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How to Clean Rotors

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  • Your new pads = new rotors or cleaning of existing rotors?

    Current pads are metallic. About 2 months old on oem rotors. Read a ton and asked local shops about best way to cure howling/gobbling noise: organic pads were recommended by all for my dusty conditions, and some suggested new rotors.

    If you switched pads did you also put on new rotors or just sanded off the old disc pad residue?

    Or were you unable to thoroughly clean the oem rotor and eventually a bit of noise came from the new pads compiling atop the leftover brake track?

    Try cleaning the rotors with rubbing alcohol or similar. If residue remains, you could lightly buff w/ high grit sandpaper on a block (to make sure you sand evenly). Since the old rotors don’t cost you anything to use, I’d at least try them first.

    i use automotive brake cleaner to clean my disc, not sure if thats proper or not but thats what i use

    2011 Specialized Rockhopper: Captain Tires, Disc Brakes, 24 speed

    Upgrades:
    Shimano Clipless pedals
    x9 Rear Derailleur

    Just clean your existing rotors with isopropyl alcohol. You should be fine.

    Any residue remaining from previous pads will be in such tiny amounts, that changing rotors too will be a waste of money.

    Thanks all. Thoroughly cleaned each rotor, both sides of course, and will try out the new o-pads; seat them in good and hard.

    Brake cleaner is a powerful solvent + high pressure stream + no residue leftover. Since bicycle and car rotors are pretty much the same stuff, it can be used to clean your rotors.

    Word of caution: Brake cleaner can damage some paints, so I’d take the wheel off the bike before spraying the rotors. I had a dull colored caliper because of that stuff.

    Can it damage the rubber seals of the caliper pistons? Not sure, but since I don’t know, I wont spray directly into the caliper either. If I want to clean the pads, I’d take them off too.

    In case someone cares: pads can get contaminated with oil or brake fluid, fouling the braking process. In this case, the best thing to do is replace them.

    However, if money is short, the pads have a lot of braking compound left, and/or if you have pyromaniac tendencies like I do, you can take them off and sand them evenly with fine sandpaper (600

    800). This is best achieved laying the sand paper over a flat surface and scrubbing the pad face down against it.

    When the surface looks dry, coat the pads with alcohol or brake cleaner and set them on fire. It should extinguish itself in no more than 10 seconds. Be careful not to burn yourself, or your neighbor’s cat or the can of alcohol.

    Leave the pads alone for a couple of hours, and check them again. If they remained dry, you can try them again. It you see ‘dew drops’ or any kind of moisture coming from within, you better discard them for good.

    (If they have moisture but it was because that cat peed on them, use the remaining alcohol and set the cat on fire)

    Your brake rotors are a very important part of the braking system since the discs rely on a clean and smooth rotor surface when engaged to stop the vehicle quickly. Glaze on the rotor surface can surely deter your stopping ability. If any glaze has accumulated on your rotors you want to get rid of it right away. Just using a rag trying to wipe it down will not work since the glaze develops a hard surface. This article will show you how to easily remove it!

    Step 1

    How to Clean Rotors

    Remove the wheel from the car and be sure that you use jack stands to hold up the vehicle weight. You do not have to remove the rotor to remove the glaze.

    Step 2

    Wrap the 1500 grit sandpaper tightly over the sanding block.

    Step 3

    How to Clean Rotors

    Lightly and evenly sand the rotor surface turning the rotor as you go along to be sure that you along so you are sure to sand the entire disc. Do not use much pressure here to avoid scratching the surface. Much better to go over the same area numerous times rather than sand hard all at once.

    Step 4

    Wipe off the rotor surface with a clean cotton rag to remove any sanding dust . Now using the 2000 grit sandpaper wrapped around the sanding block sand again to insure that you will have a very smooth surface on the rotor. The last thing you want is to scratch the rotor surface with the sand paper and sanding is best accomplished using a flat block rather than just using your fingers behind the paper to avoid uneven sanding.

    Step 5

    How to Clean Rotors

    Put your safety Glasses on to protect your eyes from splash back and spray the rotor surface with Brake Kleen. The cleaner is meant to air dry on it’s own so it will not be necessary to wipe it off.

    Check that all the glaze has been removed visually and also by feeling with your hand. The rotor should be smooth and glaze free. If any glaze remains continue sanding and spraying with Brake Kleen until you are satisfied. All areas of glaze need to be removed to insure smooth braking.

    • -After touching the rotor with your hands spray with Brake Kleen to insure there is no oil residues left behind.
    • -If after inspection of your rotors you discover scratches or what is called “rail road” tracks on the surface you should consider having the rotors resurfaced by a professional shop or possible replacement may be required if resurfacing is not an option.

    Warning

    • Always wear safety glasses when spraying cleaning chemicals and be sure that vehicle is being help up properly with jack stands before doing any work!

    Items you will need

    • 1500 and 2000 grit sandpaper
    • Small flexible sanding block
    • Brake Kleen spray can
    • Clean cloth rags
    • Safety Glasses

    This article was written by the It Still Works team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Works, contact us.

    Written by: Chris Gilliland

    Written on: July 14, 2020

    Rust is one of the worst four letter words in a motorcyclist’s vocabulary. Although some riders may be fortunate enough to live and ride in an area that does not easily promote oxidisation, the reality is that rust can and will happen.

    One of the first components on a motorcycle to show signs of oxidisation are the brake rotors. Most of the rust that forms on the rotors can be removed just by riding and braking normally. But to remove the rust that forms at the edges and other places the brake pads can’t reach requires a little more effort.

    Clean the brake calipers by spraying lightly with brake cleaner. Immediately wipe away the cleaner with a rag to remove dirt and oil build-up.

    • Rust is one of the worst four letter words in a motorcyclist’s vocabulary.
    • Most of the rust that forms on the rotors can be removed just by riding and braking normally.

    Clean the edges of the rotor by scouring lightly with Scotchbrite. Once the edge is clean, scrub the inner hub of the rotor with Scotchbrite. Work gently to avoid scratching the finish on the inner hub.

    Prepare a solution of mild dish soap and water and apply to the rotor with a clean, soft rag. Thoroughly rinse the solution away using clean water or denatured alcohol, then dry with a separate clean rag.

    Repeat the process to clean the other rotor.

    More Articles

    Remove a MINI Drive Shaft →

    Remove the Half Shaft on a Ford Focus →

    Clean & Adjust the Emergency Brake on a PT Cruiser GT →

    • The Professional Motorcycle Repair Program; Professional Career Development Institute; 1995
    • If possible, raise the motorcycle off the ground using a motorcycle stand to help you rotate the wheel and rotor. If a stand is not available, you may need to roll the motorcycle forward or backward slightly to access the entire rotor.
    • Apply Scotchbrite to the rotors using a gentle, consistent pressure to avoid scratching it. If you will be working to remove rust from the face of the rotor, try to work along the “grain,” matching the circular pattern left by the brake pads, to prevent irregular wear of the pads.
    • If you doubt your ability to complete this project, have the work done by a qualified technician.
    • Do not, under any circumstances, use WD-40 or similar products on your motorcycle’s brake rotors. WD-40 has lubricating properties that will impair your motorcycle’s braking capabilities, possibly leading to a crash or injuries.
    • Be sure not to spray any painted parts with brake cleaner, as the cleaner will eat through paint easily.
    • Brake cleaner can be dangerous if mishandled. Always wear gloves and protective eyewear when working with chemicals.

    An avid motorcyclist, Chris Gilliland has immersed himself into the two-wheeled world while balancing work life and raising three daughters. When he is not managing the parts department of a local, multi-line motorcycle dealership, Gilliland can often be found riding, writing or working on his motorcycle blog, Wingman’s Garage.

    Not every vehicle owner knows what to look for, so how do you tell when your brake rotors worn out? Brakes are vital to the vehicle. Squealing brakes can sometimes be a symptom that something isn’t right with your system. Sometimes it can be a simple matter and easy to resolve. However, largely it can also be a sign of impending danger. Keeping your brake rotors in optimum condition is of the utmost importance.

    Using your Eyes

    You can normally see the brake pads through your wheels. Turning the steering wheel until the wheels point to the very far left or right will expose the insides of the wheels for viewing the brakes easier. You should be able see how much thickness there is left on the pad. At least one ¼ inch of brake pad needs to be visible. If there appears to be less, get them replaced.

    When the brakes on your car are exerted while driving, the pads exert pressure against the rotor which brings the car to a standstill. Over time, your rotors will also wear down and you may find the pads have created a slight groove in the rotor. This is very harmful to the rotor and this must be avoided. A healthy brake rotor will be a smooth and uninterrupted surface, free of dust, grooves and grit.

    Using your Ears

    Listen for brake noise. When you drive, the car will tell you if the brakes or brake rotors are in need of replacing. Squealing or squeaking is usually an excellent indication. If you hear grinding, head straight to the mechanic, because this is a definite sign that you have brake wear on your pads and they are worn to the metal. This puts you in danger of ruining your brake rotors.

    If your car is equipped with ABS (Anti-lock Braking System), letting your brake pads or rotors wear down to the metal is very dangerous. ABS has sensors that warn when your brakes are too low. Ignoring that with continued driving will cause damage to the sensor, which will have to be replaced as well.

    Braking

    If, when you press your brake pedal, you find that you feel a vibration or wobble, it is very possible that the rotors have become twisted or warped. That will be more likely to be the case if you have been hearing a grinding sound a while and have ignored it. Brakes get tremendously hot when hit and the metal will easily warp. If you feel a wobble or vibration when you brake, it will be a warning that the brake pads are failing to make a good contact with the brake rotors.

    Servicing

    Servicing is very important to all the moving parts of your vehicle and you should maintain the car to its best standard, so it lasts you a long time and stays reliable. It is not just the brakes that perform vital functions, but every other moving part too.

    How to Clean Rotors

    If there’s one thing you want your brakes to be, it’s dependable. Good brakes are important no matter what you drive and need to be maintained no matter how much of a DIY mechanic you fancy yourself to be. It’s good to know how to clean brake rotors, but you should also know when you’ll need to take them in to the shop.

    Braker, Braker

    How to Clean Rotors

    In a disc brake setup, two pads seated in a caliper apply pressure to the rotor to slow or stop the wheels from spinning. In order to do an efficient job, the rotors need to be clean and smooth. Why? Impurities, rust and debris will damage the pads and the rotors over time. Once the rotors are worn down or become warped, preventing the pads from grabbing their full surface area, they run the risk of not doing their job.

    Regular rotor cleaning and checkups are imperative, especially if you do a lot of off-roading. Rotors pick up dust, mud and rocks, which can spell trouble if left unattended. Beyond adverse conditions, even a vehicle in normal situations will develop rust over time. Luckily, rotors can be easy to clean, but only if you fix the problem before it gets out of hand.

    Dirty Driving

    Complete rotor checks should be a part of your seasonal checkup, but you’ll likely have to tend to them more often, especially if your vehicle is used for any off-roading activities. Either way, the more often you clean them (i.e., the better maintained they are), the less of a chore it will be each time. If you’re driving through dirty conditions on a regular basis, your cleaning schedule should reflect that. If you know you’ve been dragging them around in the mud, clean them as soon as you can to avoid damage.

    Clean Machine

    If your rotors are well maintained, cleaning is a breeze. Here’s how to do it, depending on how dirty your rotors are:

    1. Safely lift and secure your vehicle, and remove the tire.
    2. Place a towel underneath and spray a generous amount of brake cleaner all over.
    3. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe down the rotors.
    4. If you’ve accumulated a little more rust and dust, or it’s been a while since your rotors have been cleaned, do the above, but then use hot, soapy water to spray them down and scrub with a cleaning brush.
    5. If the rust and dirt is particularly heavy and you have experience with one, you can use an angle grinder. Just be careful not to go too far. Even a small amount of unevenness paves the way for bigger problems.

    Your last option is a lathe, but it’s unusual to have one of these at home, let alone be properly trained to use it. If the buildup or damage is particularly bad, you’ll have to take the rotors to a mechanic’s shop where they’ll use a lathe or will advise you to replace your rotors as needed.

    The better you take care of your car, the better it takes care of you. Remain vigilant, and complete all routine maintenance as described in your owner’s manual. But most importantly, know what to look for and stay on top of a maintenance schedule.

    Check out all the brake rotor products available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to clean brake rotors, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

    Brake rotors, just like all other parts of a vehicle, need to be regularly checked and replaced if faulty. Disc brake rotors are a very important part of the braking system, and as a result are critical to the overall safety and handling characteristics of the vehicle.

    In answer to how often do brake rotors need to be replaced, they can last anywhere from 30,000 to 70,000 miles, and sometimes more. A licensed mechanic can evaluate the rotors and advise you on their status. However, this time-frame is dependent on various factors as highlighted below:

    • Style of driving
    • The weight of the vehicle
    • Quality of the brake material
    • Vehicle Use

    3 Signs that the Rotors are starting to wear out:

    1. Noisy brakes — If the rotors are warped (meaning not perfectly flat) or severely worn, they may produce squealing or squeaking sounds. However, the squealing noise could originate from worn brake pads as well.
    2. Vibrations from the brakes — Warped or excessively worn rotors may vibrate irregularly that can be felt in the pedal and sometimes through the vehicle’s chassis. Warped rotors may also produce a pulsating that will be felt in the pedal when the brakes are applied.
    3. Grooves or score marks on the rotor — Over time, grooves or scoring marks can develop on the rotor from repeated contact with the brake pads, reducing the capacity to slow the vehicle, as well as cause vibration and pulsation that can be felt in the pedal. Generally, scored or grooved rotors require replacement.

    Rotors can sometimes be resurfaced, depending on the amount of wear, and only if they are not warped or cracked. When rotors are resurfaced, a mechanic grinds down the surface of the rotors and makes them smooth and flat again. At the least, the rotors may need to be machined, and the pads replaced. At the worst, all of the braking components may need to be replaced. Taking care of problems as soon as you notice them will keep down the cost and the time spent at your auto shop, plus increase driving safety.

    Wondering how often do brake rotors need to be replaced? Call our ASE Certified Technicians at Gary’s Quality Automotive for more information about brake repair and to schedule an appointment. Our auto shop proudly serves vehicle owners in Grand Island, NE, Wood River, NE, and Doniphan, NE

    How to Clean Rotors

    Brake rotors, just like all other parts of a vehicle, need to be regularly checked and replaced if faulty. Disc brake rotors are a very important part of the braking system, and as a result are critical to the overall safety and handling characteristics of the vehicle.

    In answer to how often do brake rotors need to be replaced, they can last anywhere from 30,000 to 70,000 miles, and sometimes more. A licensed mechanic can evaluate the rotors and advise you on their status. However, this time-frame is dependent on various factors as highlighted below:

    • Style of driving
    • The weight of the vehicle
    • Quality of the brake material
    • Vehicle Use

    3 Signs that the Rotors are starting to wear out:

    1. Noisy brakes — If the rotors are warped (meaning not perfectly flat) or severely worn, they may produce squealing or squeaking sounds. However, the squealing noise could originate from worn brake pads as well.
    2. Vibrations from the brakes — Warped or excessively worn rotors may vibrate irregularly that can be felt in the pedal and sometimes through the vehicle’s chassis. Warped rotors may also produce a pulsating that will be felt in the pedal when the brakes are applied.
    3. Grooves or score marks on the rotor — Over time, grooves or scoring marks can develop on the rotor from repeated contact with the brake pads, reducing the capacity to slow the vehicle, as well as cause vibration and pulsation that can be felt in the pedal. Generally, scored or grooved rotors require replacement.

    Rotors can sometimes be resurfaced, depending on the amount of wear, and only if they are not warped or cracked. When rotors are resurfaced, a mechanic grinds down the surface of the rotors and makes them smooth and flat again. At the least, the rotors may need to be machined, and the pads replaced. At the worst, all of the braking components may need to be replaced. Taking care of problems as soon as you notice them will keep down the cost and the time spent at your auto shop, plus increase driving safety.

    Wondering how often do brake rotors need to be replaced? Call our ASE Certified Technicians at Gary’s Quality Automotive for more information about brake repair and to schedule an appointment. Our auto shop proudly serves vehicle owners in Grand Island, NE, Wood River, NE, and Doniphan, NE

    Author: David Victor | Last updated: September 9, 2019

    How to Clean Rotors

    All the components of your car are important, but the brake is one of the most important parts. It ensures your safety while riding the car. Other people also remain safe if your car’s brake is alright; if you know what I mean.

    However, getting a clean brake rotor increases the attractiveness of your car beside ensuring that the brake is alright. So, you need to keep the brake rotor clean and smooth.

    #Recommended Brake Parts Cleaner

    When You have to Clean Brake Rotors?

    The outside environment is always ready to make your brake rotors dirty. So, what to do? Will you keep your car in the garage for a long time so that it doesn’t get dirty? This is not a good solution because this also possesses the possibility of building up rust on your brake rotors. The only way is to clean your brake rotors regularly.

    In most of the cases, people focus on cleaning the brake rotor after noticing rust on it. So, cleaning the brake rotor generally means cleaning rust from it. I made the same mistake at first and ended up buying a new rotor.

    Cleaning Brake Rotors at Home

    As the owner of a car, you have many options for cleaning the brake rotor of your car. You can perform those in your garage workshop. But if the rust development is high, you may have to run to a professional to take help. However, let’s see how to clean brake rotors at home.

    1. Regular Clean-up: This is the basic type cleaning up of your brake rotors. Just like you rub your car with a clean piece of cloth every day, make sure that you do the same to your brake rotor. Take a piece of clean cloth and remove the dust from the rotors. Try to go as deep as possible. You can use a brush instead of dry cloths.

    You’ll see that whenever you go out with the car, dust covers the outside surface. The same thing happens to the rotors too. Regular cleaning up of rotor removes the dust and prevents dust accumulation. Thus the brake performance also remains good.

    1. Braking Away the Rust: This method is generally used if the rust build-up happens because of keeping the car idle for a few days. I have left my car for one and a half months as I went outside the country. However, when I got back home, I have found that there was some rust. Then I used this method to remove the rust.

    The process is easy. You need to find an empty place where you can drive freely at a low speed. Drive there at 5-10 miles per hour and press brake continuously. Here make sure that you press the brake to stop the car slightly more sharply than normal driving. This will ensure harsh friction between the brake pad and the rotor. The friction will remove the rust from the rotor and make it clean.

    Don’t do this more than 5-6 times because it may erode the rotor. Also, make sure that there is plenty of space to do this.

    #Buy Brake Rotors Cleaner from Amazon

    How to Clean Rotors

    1. Using Dishwasher and Scrub: If you are someone who can take out the brake rotor, this method is for you. In this method, you can clean the dust accumulated on the rotor. It is very simple- take the rotor out, get some dishwasher and scrub and clean the rotor with the dishwasher and scrub. After cleaning properly, remove the water immediately with the help of a piece of dry cloth.

    In this method, you can clean the dust accumulated in the tough-to-reach portions. I suggest you do this once in two months. But in this method, you can’t remove the rust.

    1. Using WD-40: This method works great if there is light rust build-up on the rotor. When you see a light build-up of rust, spray some WD-40 over it. You can use other penetrating oils too. After spraying, leave it for a long time, maybe 5-10 hours depending on the amount of rust.

    After that, take a sanding paper and wipe the rust away from the rotor. If you want a better result, take out the rotor and follow the process. Thus you can get access to the whole surface of the rotor.

    1. Using an Angle Grinder: If you are a DIY worker and find heavy rust build-up on the brake rotor of your car, this is the best method for you. The process is simple.

    At first, make sure that you have a brush wheel for your angle grinder. Then, take the rotor out from the car. After that, adjust the brush wheel to the angle grinder and switch it on. Now you have to move the angle grinder over the rusty portions of the rotor. Don’t apply much pressure as it may eat away the surface and make it uneven. Apply the grinder so that it only hits the rust.

    After finishing the process carefully, you’ll get a clean and rust-free brake rotor for your car.

    1. Other Ways: The methods shown above are for you if you want to spend some time taking care of your car. If you don’t have enough time to do these, I suggest you send it to workshops. They will use a lathe or other equipment to clean the rotor.

    Or if you think that the rotor has traveled enough, you may focus on replacing it with a new one.

    Final Verdict

    Cleaning the brake rotor is not a tough task if you have some time and necessary things. If you love DIY, the task is more interesting to you. Here I have shown five different ways on how to clean the brake rotor. These five can be applied in 5 different types of problems.

    If you are regular in it, you may have a better idea. You too can share your idea with us. Comment your method of cleaning the brake rotor if you think that it is worth sharing.

    #Recommended Product!

    How to Clean Rotors How to Clean Rotors

    Install

    Hawk pads

    Our standard installation procedures are outlined below, and should be followed in accordance with the application-specific brake pad installation instructions provided by the vehicle manufacturer.

    Brake Pad Installation Procedure

    • Install brake pads properly. Be sure pads are securely positioned in the caliper.
    • Check Brake Fluid. Flush and replace, as needed.
    • Check all hydraulic parts for excess wear and tear.
    • Check rotor for deep grooves or scoring. Resurface or replace rotor, as needed.
    • If rotors do not need resurfacing, then contamination from the previous brake pads must be removed. Sand rotors with 130-grit sandpaper using moderate pressure. Use soap and water to clean rotor surface after sanding. Rotors should be free and clear of oil, grease and brake fluid.
    • Inspect calipers for freedom of movement. Lubricate where necessary.

    street pad

    bed-in

    1. To break in the new components, make 6 to 10 stops from approximately 30 to 35 MPH applying moderate pressure.

    2. Make an additional 2 to 3 hard stops from approximately 40 to 45 MPH.

    3. DO NOT DRAG BRAKES!

    4. Allow 15 minutes for brake system to cool down.

    5. Your brakes are now ready for use and can be driven normally.

    How to Clean Rotors

    How to Clean Rotors How to Clean Rotors How to Clean Rotors

    motorsport pad

    bed-in

    1. After reaching medium speed engage brake pedal to slow car without coming to a complete stop. Release pedal quickly and do not drag brakes. Repeat four or five times.

    2. At higher speeds engage brake pedal to slow car without coming to a complete stop. Release pedal quickly and do not drag brakes. Repeat five times.

    3. At or near race speed engage brake pedal to slow car without coming to a complete stop. Release pedal quickly and do not drag brakes. Repeat three times. Allow a few seconds between brake engagements while car is in motion.

    4. Do not hold brake pedal. Park car for approximately 20 minutes or until brake rotors are completely cool to the touch.

    5. If during the above steps the brake pedal becomes soft or brake fade is noticed, park the car immediately for approximately 20 minutes. Do not hold brake pedal.

    IMPORTANT REMINDERS WHEN BURNISHING/BEDDING BRAKE PADS

    • Do not attempt to use badly worn or damaged rotors with new brake pads.
    • Do not drag brakes while car is moving during break-in procedure.
    • Do not engage pedal while car is stopped at any time following the break-in procedure.
    • Upon completing the procedure, allow the brake system to completely cool before racing.
    • Applying the pedal a few times before the start of the race will allow the brake pads to heat up before attempting to reach race speeds.
    • Clean a used rotor surface with fine sand paper or steel wool, rinse with water, dry and install before bedding new pads.
    • Some forms of racing don’t allow time for the proper break-in procedure to be performed. However, it is still very important to attempt to perform at least the core of the procedure: Build up heat slowly and allow the system to completely cool down before racing if possible.

    Motorcycle pad

    Bed-In

    Warning – New brake pads can take up to 200 miles to completely bed-in, so avoid extreme braking until the pad and rotor achieve sufficient surface contact.

    Motorcycle Metallic Bed-In Instructions

    1. After installing new brake pads, make 10 stops from 30 mph to 15 mph.

    2. Make an additional 10 stops from 50 mph to 15 mph, with as little time between stops as possible.

    Motorcycle Organic Bed-In Instructions

    1. No special bed-in required, but still avoid extreme braking for first 200 miles.

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  • Saving Contaminated Pads and Rotors

    Hey all, I just found out that my rear pads and rotors are contaminated. I remember reading somewhere on Shimano’s site that all Rotors CAN be saved from contamination with propper cleaning and resurfacing the rotor and cleaning with Isopropyl Alcohol. I attempted this method with both pads and rotors and still squeaking. Wondering if anyone has another method. Brakes are Shimano XT M985 with Ice-Tech Rotors. I want to make sure I can save the rotors before I buy new pads and ruin those.

    You can sand and clean and sand and clean and sometimes save rotors. It worked for me on a rotor that had been doused in fork oil.

    I just want to make sure that I clean the rotor best I can before installing new pads, I have been reading more here about other ways to do it, I am to the point where I am first of all, find a giant hill and get going as fast as I can and hit the brakes a couple times to see if I can heat up the brakes and make the squeeking go away to see if that fixes the problem, if that does not work I am going to rough up the rotor, then spray the rotors down with simple green to clean them, then spray them down with Isopropyl and let air dry. Then install the new ice-tech pads. Thoughts?

    you want a clean rotor take them off and wash with a clean rag and acetone

    don’t let acetone anywhere near anything plastic and no where near the bike, one mistake and it’ll eat paint and plastics like cable housings

    isopropyl is good too but if you have acetone that will not only clean oil but will remove any glazed crap too. it’s a far meaner solvent than alcohol

    no acetone then alcohol, then simple green + water then alcohol again is also damn good idea

    just get new pads. trying to resurrect contaminated pads just makes a person mean

    How do you know they are contaminated? Do you know that you got something on them, or are you just assuming that they are contaminated because they are making noise?

    You may get away with heating the pads, I’ve used a small butane burner, used the elements on the oven (don’t do this unless you hate your flatmates, place stinks and fills with smoke).
    But if they’re really bad you’re going to have to change the pads.

    Im assuming that they are contaminated due to the fact that after sanding the pads and rotors and cleaning them with Isopropyl Alcohol and trying to bed them in still they are howling. Did the same process front and rear and the rear is the only one giving me issues. Would you guys still recommend the acetone if they are Ice-tech Rotors?

    I will say I usually spray some Dawn Water on the rotors to quiet them down when bedding in, could this cause issues as well?

    Yeah, how did you “just find out” your pads & rotor are contaminated? Usually one makes a mistake and actively contaminates the rotor or brake line failure sprays the rotor. Did someone call you and tell you they contaminated your pads and rotor?

    Dude, “bedding in” means to transfer material from the pads to the rotor. Adding “Dawn Water” (WTF is Dawn Water?”) most likely interferes with the bedding in process.

    I used to work at a LBS that didnt try to save pads or rotors that were contaminated. The bike was purchased used and I am just trying to get it going. I do not know what the previous owner did.

    Dawn water, a couple drops or Dawn dish soap in a spray bottle filled with water.

    Find a big hill and just drag the rear brake lightly the whole way, that will get it hot. If that doesn’t work you’ll need new pads.
    I’m not sure what is on Dawn but I’d have thought you’d want something abrasive, we used to use mud!

    Get a torch & burn each pad for a minute. Let em smoke. Let em cool. Clean the rotor with alcohol while you’re waiting for the pads to cool. Sand the pads & try em out. Works every time.

    Sadly just unsing degreaser, brake cleaner or alcohol on the pads doesn’t usually work. There is contamination deep in the pad that these products leave. You’ve got to burn it out. If the contamination is really bad some times you need to torch them for longer than a minute, but most of the time that is enough for each pad.

    Ah, NOW it begins to make sense! This would have been good info in your initial post.

    I’ve used XT/Icetech for over a decade on 4+ bikes. I’ve never had an issue with contamination on this system. The one time I couldn’t resolve the squealing, it was a faulty brake that (I suspect) was slowly leaking fluid around the piston. It that case, it was continually contaminating itself.

    That doesn’t mean it can’t happen of course, but the times I’ve had persistent noise was when one piston would extend with the other one stuck.

    I recommend looking to see if this is the issue. If it is, you can free up the piston and that should solve the problem (and it’s free).
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQXFFgRButo

    If that doesn’t work, then cough up the bucks and just get new pads and rotors. But look at the pistons first as it may save you some $$.

    In the future, don’t put anything on the pads/rotors prior to using them, as it will just boil off the water and deposit whatever is in the water (dawn detergent, degreaser, coyote sh*t, whatever) onto the pads. But, like I said, I’ve never had a noise issue that wasn’t resolved either by adjusting the pads, or cleaning the pads/rotor with alcohol, other than the faulty brake. I’ve never baked, sanded, blowtorched, etc., any pads or rotors, but every once in a while I’ll get detergent on them. But I rinse them pretty thoroughly after with plain water.

    – Team Novak – How To Clean a Brushless Motor –

    How to Clean Rotors STEP 1 — Tools Needed

    Cleaning the motor is a fairly straight forward process. You will need a 3/32″ hex wrench and a small pair of needle-nose pliers.

    How to Clean Rotors STEP 2 — Disassemble The Motor

    The first step is to remove the front end bell from the motor. The motor is held together with three long 4-40 cap screws. Loosen the screws with the 3/32″ hex wrench and remove from motor.

    STEP 3 — Remove The Front End Bell

    Remove the front end bell from the motor–If seems stuck, pull it at an angle to break it free.

    *You should note that there is a piece of insulating paper inside the end bell–Be sure not to lose it or any of the shims that may be on the rotor’s pinion shaft or stuck on the bearing.

    How to Clean Rotors STEP 4 — Remove The Rotor

    Grasp the pinion shaft of the rotor and slowly pull the rotor straight out of the motor. If it seems to be caught or the magnetic strength is holding it too hard, use the needle-nose pliers to hold the pinion shaft and pull the rotor out.

    Carefully set the rotor aside on a clean towel or soft surface–The high magnetic strength of the rotor will attract it to other metal objects, and contact with a hard object can easily crack the magnet.

    How to Clean Rotors STEP 5 — Clean Out The Motor

    Using a soft bristle brush or compressed air, carefully clean the inside of the motor being sure to remove any dirt and debris that may have found its way inside.

    Never use solvents such as motor or brake cleaners to clean out motor.

    How to Clean Rotors STEP 6 — Clean The Rotor

    Use the brush or compressed air to clean off the rotor, paying special attention to the bearing and magnet surfaces. The rotor is highly magnetic so metal debris may be stuck to it and must be removed to prevent damage to the inside of the motor.

    How to Clean Rotors STEP 7 — Clean Out The Front End Bell

    Use the brush or compressed air to clean out the front end bell housing, paying close attention to the bearing. This is a good opportunity to check the bearing to make sure it operates smoothly–The bearing’s inner shield can be oiled if desired, but do not use more than a drop or two of oil or it will attract dirt and debris.

    How to Clean Rotors STEP 8 — Inspect The Motor

    Visually inspect the interior of the motor to be sure that it is free of debris that may interfere with the rotation of the rotor.

    How to Clean Rotors STEP 9 — Install The Rotor

    Re-install the rotor into the motor by grasping the pinion shaft with the needle-nose pliers, and slowly and carefully sliding the rotor down into the motor until the shaft is properly inserted into the rear bearing. A small plastic tube (like the one shown here that we ship our rotors in) or a rolled up piece of a business card can help protect and center the rotor as it is inserted into the motor.

    How to Clean Rotors STEP 10 — Install The Front End Bell

    Re-install the front end bell and the 3 main 4-40 cap screws onto the motor, making sure to put the paper insulator and any removed shims back in place.

    How to Clean Rotors STEP 11 — Tighten The Screws

    Use the 3/32″ hex wrench to slowly tighten the three main 4-40 motor screws, making sure there is no binding of the rotor as it is tightened–The rotor should be able to spin freely at all times.

    How to Clean Rotors STEP 12 — Check The End Play

    Check that the rotor has the proper amount of free end play. There should be approximately 0.010-0.020” (0.25-0.50mm) of end play. If necessary, add or remove shims from the pinion side of the motor shaft until the proper amount of end play is reached.

    How to Clean Rotors

    There are many things that can cause your anti-lock brake (ABS) light to come on. Some of those things are serious, but oftentimes it just means you need to clean the sensors. One or more dirty wheel sensors (all cars with anti-lock brakes have at least one) can cause the system to trigger the ABS light during the computer’s self-evaluation cycle. Of course, you should never ignore the light, but before you drive to your mechanic and pay for someone to clean it, you can easily do it yourself. You’ll be shocked when you see how much road gunk can accumulate on this very important sensor. Furthermore, since the sensor is also used in some traction control systems if you’ve got traction control, or anti-skid, warning light illuminated, you might find that cleaning the ABS sensors will remedy this as well.

    Even if your ABS light hasn’t made an appearance, it’s a good idea to clean the sensors on a regular basis. A good time to do it would be during brake pad replacement when the wheels are already off the car. At this point, it’s a 10-minute job rather than an hour or two.

    What You’ll Need

    How to Clean Rotors

    First, check with your owner’s manual to see where your ABS sensors are located. There will be at least one and up to four. Then get your tools together. You’ll need:

    • Ratchet wrench and sockets
    • Ratchet extension
    • Jack
    • Jack stands
    • A strong rag

    A clean work area really helps you stay organized by allowing you to easily keep track of tools and parts and avoid making costly mistakes. Remember, it’s never safe to work on a car supported by just a jack. Use jack stands!