Brake cleaner, or brake parts cleaner, is an aerosol spray originally formulated to clean tough grime and brake fluid off of brake parts, discs, and drums. It comes in chlorinated and non-chlorinated types. Some mechanics also use it to clean other metal surfaces, such as oil pans and chassis components.
How to Clean Brake Parts
This video by Gunk shows how to clean brake parts using their brake parts cleaner.
Brake parts cleaner helps brake components work more smoothly; dirty parts are more likely to seize up and can wear out faster. Many new brake rotors come with a rust-proof wax-like coating that is designed to be removed with brake parts cleaner or a grease-removing cleaning solution.
Many types of brake parts cleaners use volatile organic compounds, abbreviated to VOCs. These compounds are hazardous to life forms, and their allowed percentage is regulated in many regions. Aerosol propelled brake parts cleaner is also banned or restricted in some regions.
Use of brake parts cleaner can introduce health risks. Read the warning label and material safety data sheets for more data on the particular variety you may be using.