How to Clean Brake Pads Without Removing Wheel | DIY Method

In terms of automobile maintenance, there are many vital components to care for. But brake pads are possibly the most important component in terms of safety. Therefore, knowing how they are cleaned and function is essential.

Sometimes, it can be a hassle to take the wheels off each time you need to clean the brake pads. So, the question you probably want to answer is how to clean brake pads without removing wheel? Well, you simply do not!

Here, we’ll talk about cleaning brake pads while removing the wheels, and we’ll also explain why it’s impossible to clean with wheels attached.

Interested in giving your brake pads a shine? Then scroll down further to learn!

How to Clean Brake Pads Without Removing Wheel

How Long Does Brake Pad Last

Keeping your car’s brake pads in good working order and replacing them before they wear out is in everyone’s best interest. Not to mention the concerns of your passengers and drivers.

However, how a vehicle is operated has a significant impact on the pads’ longevity. For example, driving on the highway may extend the life of your brake pads compared to driving on shorter distances. And longevity is a very important factor and has been discussed in detail in our subaru wrx buyers guide.

Also, the amount of weight carried in the trunk contributes to your brake pad’s lifespan. So, you never actually know when it’s time to change as the brake pads may fall off. Brake pads can last anywhere from 30,000 to 70,000 miles — and even longer in some cases. 

What Is It Actually?

Each wheel has a brake caliper, brake disc, and a set of brake pads as a standard part of the vehicle’s braking system. Fitting the caliper’s friction material almost directly onto the brake disk is how the pads fit.

Fluids used in hydraulic systems are present in the caliper that pushes each brake pad against the revolving brake disc when the brake pedal is applied. Friction is created as a result, and the vehicle eventually comes to a halt.

Because this basic operation is repeated so frequently, it’s no wonder that brake pads wear out over time and need to be cleaned often.

Why Cleaning Brake pads with Wheels Is Impossible

Can you clean brake pads without removing the wheel? Well, you simply cannot!

Cleaning brakes pads are more than just wiping down the outside of its component. If you go through your car, you will notice that the brake pad is behind the wheel. And caliper is adjusted right above the pad. 

So, to thoroughly clean the pads, you will require to take off the wheel first. Then, brake calipers and/or drums must be removed to clean the brake pads. All components must be inspected, the dust cleared, and certain bearing surfaces should be lubricated.

Tools And Materials Needed:

  • Combination Wrench size 14 and 17 (Size is personal preference)
  • Sandpaper
  • Old Toothbrush
  • Grease
  • Metal Brush (Optional)
  • Cleaning Towel

How to Clean Brake Pads

How to Clean Brake Pads

Before handling your quality Detroit Axle brakes, make sure they are cold. Even a short drive might cause your brakes to get very hot. So, before dealing with your brakes, allow them to cool out for about an hour.

Keep in mind that the brake fluid should also be checked. Old brake fluid might pose a danger if it isn’t taken care of. 

Now, you can easily clean your brake pads by following these steps:

Step 1: Remove the Bolts

At the back of brake calipers, you’ll notice two bolts. Remove the lower bolt only, using the size 14 wrench. Meanwhile, use the size 17 wrench to support removing the lower bolt.

Step 2: Takeout the Brake Pads

Next, take out the brake pads from underneath the calipers. It is recommended that you perform brake pad replacements in sets, such as front and rear wheels. 

Step 3: Clean and Scrub!

Then thoroughly clean the dust on the brake pads with sandpaper while scrubbing it dry with a toothbrush or towel.

Step 4: Onto Calipers

For calipers, use an old/unused toothbrush. But if you have rusty calipers, you might want a metal brush.

Step 5: Cover the Whole Area

Don’t forget to wash the area around calipers and brake pads with a cleaning towel. Much better if you have brake cleaner spray.

Step 6: Use Lubricant 

Before you put back the brake pads into place, add lubricant at the side of each pad.

Things To Consider

You should also know that ceramic pads are your perfect solution if you don’t want to deal with cleaning brake dust off your wheels. 

If you’re looking for a more affordable option, you may consider organic brake pads, which tend to produce a little more sludge. Organic brakes are ideal for tiny vehicles for an eco-friendly alternative to conventional brakes, but their shorter lifespan means they may not be the best choice for you.

Those who drive bigger, more powerful cars may opt for metallic brake pads because of their superior stopping power. Although, they should be warned that these brake pads are generally noisier. 

However, ceramic brakes can be prohibitively expensive despite their superior performance, durability, and quiet braking.

Why Is It Important to Clean?

Ultimately, brakes are a necessity that should not be taken for granted. It’s recommended that you clean your brakes when they reach a thickness of about 4mm. 

It’s essential to pay close attention to how the brakes feel, look, and sound when you’re driving.

Clean Your Brake Pads Now!

How to clean brake pads without removing wheel? Well, you got the answer to that!

Remember, you and those on the road around you, depending on the proper operation of your brakes, ensure everyone’s safety. 

As a precautionary measure, you always have to keep each component well-maintained and steer clear of risky situations when driving.

Keep an eye out for other drivers and anticipate when they might need to slow down; slowly and consistently apply pressure to the brake pads when traveling at high speeds. Drive responsibly to decrease the brake pads’ damage and contribute to their longer lifespan.