mat or cloth, you prevent any potential damage from the cleaning solution.

When applying the CRC Brakleen ( best overall brake cleaner ) or any parts cleaner, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to avoid any mishaps. Protecting surfaces not only maintains their integrity but also ensures the efficiency and cleanliness of your brake system. Use CRC Brakleen confidently knowing that it evaporates quickly, leaving behind no harmful residue.

Step #2 – Wear Protective Gear

istockphoto.com

Consider wearing protective gear such as gloves to shield your skin from contact with the brake cleaner. When cleaning brake components, it’s crucial to prioritize your safety. Here are some essential protective gear items you should wear while using brake cleaner:

  • Gloves: Protect your skin from direct exposure to harsh chemicals used to break down grime on brake pads and linings.
  • Safety Goggles: Shield your eyes from any potential splashes or fumes that may arise during the cleaning process.
  • Mask: Prevent inhaling harmful fumes or vapors that could lead to headaches and prolonged exposure might even result in unconsciousness.
  • Appropriate Clothing: Ensure your skin is covered to avoid direct contact with the brake cleaner, protecting yourself from any potential skin irritation.

Step #3 – Shake the Can

Have you shaken the can of Valvoline Brake Cleaner thoroughly before applying it to your brake components?

Before spraying brake cleaner on your brake rotor, brake disc, or brake pad, it’s crucial to shake the can adequately. By shaking the can, you ensure that the chemicals in the brake cleaner are well mixed, activating their cleaning power. This step is essential to disperse the cleaner evenly, preparing it for effective application.

Properly shaking the can before each use maximizes the cleaning performance of the brake cleaner, allowing it to efficiently remove brake dust and deposits. Remember, when using products like Brakleen, shaking the can well isn’t only for better results but also for your safety. It helps prevent any potential issues that may arise from uneven distribution of the cleaner, ensuring a thorough and safe cleaning process for your brake system without compromising your health or the environment.

Step #4 – Applying the Brake Cleaner

After disassembling your brakes, start by shaking the can of Valvoline Brake Cleaner thoroughly, aim the 360-degree spray valve towards the brake components for comprehensive application.

When applying the brake cleaner, follow these steps to effectively clean your brakes:

  • Start at the top of the brake: Begin spraying the cleaner at the top of the brake assembly and work your way down to ensure thorough coverage.
  • Use a minimal amount: Valvoline Brake Cleaner is effective, so you only need to use a minimal amount for efficient cleaning.
  • Ensure easy application: The non-chlorinated formula allows for easy application without the need for excessive scrubbing or rinsing.
  • Get the gunk built up right: Direct the spray towards areas with heavy buildup to effectively remove gunk and debris for a clean brake system.

Step #5 – Cleaning Brake Components

istockphoto.com

To effectively clean your brake components, start by spraying Valvoline Brake Cleaner at the top of the brake assembly and work your way down for thorough coverage. Begin by targeting the brake rotor, ensuring the cleaner reaches all areas to dissolve brake dust and deposits.

Move on to the brake pads, spraying them generously to eliminate any built-up residue. Pay attention to the brake shoes as well, as they can accumulate grime that affects braking performance.

Make sure to clean the brake pedal thoroughly, as it’s a commonly overlooked area where dirt and brake fluid residue can accumulate. During a brake job, it’s crucial to remove all traces of oil and brake fluid for optimal brake function.

Step #6 – Allow to Dry

For optimal results, ensure the brake cleaner has thoroughly dried before proceeding with reassembly of the brake components. After applying brake cleaner, allow it to air dry completely to effectively remove brake dust and deposits without leaving any residue behind. Taking the necessary time for the brake cleaner to dry ensures a super clean brake system free of any dirty and grimy buildup.

This process is crucial, especially if there’s a lot of gunk built up on the brake components, as allowing the brake cleaner to dry completely ensures that the brake fluid from a brake is removed entirely, preventing any potential issues with the brake system’s performance. Doing this will:

  • Allow Brake Cleaner to Air Dry Completely
  • Ensure Effective Removal of Brake Dust and Deposits
  • Achieve a Super Clean Brake System
  • Prevent Potential Issues with Brake System Performance

Step #7 – Reassemble Brakes

istockphoto.com

Make sure all brake components are thoroughly cleaned and free of any residue before proceeding with reassembly. After using the brake cleaner to clean the brake components, it’s crucial to wait for the cleaner to fully evaporate. Residue from the cleaner can cause the brake pads not to function correctly.

When reassembling the brakes, ensure that the brake cleaner used is safe for ABS systems to prevent any damage. For an effective application, utilize a 360-degree spray valve to reach all areas of the brake components easily.

Take the time to inspect each part for cleanliness before putting them back together to avoid any issues with your car’s brakes. Remember, a little bit of brake cleaner can go a long way in maintaining the efficiency and safety of your vehicle’s braking system.

Step #8 – Test Brakes

After ensuring all brake components are thoroughly cleaned and free of any residue, the next step is to test the brakes for optimal performance. To effectively test your brakes, follow these steps:

  • Prepare the Brakes: Ensure the brake cleaner has been applied and all surfaces are free of oil, grease, or any contaminants that could affect performance.
  • Apply Brake Fluid: Check the brake fluid levels and top up if necessary to ensure proper functioning of the brake system.
  • Test the Brakes: Conduct a series of gentle stops in a safe environment to evaluate the responsiveness and effectiveness of the brakes.
  • Remove Excess Cleaner: After testing, ensure all excess cleaner or fluid is removed from the braking components to prevent any interference with brake operation.

Tip: Dispose of your Cans Properly

To properly dispose of the can, ensure it’s completely empty before following local regulations for proper disposal.

Brake cleaner cans, being aerosol spray containers, may contain harmful chemicals that can be detrimental if not disposed of correctly. Avoid puncturing or incinerating the can to prevent any potential risks.

It’s crucial to recycle the can whenever possible to reduce environmental impact. If recycling facilities aren’t available, adhere to local waste disposal guidelines to discard the can safely.

Improper disposal of aerosol cans can harm the environment and pose health risks, especially if the chemicals come into contact with your skin or lungs. Make sure to dispose of the can responsibly to prevent any contamination of the surroundings, such as the garage floor or other surfaces.

Frequently Asked Questions – How to Use Brake Cleaner

How to Use Brake Cleaner effectively?

To use brake cleaner effectively, start by ensuring that the area is well-ventilated. Hold the can of brake cleaner upright and spray it directly onto the brake components you wish to clean. Let it sit for a few moments to dissolve any old oil or grease, then wipe it away with a clean cloth or paper towel. Avoid direct contact with skin and eyes.

Is using Valvoline Brake Cleaner a good option?

Using Valvoline Brake Cleaner is a reliable choice as it is specifically designed to effectively clean brakes without leaving any residue. Follow the instructions on the can for best results.

Can Brake Cleaner be used without removing the brake linings?

Yes, brake cleaner can be used without removing the brake linings. Simply spray the cleaner onto the linings and allow it to evaporate. However, for thorough cleaning, it is recommended to remove the linings if possible.

Are aerosol brake cleaners effective in removing oil and grease?

Aerosol brake cleaners are highly effective in removing tough oil and grease buildup on brake components. Their powerful formula dissolves contaminants quickly, making cleaning easier.

How to change brake fluid from a brake job using brake cleaner?

When performing a brake job, use brake cleaner to effectively remove old brake fluid from the system. Spray the cleaner onto the affected area and ensure all residue is wiped away before introducing new fluid.

What are the dangers of overexposure to brake cleaner?

Overexposure to brake cleaner can lead to various health issues, such as respiratory problems and skin irritation. Always use the product in a well-ventilated area and avoid prolonged exposure to prevent any harm.

Can brake cleaner lead to unconsciousness if not used correctly?

Improper use of brake cleaner can indeed lead to unconsciousness, especially if used in a confined space without proper ventilation. Always follow safety guidelines and precautions when working with the product.

Photo of author

AUTHOR

Ira Njoroge

Hey, I’m Ira Njoroge, the founder of MySpaceAffair. Early on in my life, I had a passion to embark on a mission to create a cleaner, and more organized household. With a bachelor's degree in engineering after graduating from the University of Maryland in 2015 and seven years as a General Contractor and professional cleaner, on top of my DIY Enthusiasm. I saw the need for a reliable information source for homeowners. My passion, diligence, experience, and hired professionals confirms the reliability of all the advice given in My Space Affair and I hope to provide you all with reliable and thorough content!