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How to Remove Grease from Brake Pads on a Mountain Bike

How to remove grease from brake pads

Have you ever heard a creaking sound when cycling? That squealing kind of sound brakes do when something is not working correctly? Do you feel your brakes are not responding correctly, too?

Then, it may be time to check on your brake pads to see if they have accumulated any grease, and of course, remove it. Here are some things to take note of before you get your hands to work!

First of all, although we talk about brake pads in mountain bikes, we may be referring to things that may not look the same on all bikes. Although the working principle is quite the same, “pads” may vary in the way they work against the wheel or disc, and even today, some bike models don’t use the conventional system.

Brake pads have provided a significant benefit in mountain biking because of their effectiveness and low maintenance. If you turn your bike wheels up, you will discover that there’s a mechanism that includes far more things than just the pads close to the wheels.

In the case of disc brake pads, for example, you can find a disc mounted on the hub of the wheel. That disc rotates with it, and through a caliper, where the pads are found. As you squeeze the lever, the pads compress the disc, forcing it to slow down or come to a full stop.

How to remove grease from brake pads

How to Remove Grease from Brake Pads

Should you hear a squealing sound when braking, the first thing your mind should come up with is the contamination of the brake pads. And the most common type of contamination is, by far, grease. This grease may come from services done to your bike, in which people handling it were not careful enough and touched the disc, or from cycling on oily surfaces.

What you need to do in this case is to remove the pads and disc, clean with a bike degreaser or alcohol, and dry with a kitchen paper or clean cloth. Some bikers claim that using a strong detergent does no harm, but we do not recommend that since its use is entirely different.

Sometimes, a soft piece of sand-paper may come in handy to grind off some of the contaminants. Some of them may have been there for quite a long time, and usually get stuck to the discs or pads. Once dry, be very careful not to touch the disc, since your fingers may contaminate it again. Restore everything to its original position.


This video from MTB Mag shows you the step-by-step process of removing grease:

Getting Help to Remove Grease

If you do not feel sure about doing it yourself, your local bike shop can do it for you. Just be careful as they might advise you to change the whole braking system, even though it’s usually not necessary.

In general, you will only need to change your brake pads, disc, or any part of the braking system, if these parts do not respond at all after cleaning.