How To Use Brake Cleaner Without Removing Tire

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Brake dust is everywhere. And it’s not just annoying; it’s also dangerous.

Brake cleaners are great for cleaning brake dust from your car’s wheels. But most of them contain chemicals that will remove the protective rubber compound from your tires. This means that after using a brake cleaner, your tires will wear down faster and may even become bald.

There’s a better way to clean your brakes and save your tires. In this article, I’ll discuss how to safely clean your brakes with a cleaner that won’t harm your tires. It’s simple, safe, and effective.

What if you could get rid of brake dust without removing the treads on your tires? What if you could make brake cleaner that would do the job while leaving your tires alone?

That’s exactly what I’m going to tell you how to do in this article.

Why Use Brake Cleaner Instead of Removing Tires

The brake pads and shoes are made of metal and they wear out with time. When the brakes are worn out then there is no friction between the wheels and the road surface. This makes the car difficult to control. In order to remove the brake dust from the brake shoes and pads, brake cleaner is used.

Brakes are very important parts of any vehicle. They are responsible for stopping the vehicle when needed. Brakes are also responsible for preventing the vehicle from moving forward or backward. There are two types of brakes – drum brakes, and disc brakes. Drum brakes are found in most vehicles while disc brakes are mostly used in high-end luxury cars.

When the brakes are worn out, they should be replaced. However, replacing the brakes is not easy. The brake shoes and the pads are made of metal. These metals are very hard and they cannot be removed from the brake drums. Therefore, the only option left is to replace the entire brake assembly.

However, replacing the entire brake assembly is expensive. Moreover, it takes a lot of time as well. Thus, the best solution is to clean the brake assembly instead of replacing it. Let’s first discover what types of brake cleaners are available in the market.

Types of brake cleaners

There are different types of brake cleaners available, but they all contain some form of solvent, flammable and non-flammable. Some are designed to remove brake fluid and grease only; others will clean brake rotors and your rims, too.

Chlorinated Non-Inflammable

Chlorine is a drying agent against brake fluid or crud and doesn’t damage painted surfaces. So this non-inflammable chlorine-based cleaner is among the safest but also most expensive. If you want to save money, look for alternatives like alcohol or flammable.

Non-Chlorinated Flammable

A non-chlorinated brake cleaner is a great option if you want to avoid the risks associated with using a chlorinated product. The best options include a cleaner containing acetone, which has a lower risk of causing damage to paint surfaces. This is flammable and inexpensive.

3M High Power Sprayer

This product is highly flammable and not recommended for use around fireplaces and heat sources. The aerosol spray brake cleaner has great luminosity on metal surfaces and is highly efficient. However, each manufacturer produces it often in different formulations depending on their criteria.

How do you use brake cleaner without removing tires?

If you don’t know what kind of brake cleaner to use, it’s best to consult a professional mechanic who knows which one works best for your car. 

After selecting any of the above cleaners, let’s review how we clean the brakes without safely removing the tires.

  1. Park the vehicle in a well-ventilated area on a flat or level surface. If you park your car on uneven ground or slope, it will be harder to remove mud from the brake pads. It may also cause damage to the wheel bearings.
  2. You need to find a suitable wheel cleaner and prepare it for operation. Its spray pipe and spray nozzle are working properly or not for cleaning brake parts. If you don’t know what kind of brake cleaning product to use, then you’ll want to check out our guide to the best brake cleaners for cars.
  3. Before buying any cleaning product, check its ingredients. Ensure you read the instructions carefully to know what type of cleaner to use because it may contain harmful chemicals causing skin problems. Follow the instructions carefully. Read all the labels and warnings provided on the package.
  4. After checking the surface, apply the brake cleaner to the brake assembly and around the brake calipers, brake drums, or discs and pads. Use it properly and let it dry completely. Then, apply the brake cleaner again. Repeat this process until the brake assembly is cleaned thoroughly.
  5. The best way to apply the cleaner is by spraying it onto the braking surface from above. Wear gloves and goggles if you don’t want to risk getting any on your hands.
  6. Make sure that you apply it evenly. You should not apply too much cleaner at once. Instead, spread the brake cleaner over the entire surface and brake components, although the tires are not off.
  7. After applying, wait for 15 minutes. Then, wiping off the excess brake cleaner with a rag would be best. Do not scrub the brake assembly. Instead, gently wipe it with a small detail brush or soft cloth. Dry the brake assembly with a towel.
  8. If you don’t want to spend money on brake cleaner, try this homemade method. It works well enough to keep your car safe. You can use a wire brush to remove minor debris or rust on your brake calipers.

Can brake cleaner damage the tire?

Yes, brake cleaner can damage the rubber tread of the tire. It should not be used on the tires because it could cause the tire to wear out prematurely. It may not be harmful to the steel rim, but it can still damage the rubber part of the tires. It contains harsh chemical compounds (break down grease and grime) that can penetrate the rubber, especially when you’re using a non-chlorinated brake cleaner. This can lead to cracking and peeling of the tire.

The solution can then be rinsed off with water. So, you need to use degreasing detergent to wipe off all residues immediately.

Can you spray brake cleaner directly on the brake pads?

A brake cleaner is designed to clean the metal components of the brake system. It will not work very well if you try to use it on the rubber parts. However, you can use cleaning spray to clean the inside of the brake caliper where the pads fit.

You can also use it to clean up the brake fluid reservoir, disc rotors, brake caliper units, drums, and brake discs.

What is the difference between brake cleaner and brake wax?

Waxes are made from petroleum products and are usually applied after the brakes have been serviced. Brake wax prevents moisture from entering the brake system and protects the brake linings. Brake cleaner is usually made from mineral oil or synthetic materials and is applied while the brakes are being serviced. It removes contaminants such as road tar and other debris that build up on the brake lining.

Can brake cleaners help stop squeaky brakes without removing tires?

Yes, it is possible to stop squeaky brakes with cleaners. Try spraying your cleaner onto the surface where the pads contact the rotor. This will reduce the brake noise the friction between the pads and the rotor produces. So you make them silent without removing tires. Because if your steering wheel or brake pedal is vibrating, it is a sign of squealing brakes.

If the problem still exists, then the best way to stop squeaky brakes is to change the brake pads and rotors with new ones. This will not only stop the noise but also improve your vehicle’s braking power.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should brakes be cleaned?

The best answer is to clean brake rotors and pads at least once a month. If you have not used your vehicle for more than 3 months, then it’s probably okay to wait longer. We recommend cleaning the brakes regularly because they collect dirt and dust, which increases the chances of rusting. Rust is one of the main causes of brake failure.

Brakes are designed to stop your car safely. When brakes fail, they can cause severe damage to your vehicle. To prevent such accidents, it’s important to check your brakes for wear and tear regularly.

Does it matter how much brake cleaner I apply?

There is no need to apply too much. A little goes a long way. Too much brake cleaner can cause problems when it drips down into the wheel bearings.

Does brake cleaner damage my paint job?

It depends on what kind of cleaning product you buy. Some brake cleaners contain chemicals that can damage your paintwork. So it’s better to wipe off after applying such products as discussed above or use them as per the instructions mentioned.


In conclusion, I would like to say that you should carefully follow the steps mentioned above. Otherwise, you may end up damaging your vehicle. Therefore, you should always keep safety in mind while using brake cleaner. If you plan to replace the brake assembly, you need to use it first. Otherwise, you can skip this step.