Numerous parts and components are used in the production of cars. While serving their individual purposes, they all become filthy and unsanitary. Practically speaking, not all parts of your car can be cleaned with the same cleaning agent. Every component should be cleaned differently, preferably with a cleaning agent designed for it. For instance, you’ll want to use a solvent designed for brake system cleaning to clean them. Every cleaner is specifically designed for the car part that it is meant to clean. Among the most popular, there is break cleaner, but also carb cleaner. Which is why you should compare brake cleaner vs carb cleaner before choosing which one you want to buy.
You can use brake cleaner or carb cleaner if you want to clean your brake system. But your car could sustain serious damage if the incorrect cleaner is used on a particular part or component. The damaged components will then need to be repaired or replaced, which will cost money.
So, the first question is: are brake cleaner and carb cleaner the same? They are not, in essence. Wearing nitrile gloves when cleaning will allow you to use brake cleaner without any issues, but using carb cleaner will cause them to quickly turn into goo. Carburetor cleaner is used to clean carburetors, whilst brake cleaner is used to clean brakes. Sometimes though, they are used for purposes other than those intended by their name.
In this article, we will see the differences between brake cleaner and carb cleaner, and which one you should prefer if you want to have one product to clean multiple parts of your car system. Let’s go!
What is Brake Cleaner ?
Brake cleaners are made exclusively for the brake system of your car, as the name suggests. It can clean brake shoes and pads when there is too much grease, oil, or brake fluid. Or even dust, filth, and debris.
Permatex 82220 Non-Chlorinated Brake and Parts Cleaner, 14.5 oz.
On any surface, brake cleaners are noted for drying quickly. Brake cleaner can be used on parts of your car other than the brake system; as a result, you can use the same cleaner to clean your brake pads, brake drums, shoe brakes, and other parts of your car. It is considerably safer to use this fluid because it may be used as a spray, thanks to its design.
Therefore, it not only does a superb job of removing the oil, dirt, and grime, but it also leaves nothing behind. For this reason, brake cleaner is preferred over carb cleaner by a large number of mechanics and drivers who perform their own auto repairs.
Brake cleaner is fantastic since, when utilized for its intended purpose, all that is required is a quick spray from the can onto the brake system’s working parts. The chemical compound eats straight through it because it cleans so thoroughly and cuts through any dirtiness.
Types of brake cleaner
Chlorinated and non-chlorinated brake cleaners are the two main categories of brake cleaner available on the market. Both come highly recommended for cleaning your brakes and other engine system parts.
However, because of its chemical congestion, the chlorinated form is somewhat damaging and aggressive to the human body. Tetrachloroethylene, which is bad for our skin, is used in its manufacturing. A non-chlorinated brake cleaner, on the other hand, is less potent than a chlorinated brake cleaner. However, if gloves are not provided, it is advised to wear some, whatever the composition of the product.
You should also refrain from using your brake cleaner on a powder-coated surface. This is done to stop the powder from becoming sticky and ruining your vehicle’s flawless surface.
What is Carb Cleaner ?
To keep your engine running smoothly and stop any muck accumulation from harming your engine, your carburetor should be cleaned at least twice a year. In that case, you use carb cleaner.
Gumout 800002230 Carb and Choke Cleaner, 16 oz.
Your carburetor is in charge of combining gasoline and air in your combustion chamber, and it’s made to achieve a very precise ratio for efficient combustion. It is simple to locate because it has fuel lines linked to it, but you should use caution when using it because it is known to cause cars’ paint to peel off when left exposed.
Carburetors are less prevalent because many more recent vehicles feature fuel injection systems, but they still need to be used with special care to protect your vehicle’s rubber seals, gaskets, and other components.
Carb cleaner is also quite effective at cleaning components that have oil, dirt, grime, or anything else that is making things unclean. Other components could also be cleaned using the solution. It must be done safely though, since the chemicals might be harmful in the wrong hands.
The most crucial thing to remember while using carb cleaning is to never apply the mixture on painted surfaces. The paint, particularly the one from your car’s body, will easily peel off.
Differences between Brake Cleaner vs Carb Cleaner
Brake Cleaner vs Carb Cleaner – Difference in Usage
Cleaning Plastic & Rubber
Being able to clean plastic parts and surfaces is one of its special qualities, which also helps to make brake cleaner the superior choice. In particular, non-chlorinated brake cleaners. Acetone, which dissolves plastic, is often absent from these items. Thus, they are usually secure.
That is generally not the case for carb cleaner, which is not recommended to clean plastic and rubber parts of your vehicle.
Whatever your choice between the 2 solutions, be sure there is no acetone present if you want to clean plastic or rubber parts. Brake lines and other rubber auto parts have a wax film covering the exterior. Over time, anything that can eat through that wax will also eventually eat through the rubber.
Neoprene & vinyl
Neoprene, vinyl and gaskets found on auto parts may all be safely cleaned with carb cleaner. That is not the case for brake cleaner.
Brake Cleaner vs Carb Cleaner – Difference in Quality
The fact that carb cleaner frequently leaves a residue distinguishes it from brake cleaner. Some mechanics might not give this element of the cleaner much thought, whilst others might be a little more meticulous and desire absolutely no residue.
The original purpose of the solution was to clean the carburetors of vintage cars. The component of the car known as the carburetor is responsible for combining gasoline and air in the internal combustion chamber, which ignites the engine of the car. The chamber’s interior would accumulate deposits over time from the particles that were produced, which required cleaning. In order to remove the particles and ensure good carburetor operation, a combination of strong chemicals was developed.
Brake Cleaner vs Carb Cleaner – Difference in Price
There is not a big difference in price between brake cleaner vs carb cleaner. Both products can be found around $10 online if you are buying only one item. The price changes a lot when quantities are more important.
If you are used to buy 12 pieces at the same time, then carb cleaner is less expensive. This statement is the same when you want to buy bigger quantities, like say, gallons or carb cleaner or a 55 gallon drum of brake cleaner.
Brake Cleaner vs Carb Cleaner: What You Should Choose
There is a good reason why brake and carburetor cleaners are produced separately. They perform separate tasks, hence they are entirely different formulations. They should only ever be used for the purposes for which they were intended.
Cleaners for brakes and carburetors shouldn’t be used interchangeably. However, occasionally you can clean a carburetor with a decent brake cleaner. Carburetor cleaning creates residue, which can further reduce braking effectiveness, thus you should never use it to clean your brakes.
Don’t make the mistake to use the incorrect cleaner on the incorrect component. It will cost much less to buy a can of each than it will to pay for repairs or new parts. Here are two interesting options for that:
Final Words on Brake Cleaner vs Carb Cleaner
You know now what you should use between brake cleaner vs carb cleaner, depending on your usage. But we want to insist on one last thing: the safe and secure use of the products we’ve specified is of utmost importance. There are many various treatments that have been developed for automobiles, but they often contain a combination of potentially hazardous chemicals that must be handled with great caution to prevent damage. Do not underestimate this and choose the cheapest option.
Vehicle lubricants, fluids, and other mixtures come in a variety of varieties. They have a specific role, and when parts become stained with these substances, cleaning them up can be challenging. Not to mention other kinds of grit and debris that end up contaminating car parts. A special product must be used to adequately clean parts due to the specific motor fluids and potential dirt buildup. So please be cautious.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can I use WD40 as carb cleaner ?
Unfortunately, since WD40 is an oil, it cannot be used to clean carburetors. As a quick and efficient way to clean your carburetor, we advise using a spray cleaning.
Can I replace brake cleaner with WD40 ?
No. WD40 will act as a lubricant on the friction surface of your brake pads, which is extremely hazardous and necessitates removal and thorough cleaning. Your brakes shouldn’t be treated with WD40.
Will carb cleaner hurt my engine ?
If the fuel and air passageways in your carburetor are blocked, it can affect the performance of your engine. Carburetor cleaning can clear away clogged debris and dirt deposits. But if you have any doubt, call your mechanic first.