How to Clean Brake Rotors without Removing Wheel?

Every car has some crucial parts, and a brake rotor is one of them. Cleaning rusty rotors are one of the most important things to ensure the proper functionality. It also provides a smooth brake system without disturbances. How much rust do you see inside your automotive brake rotor? In this article, we are letting you know how to clean brake rotors without removing wheel.

The cleaning process can be a hassle unless you have adequate knowledge about it. Are you wondering how to remove rust from brake rotors? Let’s dive in!

clean brake rotors

How to Clean Brake Rotors without Removing Wheel

Removing and reassembling car wheels is a daunting job, especially for new automobile owners. That’s why we often don’t want to take them off.

If you want to know how to clean rusty rotors without removing tires, we assume you just want to remove dust.

Cleaning dust and heavy corrosion from the  Brake Disc and Rotors generally requires you to remove the wheels. Without taking off wheels, you can’t reach the internal part and clean it properly.

So, here is the procedure on how to remove rust from rotors without removing wheels step-by-step. Let’s begin!

Brake Away the Rust

So, why does rust occur on brake pads? Wear and tear on the brake pads generates brake dust.

The only way of cleaning brake dust without removing wheels is using action braking. You can easily make your rusty brake discs clean through regular usage.

Follow the below steps:

  • Select a place where there are fewer movements of vehicles. You need open space.
  • Now drive the car 5 to 10 miles per hour.
  • Next, push your brake around 6 to 7 times with sufficient pressure to stop the vehicle somewhat in a ruder way than you usually do.
  • It’ll cause the loosening. The rubbing motion will remove the dust from the brake motor.

So, these are the simple steps you want to follow to remove rust from rotors.

Caution: Choosing a safe place is necessary to avoid accidents. Make sure you are expert enough to stop your SUV in that particular manner. If not, please take a professional driver’s help.

How to Clean Rusty Brake Calipers

Driving your vehicle in unfavorable conditions such as heavy cold weather, excessive road, etc., allows the brake calipers to build up rust.

Since brake calipers are metals, dust will build up continuously until they damage the part. Then you may end up replacing the damaged brake caliper.  Otherwise you may face no brake pressure during applying brake.

So, taking action as soon as possible will save your brake caliper from getting damaged. It will prevent permanent damage and allow the component to work smoothly.

Any idea about how to remove rust from brake calipers? If not, don’t worry. Kindly go through this procedure to learn how to get dust off from brake calipers quickly.

Step 1 —Park Vehicle

Keep your car in an area where you can work peacefully. No disturbance! Make sure the surface is flat and smooth to prevent unwanted movements.

Step 2 —Elevate One Corner

Now, use your car jack to increase the height of one corner of the vehicle. Place the jack stand to hold the excessive weight of the automobile.

Step 3 —Remove the wheel

The next task is removing the wheel. You can use a metal lever or an air rifle to remove the wheel nut from the wheels. Then, dislocate the wheel. Keep it in a safe place.

Step 4 —Check Rust Condition

Inspect the rust condition of the brake caliper by lying down under a steel or aluminum frame. Check how much dirt has developed on the brake caliper area.

Step 5 —Prepare the Power Drill

Come out under the vehicle. Take a power drill and attach it with a brush that has tough wire bristles.

Step 6 —Remove the Rust

Now, get back under the Sedan again, and remove the rust by using the drill. Turn on the switch button. The wire brush will rotate to remove rust from the brake caliper area.

Step 7 —Clean the Caliper

Next, take a fresh towel or fabric to remove dust, grime, and other things from the caliper. Spray an effective cleaner to make it super clean. This gives enhanced protection against heat and corrosion. If a caliper cleaner is not available, you can use a brake rotor cleaner.

Step 8 —Repeat the Process

Finally, take out the jack stand and lower the car jack height. Reassemble the car wheel. Repeat the same process to clean rust from other wheels of brake calipers.


1. Is brake cleaner bad for rotors?

No, brake cleaners are safe for rotors. The carmaker puts a light coat of grease to stop building rust. Use brake cleaner for rotors as long as they are fresh and intact. But cover other areas of the SUV since it may lead to damage to the vehicle paint.

clean brake rotors

2. Can you clean brake rotors with soap and water?

Yes, it is typical of cleaning rotors with soap and water. It is a fruitful, uncomplicated, and inexpensive cleaner. It aids you in removing solvent residue and other metal particles from the rotor surface easily. But the solution won’t be as effective as a brake rotor cleaner.

3. Can I use WD40 to clean brakes?

It is better not to use WD40 to wipe brakes because it decreases the friction of brakes. But it also can clean brakes.  WD 40 contains oil that could be applied to clean other parts except the brake pads.

4. What occurs if you don’t clean your rotors?

Cleaning rotors is essential to let the brake work smoothly, especially when you regularly drive your automobile. Not cleaning the rotor for a long time will build up dust and corrosion. It will ultimately damage the brake rotor after a particular time. Make sure you know how to clean rotors that we mentioned above.

Wrapping Up

Are you still wondering how to clean brake rotors without removing wheel? Probably not! We have mentioned the only effective method to clean dust without taking off tires.

If you want to clean the brake pads deeply, we recommend taking off the wheels first. It makes the job easier. Plus, use a high-quality brake rotor cleaner for efficient, fast, and long-term cleanings. Hopefully, you have learned of cleaning brake system easily.


Mr. Rubel is an Engine Mechanic. He has more than 15 years’ experience on repair and maintenance of different kinds of vehicles. He is also providing training to mechanics and works as a Senior Mechanic of a well-known organization. He is sharing his knowledge to support the car lovers to solve the vehicle issues.

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