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How to Use Brake Cleaner the Right Way & Which One to Choose

Brake Cleaner
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Having brakes that function well is absolutely essential to driving safely. If your brakes have become less responsive due to grime or buildup, it’s imperative to tend to it as soon as possible for your safety, your passengers’ safety, and everyone else on the road.

Brakes on cars these days don’t require a lot of attention, but they can accumulate brake dust that is harmful to breathe if you are doing maintenance, and can also leave visible residue on your rims and other places around them. Brake cleaner cleans away this dust and also any brake fluid or other fluids, oil, and grime that can affect your brakes’ performance. That can also lesson irritating brake sounds that may be caused by additional friction from buildup.

Follow the directions below carefully to ensure that you safely and effectively clean your brakes. After reading about how to use brake cleaner, take a look at our list and one by one review of the best options on the market.

Using Brake Parts Cleaner Safely and Properly

Before you start, make sure your vehicle is parked in a well ventilated area. It’s bad to breathe the fumes from the cleaner and also any brake dust that could be disbursed into the air while cleaning. A surgical mask or other apparatus that allows you to breathe safely is highly recommended.

Take the cap off of the brake cleaner can, and then attached the spray tube into the nozzle. It works very similar to a can of spray paint, so if you’ve ever spray then painted you’ll have no problems at all. Remove the tire for easier access with a jack. Set it aside and clear the area of any pets, children, or perishables. You should follow the instructions on the label if they differ, but generally you should stand between one and two feet away. Be sure that your brakes aren’t hot as the cleaner may be flammable.

Spray from the top end of the brakes downward to allow buildup and dust to run down and off of the brakes entirely. Be careful not to get any cleaner on your paint job as it could damage it. Oil, grime, dirt, and brake dust will be cleared off leaving your brake clean and ready for either servicing or improved regular use. Be sure to catch all of the fluid and grime that drips off in a container so that it can be disposed of in an appropriate, environmentally safe manner.

Best Brake Cleaner for Vehicles of All Kinds

Spray cleaners can last a fairly long time if you only need them for one vehicle, so it’s better to invest in one that will do a very good job. They’re quite cheap anyway, so paying a few dollars extra could be the difference between getting a decent one and a great one. Below are the top overalls options available at various online marketplaces available for purchase now.

CRC Brakleen Brake Parts Cleaner

CRC Brakleen Brake Parts Cleaner
This non-flammable formula is one of the most popular options for sale online, most likely due to the fact that it costs less than half the price of virtually all of its competitor products. It contains chlorine which helps break down grease deposits but is not suitable for use with any aluminum parts. It’s fast acting, effective, and very affordable.

3M 08180 High Power Brake Cleaner

3M 08180 High Power Brake Cleaner
3M makes one of the most highly regarded formulas for spraying away dust and cleansing disks, pads, and all other components. This product cuts deep and cleans thoroughly with each pass. It happens to be relatively expensive when compared to some of the most common options. If you need a high volume of cleaner, this one could be somewhat costly. But if you need to ensure it will do an excellent job, this is possibly the best brake dust cleaner and degreaser you can if you don’t mind paying extra.

Permatex 82450 Non-Chlorinated Brake and Parts Cleaner

Permatex 82450
Permatex’s chlorine free option is completely safe to use on aluminum and other metals, and helps manage EPA halide limits by not using chorine as an active ingredient. Despite not having the cutting power of chlorine, this mixture works just as tough without being as abrasive.

Throttle Muscle TM8487 – Brake Parts Cleaner

Throttle Muscle TM8487
This high power spray is chlorine free and compliant with environmental and health safety regulations in all 50 states by having a VOC content (volatile organic compound) below 10%. Safe for all metals and residue free, this product should give anyone concerned about the environmental impact of these cleaners some peace of mind.

Gunk M720 Chlorinated Brake Parts Cleaner

Gunk is a popular brand that makes many different kinds of effective auto part cleaners. This chlorinated formula is extra powerful and will cut away grease and other residue with ease. It dissolves fast and has no need for wiping once residue drips off. This means that you do not necessarily need to remove your tire in order to use it effectively.

CRC BRAKLEEN Chlorine-Free Brake Parts Cleaner

CRC BRAKLEEN Chlorine-Free Brake Parts Cleaner
This chlorine free mixture from CRC is more than double the price of the chlorinated formula, but is still very affordable. It features a low VOC for conscientious auto maintenance. It’s just as effective as the chlorinated CRC formula, but won’t burn your eyes from the fumes or damage aluminum.

Penray 4520 Non-Chlorinated Quick Dry Brake Cleaner

Penray 4520
This aerosol cleaner blows away grime and dust, leaving your discs and other components totally clean. It dries extremely fast and can be used with the tire still on. For an effective chlorine free option in a convenient aerosol container, this is a great choice.

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