Disc brakes aren’t something that people write about let alone lecture about how to clean. However, clean disc brakes are highly essential for riders to stop their bikes quickly and safely.
Dirty brakes will not only make your braking less efficient or increase your stopping distance, it can also be dangerous and can cause serious accidents. Thus, it is extremely important that you clean your disc brakes on a regular basis.
Here are seven steps to ensure that your disc brakes stay properly cleaned and maintained.
Step #1: Use The Right Cleaning Product
Always use specialist cleaners to clean your disc brakes. Never, ever clean the brakes with a window cleaner. Find a brake cleaner that is residue-free, and is designed to clean any lingering dirt from important parts of the braking system.
This way your disc brakes will be free from any dirt or residue which will ensure consistent braking. Do not use products that contain PTFE or make your brakes look shiny. These elements make the disc brakes slippery and will compromise your braking system.
Step #2: Know Which Parts of The Brakes To Clean
When it comes to cleaning disc brakes, you need to know which parts of the braking system you should clean. These components are the two-disc rotors, the brake pads, the brake calipers, brake levers, and hydraulics. When you should clean your disc brakes depends on your usage. We suggest you check the condition of your bike before and after a ride and make an assessment before actually cleaning.
Steps #3: Know When To Clean
We understand it is pretty darn annoying to clean your disc brakes after a ride. When you are tired and dirty, not to mention smelly. However, like it or not, this is the best time to clean your disc brakes. Why? The dirt, grime and other unwanted elements from the streets have not settled on the brakes. This makes the cleaning process much easier.
Step #4: Do Not Contaminate The Rotors
During the cleaning process remember to use nitrile safety gloves at all times. This will prevent the rotors from getting contaminated from the dirt or oil from your hands.
Step #5: Inspect For Wear And Tear Before Cleaning
Remove the rotors, brake pads and calipers from both wheels and clean them thoroughly. Ensure that the components don’t have any dirt, stones, grits, and other contaminants. Also check for major damages, noticeable scratches, deformation or oil contamination.
If you find any major damages or wear and tear, replace the components. Finally, we recommend you use a lint-free towel to clean all the components of the braking system to make sure that they don’t pick up any dirt or lint during the cleaning process.
Step #6: Start Cleaning
Remove the rotors, brake pads and callipers from both wheels and clean them thoroughly. Then, spray the brake cleaner on either sides of each rotor. Wipe the dirt or grit with a cloth or brush. Use another piece of cloth to clean them spotless.
Now focus on the separated wheels and spray the brake cleaner over the callipers and unions. Scrub clean the callipers and unions with a brush or cloth.
Cleaning your disc brakes isn’t complete if you left out the levers. Your bikes levers are just as important as the pads and rotors. Whether they are cable operated or hydraulic, clean the moving parts using a brake cleaner and a brush or cloth to wipe off the grit.
Step #7: Reassemble The Bike Carefully
During the reassembly process, it is advisable to lubricate any moving parts. It will make working with the wheels, rotors, and pads easier. Ensure that all the parts of the braking system are lubricated and free from stones or grit.
Don’t over lubricate. If you have accidentally over did it, use a brake cleaner to remove the excess lubrication. If the brakes squeak upon reassembly, the rotors or pads probably have been contaminated. Repeat the cleaning steps above to rectify it.