How to Lubricate Brake Pads

How to Lubricate Brake Pads

How to lubricate brake caliper pads is a long-known question among brake repair professionals and brake maintenance enthusiasts.

How to Lubricate Brake Pads

It may sound simple enough but some may find it very difficult when they are first faced with this task. They usually take one step at a time and before you know it, they end up in an indecisive mood or they lose their nerve and quit right there. You don’t have to worry though because the steps listed below will help you with your questions on how to lubricate your brake caliper piston.

Check Your Pads

First off, if your cylinder slips out of the caliper due to excessive friction, you need to check your pads and lube them properly. You can do this by removing your hands from the area and running your hand over the inside edge of each pad.

If it feels oily, then that means that your friction material has been worn and is no longer able to give the required friction force to move the piston back and forth. In order to prevent such wear, lube your pads properly and try replacing your existing friction material. This will also help you get rid of the old lube and keep the new one from building up.

Two Types of Lube

You may have heard about the term “lube” but what exactly does it mean? Lube is a petroleum-based product that is used as a lubricant. There are two types of lube namely standard oil and synthetic lube.

Standard Oil

Standard oil is usually preferred by most mechanics as it provides enough lubrication to the moving parts without increasing the friction material.

Synthetic Lube

This lube on the other hand is usually preferred by brake repair professionals since it provides greater friction resistance and hence more effective lubrication than standard oil.

Lube on the Piston

Before you apply lube on the piston, make sure that your pad is clean and dry.

Lubricant is applied on the piston and then the pad is covered with a plastic shield to protect it. The pad is then inserted into the cylinder of the piston and the lube is allowed to flow through the open end of the piston.

The process continues until the pad reaches the caliper and out of reach of the friction material. Once it gets to the caliper, the friction material is reduced and the pad can be removed.

Lubricate Brake Caliper Pistons

How to lubricate brake caliper pistons: You should use only water for washing the pads.

You should also wipe the entire piston with a damp cloth in order to remove all traces of the lube.

Wipe it dry before re-inserting the pads. Remove the protective cover of the pads and wash them in hot, clean water.

Ensure that the water that you use is not too hot. This is because too much heat could cause the sealant to deteriorate.

How to Lubricate Brake Pads Manually

How to lubricate brake pads manually: For this type of cleaning, you will need a shop-vac or lawn mower with a long hose.

Lubricant is spread onto the pads using a rag.

Afterward, you have to move the hose away from the pad and slowly apply it over the pad, taking care to pay special attention to the area under the rubber shock absorbers. It is advisable to leave some room for air to circulate.

How to Lubricate Brake Caliper Ring Piston

How to lubricate brake caliper ring piston: For cleaning of a caliper ring, a mixture of ethyl acetate (rubbing alcohol) and water is used.

The pad liners are then vacuumed to remove the solvent and to keep the pad surface dry. Lubricant is again applied onto the ring and the mixture allowed to sit for some time.

The pad liners are vacuumed and once they are dry, they are wiped. Lubricant can also be used on the piston cup of the cylinder.

How to Lubricate Caliper Toe Link Piston

How to lubricate caliper toe link piston: For this type of cleaning, a combination of methylolene-ethylene (MAE) and water is used. The pad liners are then vacuumed to remove the solvent and the pad surface is wetted.

Lubricant is then applied onto the pad and the mixture allowed to sit for a time. The pad liner is then wiped and the entire process is repeated until the pad is free of dirt. Lubricant can also be used on the piston cup of the cylinder.


Keeping your brakes lubricated is crucial to making sure they are working properly. It is important to ensure that the lubricant is properly applied to the brake section; an improperly lubricated brake can cause it to stop working completely.