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Can Brake Cleaner Remove Rust? (All You Need to Know)

It’s common to notice rust in your vehicle after a while. Most of the time it happens after the vehicle is washed or has to face rain but not wiped properly. Well, surely it’s not a good sign for your car. Especially if you find rust formed on the rotor surface. 

But they say it’s never too late. If you take immediate steps against rust as soon as you notice them, you might not have to face much trouble dealing with them. There are so many ways to remove rust from your vehicle and its parts. 

Among them, people suggest using brake cleaner often as a rust remover. This sounds simple and quick to apply but will brake cleaner remove rust? Let’s dig it deep and know the truth!

Can brake cleaner remove rust?

Brake cleaner is a strong solvent and it can dissolve the rust without harming the rubber seals. Brake cleaners can remove rust depending on how much rust is there. Using brake cleaner you can easily remove newly formed or lost rust developed on the vehicle parts. 

When we talk about vehicle problems, the rust issue rings an alert on every car owner’s head.

Rust can take place if your vehicle was not in use for a long time or not cleaned properly after a wash or rainfall. It can get more serious if you don’t monitor your car regularly. 

Finding rust formed on various parts of your car is considered a red flag that needs to be taken down immediately.

Rust can be removed by applying many methods. Depending on how worse the situation is you have to choose a solution from the hundreds available out there. There are recommendations for DIYs, commercial products to get rid of rust developing on your car. 

Among them, many find the brake cleaner useful for removing rust.

Brake cleaner is a strong solvent used for cleaning the brake system of vehicles. It’s made of Volatile Organic Compounds that are Perchloroethylene Methylene Chloride and Trichloroethylene. It’s much more active against rust that’s not developed too much. 

Let’s see if brake cleaners can remove rust from rotors.

From rotors: 

Rotors are made of cast iron most of the time. Cast iron when exposed to humidity, moisture develops rust too fast and soon it covers the disc surfaces. Brake cleaner works effectively to remove rust from rotors.

Brake cleaner’s powerful chemicals help to dissolve dirt, debris, grease as well as rust formed over them when rubbed or wiped with rags. It’s strong yet doesn’t damage the delicate parts and cleans the rotors.

Does brake cleaner prevent rust?

Brake cleaner is effective against rust. It in fact prevents rust to some extent when used regularly

The brake system of a vehicle is made of cast iron and steel that are prone to rust. Rust takes place when the vehicle is left unused for a long time. Cars that are parked in a humid and moisture area too catch rust. 

Vehicles that are used regularly too can have rust on their various crucial parts if not cleaned and maintained properly.

Brake cleaner though is a cleaning agent and plays an important role to keep the rust away to some percentages. Vehicle parts, when cleaned with brake cleaner regularly, wipe away stubborn grease, debris, and loose rust. It also removes corrosion from the rotors and brakes.

Thus major rust damage can’t happen to the vehicle. Brake cleaner when used regularly stops major rust development. 

Three reasons why brake cleaners help to remove rust

A brake cleaner is a cleaning agent that’s mainly used for cleaning different parts and tools of a vehicle. So you may not believe in its power to clean rust. To build your belief here, we’d like to share three reasons why brake cleaner helps to remove rust.

Brake cleaner contains Perchloroethylene: 

Perchloroethylene is the main ingredient in every brake cleaner. It’s one of the most common compounds that’s used for degreasing any metal. Perchloroethylene is a very strong solvent and can dissolve build-ups on metal. Because of this agent, brake cleaner acts strongly against rust.

Brake cleaner contains Acetone: 

Acetone is a known solvent for cleaning polar and nonpolar elements. It’s a powerful ingredient you can find in any brake cleaner. The main goal of this solvent is to break down hard-to-remove particles. It can be easily used on metal to clean rust and corrosion. 

Brake cleaner contains Heptane: 

Heptane is another reason why brake cleaners are so effective against rust that’s formed on a vehicle’s body. It’s popular for its ability to dissolve build-up, rust, and debris that’s why it’s largely used in brake cleaners. 

It plays a vital role in brake cleaners to break down stubborn rust and clean it away. 

How to remove rust with brake cleaner?

If you won a vehicle, we guess you surely have a brake cleaner stocked in your garage for cleaning. But do you know you can do more than just cleaning with brake cleaner?

To let you know, a brake cleaner is a quick solution if you’ve noticed rust formed on your vehicle. To know how can you remove rust with brake cleaner follow these steps:

Get rid of the external rust: 

A car will develop rust if it’s not in use for a long time. No matter how bad the rust damage is there is always some superficial rust that should be dusted at first. So take your vehicle for a short drive and all the external rust will get cleaned. 

It will ease the next steps of cleaning the rust.

Expose the rotor: 

To clean rust from the rotor you must remove the outer parts of the vehicle. Loosen the nuts of the wheel and then take off the wheel. You’ll find the rotor with a caliper and pads. You can clean the rotor with or without the pads and caliper. 

But removing those parts is recommended for an easier process.

Spray brake cleaner: 

As the main part is now exposed, spray any brake cleaner on the rotor and wait for it to dry. Take a clean rag or scrubber and start rubbing from one side. You’ll witness rust getting cleaned gradually. Apply more brake cleaner for severe rust damage. Finally, wipe it off.

Will rust come back after cleaning with brake cleaner?

No matter how effective a brake cleaner is, rust will come back after some time. Actually, rust develops even after applying the best method. But it can come back too soon if the previous rust wasn’t cleaned properly.

A vehicle’s brake system is prone to rust as it contains cast iron and steel. A vehicle can also develop rust due to moisture like rain, snow, etc. Proper cleaning and scrubbing are important to get rid of rust. Cleaning with brake cleaner can remove the rust if it’s not too intense.

But all these will prevent the vehicle from further rust build-up for around 6 months. After this time, you’ll notice rust formed upon your car’s surface. Because the material of the brake and rotor is prone to rust. 

Also, it’s not always possible to save the vehicle from moisture and temperature.

What cleaner removes rust?

Rust is a common problem vehicle owners face. Since the materials used in vehicles are mostly made of steel and cast iron there are always chances of rust build up. Besides, a car can collect rust little by little if left in unused condition for too long. 

Moisture in the weather and the wrong temperature too are reasons a vehicle can get covered in rust.

Rust can turn into a threat to your car’s life and eat up the whole body if not removed at the early stage. Though it will come back after some time to keep the performance of your car or motor smooth, removing rust regularly is essential.

There are many products available that are specially made to clean rust. Many people try homemade or DIY rust cleaners too. Here’s a list of some of the chemical-based and organic cleaners you can use to clean rust:

  • Whink Rust Remover.
  • Corroseal Water-Based Rust Converter Metal Primer
  • Evapo-Rust Super Safe Rust Remover
  • WD-40 Specialist Rust Remover Soak.
  • Rust 911 Ultra Concentrate
  • Metal Rescue.
  • White Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Brake cleaner

Final Thoughts

Brake cleaner is a strong solvent and it can remove rust from your vehicles’ parts. But how effectively it will clean the rust entirely depends on the intensity of the rust damage. Usually, brake cleaner works well against rust if it’s used as soon as detected.