Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Prepare new brake rotor before installing

How to prepare new brake rotor before installing on your car

Cleaning a brake rotor properly before installation reduces brake noise

This article is part of a series. Read these other two important brake job “musts” before installing new brakes

How to clean hub surfaces to prevent lateral runout, disc thickness variation, and brake pedal pulsation

Use the correct brake grease

What parts to replace during a brake job

You must properly prepare new brake rotors before you install them or you can actually create a condition where they make noise. New brake rotors are often coated with an anti rust coating at the factory. That coating must be removed to achieve proper braking. You can use spray brake cleaner and a clean rag to dissolve the coating, but don’t stop there.

Remove anti-rust coating from the new brake rotor

Remove the brake rotor from the box and look for the anti-rust coating. In some cases it will look like oil, in others it looks almost like varnish. Remove this coating with aerosol brake cleaner and a clean shop rag (no oil on rag).

Then wash the brake rotor with hot soapy water and a brush

Yes, you read that right. Never heard of that step? Welcome to the club. Brake parts manufacturers now require this step to remove any residual metal filing left in the rotor finishing grooves. If you skip this step, those metallic particles will embed into the brake pads and cause noise.

Fill a tub with hot soapy water and use a scrub brush to remove cleaner residue. You may not think this step is important, but it is. Aerosol brake cleaner does NOT remove these metallic particles. It actually drives them deeper into the machined grooves.

Think I’m “full of it?” Watch this training video from Federal Modul’s Wagner brake division. This is now the official prepare new brake rotors advice from all manufacturers

wash new brake rotor with hot soapy water before installing

Prepare new brakes rotors by washing with hot soapy water and a brush

 

Take a look at these cleaning images showing how much metallic debris is left on a new rotor after cleaning with just aerosol brake cleaner

clean brake rotor

New brake rotor coated with anti-rust varnish like substance

clean brake rotor

Here’s the same rotor after removing the anti-rust coating with aerosol brake cleaner

wash brake rotor

Here’s how much metallic dust was still left on the rotor after cleaning with aerosol cleaner. This was the first wipe after washing with hot water and soap

wash brake rotor

Here’s the result of three rounds of scrubbing with hot water and soap. See how much extra machining residue came off?

©, 2015 Rick Muscoplat

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