Can You Use Brake Cleaner To Clean A Serpentine Belt?

If your serpentine belt is dirty and you aren’t quite sure what to do with it, you might be wondering if you can clean it with brake cleaner.

So, can you use brake cleaner to clean a serpentine belt?

Let’s look at that.

Can You Use Brake Cleaner To Clean A Serpentine Belt?

You can clean it with brake cleaner but it might cause the belt to squeak. What are you cleaning off of it? Spraying it off with brake cleaner or water right after you spill something is fine.

Product Recommendations:

Can You Put Brake Cleaner On Belts?

There are a few different types of brake cleaners. Most use a potent solvent to remove grease, oil and grime from brake parts.

The most powerful brake cleaners are chlorinated. They are often identified with a greenish tint or label. These contain 1,1,1-trichloroethane and possibly other chlorinated solvents. They may also contain methylene chloride, acetone and methanol.

Trichloroethane is considered extremely toxic if ingested or inhaled in large quantities. But it acts as a drying agent and evaporates quickly without leaving residue behind.

There are also non-chlorinated brake cleaners available that use a variety of other chemicals, including acetone, methanol and toluene.

Does Brake Cleaner Break Down Rubber?

Brake cleaners are solvents designed to remove brake fluid, grease, oil and other contaminants from brake parts. They are typically low in toxicity and non-corrosive, but care should be taken when using them since they are powerful and flammable.

Beware that this cleaner is extremely powerful and may damage rubber, plastics, painted surfaces, or electrical components, so it should be used carefully and only on non-painted metal components.

If you need to clean rubber parts or seals on your vehicle’s braking system, use a spray lubricant instead of a brake cleaner. Most manufacturers recommend that motorists refrain from using brake cleaners on their vehicles altogether due to concerns over its effect on rubber parts in the braking system.

Can I Spray Brake Cleaner On Serpentine Belt?

An auto enthusiast has this to say:

You could, but it won’t do any good. Brake cleaner is designed to evaporate in a matter of seconds, leaving no residue behind.

What you need to do is take the serpentine belt off and clean the belt tensioner (as well as all the other pulleys), and then coat everything with a light film of grease or belt dressing.

The tensioner should have a grease fitting at the top that you can inject grease into. If it doesn’t, remove the bolt and spray some WD-40 in there and work it back and forth to try to force some of the old grease out.

I recommend using a spray lubricant on the other pulleys instead of grease because spraying is easier than trying to get a blob of grease on every pulley.

Also, a lot of pulleys are plastic these days, and they tend to disintegrate when exposed to automotive grease, which is heavily petroleum-based (lots of solvents).

One more thing: Once you have everything cleaned up and greased/sprayed, run the engine for about 15 minutes — preferably with your air compressor’s air intake hose sucking air from under the hood so you can keep an eye on things without getting baked by the sun.

Can You Spray Engine Degreaser On The Serpentine Belt?

No, you cannot spray degreaser on the serpentine belt.

The serpentine belt is made from rubber, and petroleum-based degreasers will destroy the rubber. The belt will start to crack, and eventually it will break, causing you to lose all of your pulleys and the alternator.

Treating the belt with a degreaser will not clean it. In fact, it can make the belt very slippery and cause your car to lose power steering or even engine function in some cases.

Instead, you should use soap and water to wash off any contaminants on your belt. If there is any grease or grime that you can’t remove with soap and water, a gentle brush will help. After washing the belt, wipe it down with a dry towel to remove any excess moisture.

Will Brake Cleaner Hurt Rubber Gasket?

You can find the MSDS for your particular brand of cleaner at the manufacturer’s website or by calling their customer service number.

You’ll note that it says that if you use brake cleaner as a solvent, then it has a flash point of -4°F (-20°C). The flash point is the lowest temperature at which it gives off enough vapor to ignite.

The second important thing is that brake cleaner evaporates quickly. It evaporates so quickly that it doesn’t have nearly enough time to soak into and soften most gaskets.

However, it does attack adhesives. So if you are using rubber gaskets with adhesive backing, it will attack and dissolve that adhesive, which may ruin your gasket. Therefore don’t spray brake cleaner on any gasket unless you’re absolutely sure there’s no adhesive used.

Can I Clean My Alternator With Brake Cleaner?

In order to replace the alternator on your vehicle, you have to first clean it since it is the component that holds all the other components together. Using a simple spray can of brake cleaner will do. Once you are done cleaning the alternator, you can now proceed to clean and replace its components.

For this, you need to remove all the components of the alternator such as voltage regulator/rectifier, brushes, regulator/brush holder and so on.

Clean these components with a simple spray can of brake cleaner. When cleaning them ensure that you shake off any electrical charge that might still be present in them before spraying them with the brake cleaner.

After cleaning, make sure that there is no dust or dirt left behind. Wipe each component dry with a clean cloth before reassembling them back into their original place.

Can I Wash Serpentine Belt?

There’s no good reason to not wash your serpentine belt. In fact, the process is pretty simple, and the most important thing to remember is to never wash a serpentine belt with water alone.

Washing a serpentine belt should always be done with a commercial car wash product designed for washing car parts. The most common product for this purpose is Meguiar’s Ultimate Quik Detailer, which comes in a spray bottle and is usually available at auto parts stores.

The main goal of washing your serpentine belt is to remove any dirt or grime that might be embedded in the rubber, so it’s important to keep your hands away from the belt while you’re spraying the cleaner onto it.

If you need to clean up any areas where there’s more than a few specks of dirt on the surface (especially around the pulleys), you can use an automotive-specific model of a microfiber cleaning cloth.

Can I Use Brake Cleaner To Clean Transmission Parts?

If you ask someone this question, the answer you get may be “no”, but it is entirely possible to clean transmission parts with brake cleaner. Brake cleaner is strong stuff and should be used with caution, but in many cases it can do the job of cleaning transmission parts.

Treating a dirty transmission with anything can be tricky because you have to soak it in something that won’t harm the transmission and that will remove all of the grime. If you don’t think brake cleaner will work for this, try soaking the transmission in simple green or a similar product.

The added benefit of using brake cleaner is that it will evaporate quickly and not leave behind a residue that may harm the transmission.

It’s important to note that brake cleaner isn’t designed for this purpose and is not as gentle on rubber as other cleaners. Be particularly careful when working around seals because brake cleaner can dissolve rubber.

Using brake cleaner on a transmission is generally fine, but there are some caveats. If you plan to use it on your own car, read the bottle carefully to make sure that it is safe for use on rubber parts.

This may mean spraying it onto something else and then wiping it onto the parts rather than spraying them directly with the product itself.

Can You Use Brake Cleaner To Clean A Serpentine Belt – Conclusion

As a recap of the response we gave to the question, Can You Use Brake Cleaner To Clean A Serpentine Belt?

You can clean it with brake cleaner but it might cause the belt to squeak. What are you cleaning off of it? Spraying it off with brake cleaner or water right after you spill something is fine.

Thanks for reading.

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