How To Clean Brake Calipers Using Easy And Simple Steps

Brake Calipers

To begin with, let's first understand what brake calipers are and how they work. However, in this article, we'll majorly focus on how you should clean your brake calipers.

Brake calipers are placed on both front and rear wheels. Whereby your car is using a disc braking system, your vehicle's wheel is attached to rotors, also known as metal discs.

A brake caliper is a constituent of the disc brake system. When the brake pedal is pressed, brake fluid flows from the master cylinder all the way to the calipers.  The brake fluid exerts pressure on the piston within the caliper thereby pushing brake pads towards and against the metal discs thus stopping the car.

The key role of the calipers is to create friction with the rotors thereby stopping the car wheel. There are two types of brake calipers. They include floating and fixed calipers. Floating calipers move in and out while creating friction with rotors.

Watch video to learn more about Brake Calipers:

What You Need While Cleaning Your Brake Calipers

1. Lubricant


The oil is responsible for lubricating the metal to metal parts that interconnect as well as the metal to rubber parts. For the metal to metal parts that interconnect, use a Molybdenum Disulfide Lube.

Use Silicone lube for metal to rubber parts. Ensure you have these lubricants before commencing the cleaning process. Ensure that you don’t lubricate the backing plate of the Wagner Thermo Quiet brake pads.

2. Wire Brush or Bead Blasting

Wire Brush

The wire brush is used to remove rust if there's any, from your brake calipers. The wire brush performs just like the bead blasting, therefore, look for either.

3. Car Jack

Car Jack

The jack aids in raising your car to create room when removing the brake calipers from your wheels.

4. Screwdriver


The screwdriver will help you to unscrew the screws at the brake line and pry off the spring clip of the caliper.

5. Rubber Vacuum Cap


It will help you block any leakage from the openings you will encounter.

6. Air Nozzle

Air Nozzle

The air nozzle will assist you in letting in compressed air in the brake line hole that is at the caliper. The compressed air will help in forcing out the piston from the brake calipers.

7. Wood Piece That Is Half An Inch Thick

Wood Piece That Is Half An Inch Thick

The wood will help you create required space to insert the air nozzle at the brake line hole.

8. Brake Fluid and a Scrub Pad

Scrub Pad

The brake fluid and a scrub pad will help in taking off dirt and grease from the brake calipers.

Why You Should Clean Your Brake Calipers

Brake Calipers

The lubrication applied on your brakes gets washed off while on wet roads. This causes the brake pads to bind. The binding makes it difficult for the brake pads to assume their normal static position.

Another reason why you need to clean your brake calipers is corrosion. The metal parts that constitute the brake calipers are prone to rust, therefore, it is advisable to clean your brake calipers for better performance.

Cleaning extends your brakes life. It is advisable to carry out the cleaning process after every one year. During the cleaning phase, you will get to replace the old lubricant and clean out corrosion if there is any.

Steps To Follow In Cleaning Your Brake Calipers

The following step-by-step procedure will help you to perfectly clean your brake calipers with ease.

1. Remove The Caliper

Remove The Caliper

You will have to remove the brake caliper from your wheels to clean it. However, this isn’t possible when your car is still on the ground level. You will need to jack the car up for a smooth cleaning process.

When you are done raising your car from the ground level, loosen the lugs on your wheel. After you are done loosening the lugs, you can go ahead and remove the wheel.

Open the brake fluid’s master cylinder and your hood. Then carefully, lay the cling film at the surface of the liquid and cover the cap. This process will make sure that most of your vacuum is properly fixed in the brake fluid.

Loosen the brake line at the point where it meets the caliper. Unscrew it partly and place a tray underneath, to get hold of any drips. Using a screwdriver, pry off the spring clip of the caliper.

Loosen the caliper bolts and remove them then take off the caliper from the rotor. When the caliper is completely free, you can go ahead and remove the brake pads from the caliper.

2. Free The Caliper

The Caliper

You will notice that the caliper still has the brake line attached. Ensure that don’t make a mistake of twisting the line when pulling out the caliper. Once you are done removing the caliper, plug the end using a rubber vacuum cap and place a tray to get any leaks.

3. Get Ready To Clean

To clean your brake calipers, you need to get hold of the piston. In doing this, you will need compressed air as well as an air nozzle. You will need a wood piece that is half an inch thick.

Fit the piece of wood between the piston on the caliper and the outer flange. After doing this, go ahead and insert the air nozzle into the brake line hole which is on the caliper and let in some compressed air through it.

Doing this will force out the piston. As it happens, ensure that your hands are clear since the piston will come out with some amount of force.

4. Cleaning

Clean The Caliper

In cleaning the piston, use the brake fluid and a scrub pad in taking off dirt and grease. Replace the piston if it is pitted in any way. In cleaning the caliper, use the scrub brush and some brake fluid.

In small areas, you will be required to use a small brush, such as a toothbrush. Ensure that you do the cleaning in a well-ventilated room or outside. Repeat the cleaning process until the brake caliper is completely clean.

Replace the piston and reattach the brake line then place back the brake caliper in the wheel.
If it was too old you should replace it:


New Wheel

Cleaning your brake calipers is very important since they determine the performance of the brake pedal when pressed. The cleaning process also helps you in determining whether other parts need to be replaced or repaired.

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