Best ways to properly clean a car's brakes

While I use a brake cleaner to get rid of the brake dust and oxidation, it is hard to reach 70% of the brake and 100% of the brake pad area.

BHPian Stribog recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Brakes are a dust magnet, rust magnet and in general, are also hard to clean.

While I use a brake cleaner to get rid of the brake dust and oxidation, it is hard to reach 70% of the brake and 100% of the brake pad area.

What is a good way to clean / detail these areas? Or is removing the wheels and then cleaning them the only possible option?

Here's what BHPian Indian2003 had to say on the matter:

You dont need to unless you have some high end car like the Lamborghini or some supercar with big wheels that you need to show off.

If you have to clean the brakes, just use some compressed air but this is a waste of time. Just make sure you use the brakes to keep the rotor surface free of rust. While washing the car, you can use water if you want.

Here's what BHPian Dr.AD had to say on the matter:

I have never specially cleaned the brakes. Just drive the car and the rust will go away. The brakes get cleaned by high-pressure water whenever I do a complete water wash for the car at a detailing place (usually once a month). Other than that, I never had to clean the brakes and did not face any issues in any of my cars so far.

I never thought that except for supercars or really high end cars where one can show-off the wheels and brakes, we need to specifically clean the brakes.

Maybe it is just me and I am not finicky about cleaning every small part of the car. But especially in Indian driving conditions, it is futile to try to keep every part clean. Just drive the car and it will be fine.

Here's what BHPian SS-Traveller had to say on the matter:

I haven't done anything of the sort in 40+ years of fiddling about with a variety of cars, and never felt the need to. Brakes are generally immune to rust, dust & oxidation.

OTOH, the brakes need a bit of routine maintenance very occasionally, and that may include the need to clean off the dust. The most important components needing attention are the caliper pins. If they aren't cleaned and greased occasionally, this happens.

I have my brakes attended to once in 20,000-25,000 km, usually along with a visual check for pad thickness - my cars do not have pad wear sensors.

Here's what BHPian R2D2 had to say on the matter:

Don't be too finicky about those brake assemblies. They get dirty and very quickly during the rains.

Yeah there are some exotic cars which have calipers which are factory painted or coated in a colour but those vehicles are in a different league and not used for commutes. Unless you have one of these don't bother.

More importantly, do not apply detailing chemicals or wax on the rotors, calipers brake pads & hoses. You can wash of the muck with a water hose or wipe them clean with a wet rag.

Here's what GTO had to say on the matter:

Never cleaned the brakes of any of my cars as there is no need to. But more than the brakes, its important to properly clean the alloy wheels of brake dust. You'll see lots of it after high speed drives & your car wash pappu will never bother doing the rims properly.

As Indian2003 & Dr.AD said, drive to clear up the layer of rust.

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