If your car's braking system is acting a little sluggish, the problem might be something you can fix rather easily: dirty brakes. Dust and debris can collect on your brakes over time and interfere with their performance. Fortunately, cleaning a disc brake system is not that complicated and can be done by the average car owner themselves. In most instances, you can clean the brakes without taking the brakes apart. This article examines the process in more detail.
Make certain that the vehicle is cooled down before cleaning the brakes. You don't want to apply brake cleaning fluid to hot metal. The vehicle should be in a well-ventilated area because the chemicals in the brake cleaner might be harmful if you are exposed to them in an enclosed space. Just to be on the safe side, it's probably a good idea to wear some protective clothing and some protective eyewear, such as a pair of safety glasses or goggles.
The cleaner could also damage the paint job on your car, so cover the area near the wheel housing with plastic sheeting. Take off the wheel and set the car up on jack stands.
Brake cleaner comes in a spray can and should always be used according to the instructions on the label. Typically, you should stand about one or two feet back from the brake mechanism and starting spraying at the top of the brakes. Move down as you work until all parts of the system have been cleaned.
You should see dust, grime and other debris falling off the brakes as the cleaner takes effect. Once the spraying is complete, you can either wipe off the cleaner or let the air dry it out. In some cases, a second spraying might be necessary.
Don't let the brake cleaner collect on the floor or the ground when it falls off the car. Collect the fluid in a container that is made to hold hazardous waste. Avoid disposing of the cleaning fluid in a municipal sewage system, septic system or in the soil. Your local municipality may have laws or regulations that govern the disposal of this type of waste. Ask your local environmental officials about the best way to dispose of it and follow their recommendations.
Cleaning your brakes is not difficult, but it's a messy job that you might want to the leave to the pros. For more information concerning this topic, contact your local brake service specialist.