Finding a Cure for Brake Dust
by Pat Goss
Here’s something that afflicts a lot of the cars on the road. I guess you’d call it ugly wheel syndrome. What it is, is the wheels, especially the front wheels, on a lot of automobiles turn black in a matter of a few days. That’s caused by dust from the front brake pads, and unfortunately you have to keep this clean not only for esthetics, but if you don’t it will actually etch into the finish on your wheels and maybe make them where they have to be refinished or in some cases even replaced.
The problem comes from metal in the front brake pads, and that of course is very corrosive. Cleaning them can be a problem because there are different coatings and finishes on wheels, so you have to make sure you know what finish is on your wheels and buy the appropriate wheel cleaner, because buy the wrong wheel cleaner, put it on your wheels, do more damage than the brake dust.
Some people choose to use dust shields that go into the back of the wheel. They do keep the dust down, but there are a couple of problems. Number one, if you’re a very aggressive driver you may get excessive heat buildup in the front brakes. The other thing is if you’ve got expensive wheels that are open as far as the style of them is concerned, these things are ugly shining through your wheel. They make it look like a wheel cover instead of a wheel. Not very appealing.
One thing that you could do that actually works, convert the brakes to ceramic. Ceramic brake pads do produce dust just like the metallics, but the dust is light colored so you don’t see it. Also because it doesn’t have metal in it, it is not corrosive and it’s not going to damage the finish on your wheels. So something to consider either right now or at the next brake job. It will make a world of difference in the way your wheels look.
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