How To Clean Your Disc Brakes

Try these tips and tricks to quiet noisy brakes

Brakes How To Video
How To Clean Your Disc Brakes

Just a few basic tools are required for this quick fix.

Squeaky disc brakes are hated far and wide in every corner of the mountain bike community. There can be many reasons for squeaky brakes, but the two most common causes are oil or some other contaminant making its way onto the pads and rotors and uneven ‘bedding in’ of brakes pads causing vibrations in the braking system. No matter which is the cause, your brakes are squealing and we want to stop that! Follow the instructions in the video and your brakes will be screech free and squeaky clean in no time. You don’t need tons of tools to carry out this job, just a few basics and some cleaning solutions. Here’s how to clean your disc brakes.

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About the author: Mtbr is a site by mountain bikers for mountain bikers. We are the best online resource for information for mountain bikers of all abilities, ages and interests.

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  • Mark says:

    I’ve heard that some automotive / motorcycle brake cleaners shouldn’t be used on mountain bikes. Reason being – they leave a residue on the pads / rotors that will burn off on a car / motorcycle, but because bike brakes don’t get as hot, it never burns off properly.

    Not sure the validity of this, but sticking with isopropyl alcohol is probably easiest.

  • aa says:

    I’ve had good results with automotive brake cleaner on the rotors but I never use it on the pads. for metal pads I bake them in the toaster over at 400 for 15-20 mins.

  • GuyOnMTB says:

    Everyone has their method for cleaning rotors and pads. My methods for most everything is using as little steps as possible to achieve a desired effect…

    When it comes to sanding pads; only sand the pads if you see oil(rainbow stripes) or glassing of the pad material. DO NOT sand resin pads! REPLACE THEM…

    Sanding the rotors is only required if you notice those glassing as well. As a general rule, only sand when you see glassing.

    Removing contaminates from the rotor and pads are super 1-step easy.

    … Go buy acetone! Leaves no residue at all…

    … Leaves no skin if not careful.

    It’s the only thing I clean brake assemblies with.

  • paxel cas says:

    I roast my brake pads over a stove fire for five minutes and then wash them in water. SIMPLE TECHNIQUE HAS WORKED FOR ME FOR OVER FIVE YEARS.

  • Ray Quillen says:

    I bought a Specialized Epic Comp Hardtail with SRAM brakes and rotors and after only two months the rotors have started to rust. I have only got it wet twice when i got caught in a thunder storm and dried it after i got home and cleaned it up. I have had a Specialized Rockhopper for 3 years and never had this problem. The Rockhopper has Shimano brakes and that is the only difference is that the reason? Should I try and clean the rotors or replace them? Thanks, Ray

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