Brake dust can be an unsightly nightware to freshly cleaned rims. To help prevent brake dust build-up as much as possible, there are a few simple ways to guard against this. Especially if you have Brembo ceramic pads or another ceramic pad, brake dust can be more of a problem.
If you drive a Corvette or other high-performance car, brake dust is also unfortunately very common (based on my own personal experience) due to softer high-performance pads.
In this blog, I’ll run through a few ways to first remove brake dust from your rims, how to prevent brake dust, and a few products I’ve seen to be effective.
Removing Brake Dust
If you’re looking for a solution to getting rid of brake dust, you’ve got several options. High pressure is a great idea if you have access to a pressure washer, and should remove most of it combined with a cleaning product safe for your set of rims
If you have equipment (and quite a bit of caked on brake dust) you might want to remove the tire completely to access the entire rim. Below is a product that has pretty good reviews on Amazon that you may want to check out:
DeCon Wheel Decontaminator by Chemical Guys
- Step 1: This product is a wheel decontaminant, and turns purple when the iron contaminants react with the solution. The less purple it turns, the cleaner you wheel is.
- Step 2: Use a wheel brush with soap and water once the de-greaser has started to do its job. You may want to use some smaller brushes to get in between lug nuts and hard to reach parts of the wheel.
- Step 3: Rise the solution off of the wheel, and make sure the surface is wiped down and free of any brake dust particles before applying any anti-brake dust products. You want to make sure that you don’t trap any particles to the rim surface.
Other degreasers should fit the bill for removing brake dust, but you can also try products like iron removers, or for more extreme cases, acid-based cleaners.
Is Removing Brake Dust Really That Important?
The short answer is yes. Going a few weeks or even a month without washing your rims isn’t really going to do permanent damage, but left untreated, it definitely can.
Brake dust particles when heated can cause permanent damage to the rim (if there is a good solid coating) beyond the point of cleaning. While it’s nothing to be absolutely obsessive about necessarily, it is worth removing from time to time.
5 Ways to Prevent Brake Dust from Accumulating
If you’re tired of constantly cleaning your alloy wheels to remove unsightly brake dust, there are a few things you can do to prevent brake dust buildup from happening in the first place. Here are 3 methods to try:
Try Aftermarket Pads
Especially if you have a performance car, one option is to have an aftermarket pad installed that are marketed as ‘low dusting’ pads. Many of these are ceramic pads and contain a unique formula of Kevlar, synthetics, and carbon fibers.
Check out these low-dusting pads from Brake Warehouse if you are considering bringing your car in to have them replaced. Also be sure to have them installed by a professional who may have other recommendations.
Install a Brake Dust Shield
This is one of the most effective methods for preventing brake dust from reaching the rim of your car. A shield basically fits inside of your wheel between the rotors and contains vents to allow your brakes to cool since it is providing a barrier between the outside and your brakes.
These come in pairs, and can be found for somewhere around $30-$50 on Amazon, depending on your car’s make and model. Many of these brake dust shields are made by Dorman and come in pairs. Just be sure to use Amazon’s fitment tools at the top of the listing to make sure you select the right one for your car.
This is a pretty popular product for preventing brake dust as well as protecting you entire car, although I have not personally used it.
This product is said to work magic on wheels since it is a silica soap, and brake dust will pretty much slide right off of the surface better than just about anything. It forms a protective barrier that can be used to coat your entire vehicle and protects against dirt and other contaminants.
It is pretty expensive, but you can check the price and read the reviews on Amazon here.
DuPont Non-Stick Spray with Teflon
You may want to try a non-stick spray with Teflon, but keep in mind this may not be a permanent fix unless Teflon is heated. Especially for 4×4 vehicles, having your wheels powder coated is a good idea, but it’s best to consult a professional who is familiar with this process.
Before applying any type of product, you want to remove the wheel from your car. Never apply any sprays while the wheels are still on, since you can risk brake failure.
Armour All Outlast Brake Dust Repellent
If you don’t want to wait for Amazon to deliver any of the previous products mentioned, you might want to run out and pick up a can of Armour All Brake Dust Repellent. This product has some decent reviews, and while it may not work as well as some of the other products, give it a try.
Based on the reviews I’ve read, it does a decent job on chrome and alloy, but can leave a slight white haze or residue on darker-colored rims. Again, you get what you pay for when it comes to cleaning products.
Brake dust is something that WILL happen for most people, it’s just a matter of cleaning it off and protecting your rims from particles from sticking to it. While all pads I’ve read about leave behind some dust, ceramic pads may be your best bet for most, since the particles left behind are a lighter color.
Have any other suggestions for removing brake dust and protecting your wheels? Let us know in the comments!