Can You Use Car Brake Cleaner On Bikes?

Brakes are the most challenging part of a bike to maintain and clean as well. So, what is the best solution for them? Can You Use Car Brake Cleaner On Bikes?

Yes, you are thinking in the right direction. If you are a bike user, you know what haunts you the most. It’s the cleaning! The one part that gets dirty fastest and is the most difficult to clean is the brakes.

I can guarantee that all of us spend at least some time researching every possible solution to this problem. Sadly enough, we cannot wrap it up and keep it dirt-free. Well, we can do it unless we want an accident to happen. So what next?

Some may suggest using Car brake cleaners as the easiest solution. But is it ok to use car brake solutions? Will it help? Let’s dive deep into the pool and find out.

Can You Use Car Brake Cleaner On Bikes

Cleaning the Bike Disc Brakes

Squealing brakes are the first sign that your bike brakes need an inspection. So, what can cause these abnormal sounds? 

Why do your bike brakes make noises?

The main culprit is the bedding. If they are not appropriately bedded, the breaks leave gaps, and thus the brake pad has difficulty in controlling the brake disc. This results in the accumulation of debris over a while and also causes vibrations during movement. Hence the noise.

The other reason can be Oil contamination that occurs due to leaking calipers, brake levers, etc. 

The third and most unusual reason is oil mist accumulation on the disc rotor from spray cleaners and oils.

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How to clean your bike brakes?

  • The first step is to remove the brakes pads from the bike and the disc rotors from the wheel. Ensure that you have gloves on to prevent extra contamination. 
  • Try using Allen Key for removing the brake pads and Torque T for disc rotors.
  • Spray a copping amount of Isopropyl alcohol or Brake Cleaning solution on both parts. Using a heavy-duty scrub pad or medium-coarse sandpaper, give everything a thorough rub. This dislocates all the gunks and hard stains and helps in giving the parts a thorough clean.
  • Once clean and shiny, it is time to put them back in order.
  • Make sure the padding is well fitted with no gapping or folds.
Can You Use Car Brake Cleaner On Bikes

Maintaining the Disc Brakes

Maintaining disc brakes is crucial for the smooth functioning of the rotors and the brake. Three simple maintenance routines can help in keeping it smooth and running for a long time.

Check The Width

Always ensure to check the brake pad condition. If the width is worn down to below 1.5 millimeters, it is time to replace it with a new one. If not replaced in time, there can be irreversible damage to the pistons and the rotors.

Clean The Pistons

Clean the pistons well with alcohol to prevent clogging of the calipers. Once dried, apply a small amount of grease to smoothen the movement of the pistons.

Bleed The Brake

Using silicon-based fluid, bleed the brake line to remove stagnant air bubbles. This removes brake rigidity. Read the manufacturer’s guide to note what is used in your bike make and model.

Can You Use Car Brake Cleaner On Bikes

The Golden Query: Can You Use Car Brake Cleaner on Bikes?

As a new bike enthusiast, this is perhaps the most common query you may have. Using an automotive brake cleaner is not a bad option, but it solely depends on the type of cleaner you are planning to use and the make of the bike model.

Good Ol’ Soap And Water

While most bikes are easy to clean and maintain, a few high-end custom carbon bikes have specific regulations for cleaning and maintenance. In the case of regular bikes, most will suggest using soap and water. There can be no other Cheaper and effective cleaning solution than this.

Avoid Chlorine

In case you are interested in using a car brake cleaner, ensure to avoid chlorinated brake cleaners. Chlorine has a bleaching action on the surface paint and can cause damage if you are not careful. After all, you do not want to wipe away the paint while cleaning the grimes and oils. Right?

Non-chlorinated car brake cleaners are safe to use on the calipers and disc rotors and do the job effectively. However, is it not better to go with regular and standard cleaning choices like alcohol or soap water?

Can You Use Car Brake Cleaner On Bikes

Can You Use Disc Brake Cleaners?

So, if not car brake cleaner, can Bicycle disc brakes cleaner be an excellent alternative to Isopropyl Alcohol? 

Bicycle Disc Brake cleaner is very similar to Isopropyl alcohol, but it is expensive comparatively. Most professional bikers prefer using alcohol as it is readily available, easy to use, and practically the best choice. 

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Answers To Other Questions About Cleaning Your Bike Brakes

Can you use car brake cleaner on bike rotors?

Yes, it can be used for cleaning bike rotors. It is especially effective in removing rust very quickly.

What can I use to clean bike brake pads?

While the most straightforward and most readily available options include water and mild soap, many professionals also advise using isopropyl alcohol for better and faster cleaning. 

Can you use Brake cleaner on brake pads?

Yes, Brake cleaners are safe to use on brake pads. They are easy to use and quick in cleaning. In addition to the brake lining and shoes, the solution can also be used on calipers and rotors.

Can You Use Car Brake Cleaner On Bikes

Can brake cleaner remove the sticky residue?

Break cleaners are one of the toughest solutions ever created. From stains and paints to glues and adhesives, almost nothing disintegrates when coming in contact with Brake Cleaner. Hence, removing sticky residue with brake cleaner is the easiest cleaning option.

Can you use rubbing alcohol to clean disc brakes?

Rubbing alcohol is one of the favorite go-to choices for most professional bikers and cyclists to clean brakes. 

They can break down grimes, specks of dirt, and oil remnants within minutes of application, thus making the process of cleaning less bothersome. You don’t have to think twice before using rubbing alcohol for your bike.

Look for the Signs…

The moment your disc brakes start making unusual noise and have trouble working smoothly, it’s time to give it a thorough inspection. Rather than leaving it for later, inspect and clean it up sooner. You do not want to land up in a bigger ditch with faulty brakes.

Besides the issue with the faulty brake, a clean bike is way more appealing than the one clogged in dirt and grime. Right?

Happy Riding!