Brake lubricant, sometimes called brake grease or brake lube, is a heat-resistant coating for your brakes. It improves function, boosts longevity and reduces noise. Brake lubricant isn’t the same thing as brake fluid, which runs inside the hydraulic brake system. Most people know to replace their brake pads and brake fluid as routine maintenance, but using brake lubricant is also important. This substance keeps brakes functioning at their best.
How Brakes Work: The Basics
A car’s brake system uses hydraulic tubes to send brake fluid into the caliper, a part that looks like a clamp placed on the wheel’s rotor. Pressure causes the caliper to press the brake pads (pieces of ceramic or ceramic-metal hybrid) against the brake discs (an iron piece on the car’s suspension.)
The friction of these parts making contact slows and eventually stops the car. Friction also generates a lot of heat that damages the brake components over time. This is why brake pads require frequent replacements.
Why Brake Lubricant Improves and Protects Brakes
Brake lubricant isn’t made of petroleum, which can degrade brake parts. It’s a special formulation that is heat-resistant as well as non-damaging. It can come in a tube or in the form of a spray, such as CRC Disc Brake Quiet Aerosol Spray 9oz.
Unlike brake fluid, brake lubricant goes on the outside of the braking systems. Since lubricant decreases friction, it’s important to never apply brake lube to the fronts of the brake pads. Instead, apply to these parts only:
- Caliper bushings
- Caliper pins
- Backs of brake pads
- Mounting tabs of brake pads
- Pad mounts
The Functions of Brake Lubricant
Brake lubricant improves brake performance on all types of vehicles. The more quickly and easily brake components can come into contact with each other, the better and faster the vehicle stops. Therefore, the first function of brake lubricant is to keep each component moving easily for responsive braking.
Brake lubricant also protects against corrosion. Since many parts of the brake contain metal and some are exposed to the elements, applying brake lubricant stops rust buildup that can slow down braking and even damage your vehicle.
The high temperatures of brake components can also cause long-term damage. The brakes on an average car can reach temperatures of 280 degrees. If you’re reaching high speeds or towing, this temperature can go even higher. Brake lubricant can withstand these temperatures and prevent the heat from warping or breaking key brake components.
Lastly, brake lubricant can stop squealing, groaning and other unpleasant braking noises. Degraded brake pads typically cause squealing, but dirt and debris can contribute as well. If you’ve recently replaced your brake pads and your brakes are functional, a brake lube like CRC De-Squeak Aerosol Spray 11.25 oz can help reduce unwanted noise.
How Often To Apply Brake Lubricant
To keep your brakes in optimal shape, apply brake lubricant every 12,000 miles or once a year. Reducing the wear and tear of heat and friction on brake machinery helps keep your vehicle safe and squeal-free.