Brake Maintenance

How to Prevent, Reduce and Remove Brake Dust


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The accumulation and presence of brake dust is a normal occurrence present on all model cars regardless of manufacturer. This minor nuisance is most present on the wheels of the car, especially after spirited driving or normal road use. When left untreated, brake dust will wreak havoc on the finish of most aluminum wheels, making it extremely hard to remove. As the wheels spin and brakes are applied, the brake dust will be baked on the finish of your aluminum wheels due to excessive heat. This causes streaks, unsightly marks, discoloration and damage. Here are a few tips on how to prevent, reduce and remove brake dust on your precious alloy wheels.

1. Let the Brakes and Wheels Cool Before Cleaning

Most enthusiasts are wary of the fact that alloy wheels must be allowed to cool prior to cleaning. This practice alone will play a detrimental part to preserve the finish of your alloy wheels. Let the brakes and wheels cool to a manageable temperature before spraying with water.

2. Wash the Wheels Regularly

Neglect is the cause of most stains on alloy wheels. Remember to clean the wheels regularly with clean water to protect and preserve the finish. It would also help to use mild, soapy water to remove stubborn dirt and contaminants that are embedded on the alloy wheels. You could also use a commercially available brake dust remover or brake dust cleaner to remove dirt and stains on the wheels. Follow the instructions indicated on the cleaner for a more effective cleaning solution.

3. Use Brake Dust Shields

This commercially available accessory is cheap insurance against the accumulation of brake dust on your alloy wheels. Brake dust shields act as a brake dust repellent and are usually made of aluminum placed between your wheels and brake rotors. Remember to purchase a set of vented dust shields, especially on high performance cars, to assist in brake cooling and efficiency. Brake dust shields are cheap, easy to install and available in a variety of colors, sizes and designs to suit any model car. 

4. Use High Quality Brake Pads

Cheap and inferior brake pads use low quality friction materials that produce a lot of dust under normal use. These pads are also prone to grinding noises, especially under high temperatures. Always insist on high quality or OEM brake pads for replacement. OEM or aftermarket pads are manufactured under the highest quality industry standards and use top notch friction inducing materials that provide more stopping power with less dust. You will notice the difference in your alloy wheels when using high quality brake pads. Not to mention the improved stopping power and quiet operation of your braking system.

5. Have the Brakes Inspected Regularly

Periodic maintenance of the braking system will determine the cause of excessive dust accumulation, as rough rotors and misaligned calipers or pads will result to excess friction, hence an increase in brake dust. Have the braking system checked regularly and the system adjusted in accordance to manufacturer's specifications every time the car is serviced.

Brake dust is harmful when inhaled and may cause adverse effects on people with asthma or other related health conditions. Remember to work in a well ventilated area when cleaning alloy wheels, and avoid inhalation of vapor or fumes when using wheel cleaners or aerosol products.

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