Brake cleaner, commonly called brake fluid cleaner, is generally a clear, colorless liquid cleaning agent, primarily used for cleaning both the brake discs and the engine compartment of vehicle. An additional advantage is that the brake cleaner also leaves no dangerous residue after the cleaning process is completed. This is an extremely important feature when it comes to properly maintaining brakes and other areas that require thorough cleaning. This particular type of cleaner is one that you need to find when you are ready to give your vehicle a thorough cleaning.
When you choose to purchase this particular type of product, you should make sure that you do the proper cleaning procedure. Cleaning the surface as well as any areas with stubborn dirt or mineral deposits can sometimes be easier if you use a mixture of this cleaning agent. The basic cleaning instructions include making sure the surfaces are completely clean before you apply the cleaner. You should also use as little pressure as possible when cleaning to avoid causing damage to the brake pads or other areas.
There are basically two types of brake cleaner you will find on the automotive market. One type of this product works by using a powdered substance that is mixed into a container. This powder is then added to a container full of water that is at a low enough level to allow only a small amount of water to percolate through it. The remaining water is used to help rinse off the dirt and residue that was spread throughout the brake parts. After the water has dried out, you would have a clear viewing area that will allow you to determine the amount of time and effort you have needed to successfully complete the cleaning job.
The other type of brake cleaner utilizes an electrical charge that is placed directly onto the compound. The charge acts as a ionizing agent that attracts debris to it and then breaks it down through a process called oxidation. The oxidized items are then removed from the compound. The non-chlorinated cleaners will contain either chlorine or bromine in order to prevent any hazardous airborne contamination. The only downside to these chemical cleaners is that they are more costly than the chlorinated cleaners.
The most common non-chlorinated alternative to the typical brake cleaner fluid is tetrachloroethylene. This substance is usually referred to as TCE or THMs because it has been found to be widely present in both fresh and recycled fluid. This is the reason why this chemical is used as a common additive to brake fluid. The greatest danger of this chemical is through long-term exposure, since it can cause a wide range of health risks. Long-term exposure has been determined to result in cancer, organ and neurotoxicity, as well as respiratory problems and hearing loss among individuals who have worked with this chemical.
As a safer alternative to TCE, other chemicals called solvents are available. Many people choose to use these solvents in conjunction with the brake cleaner fluid because they remove residues without stripping the brake components. When purchasing your brake cleaner fluid, it is important to select one that is made from a biodegradable material. The solvents in brake cleaner fluid act as a filter for your brake components, removing the build up of residue in the brake lining that can eventually lead to brake failure.
There are some precautions you should take when using acetone as a brake cleaner. Because of the way that acetone gases act when blown, it is recommended that you use a pressurized air source to spray the product into the cleaner. If you do not have an air compressor available, you may want to consider placing a few drops of acetone directly onto the brakes. This can help to get the product to reach its optimum working temperature faster.
In general, it is recommended that you follow the manufacturer's direction when applying these products. Acetone has a high boiling point, which means that it will react with certain materials, such as plastic, very strongly. The reaction can cause the plastic to melt plastic. While many manufacturers provide information on how to use their products safely, it is always best to contact a mechanic or professional before applying any type of solvent to your brakes.