The dust generated by your brake pads can build up on your wheels and leave them looking dingy. If left on the wheel surface for too long, it may actually damage the finish. Refinishing wheels can be costly, so you may find that you'd rather keep the brake dust at a minimum instead. The more proactive you can be about limiting dust build-up, the longer lifespan you'll get from your rims. Here are a few suggestions to help you keep the brake dust at bay.
Clean The Wheels
The first line of defense to keep the brake dust from accumulating is to clean your wheels frequently. A soft cloth or sponge soaked in a warm water and gentle detergent solution will do just that. Rinse the rims with your garden hose, then scrub them with the sponge. Rinse everything completely afterward so that there's no residue. Avoid any water spots by drying the rims with a soft cloth.
When you create the solution, use a mild dish detergent or a solution that's designed for car washing. Avoid any harsh cleaning solutions because the chemicals can damage the alloy wheels. If you wash them every week, this will help keep them clean. You can even apply automotive wax to the wheels to help keep the dust from sticking.
Install Brake Dust Shields
Although most cars have small dust shields installed at the factory, those shields are often too small to block enough dust. If you want to keep the dust transfer at a minimum, opt for larger shields from an aftermarket parts retailer or your local brake mechanic. You have to remove the wheel to install the shield, so consider whether you can install it yourself or if you need your mechanic's help.
Buy Low-Dust Brake Pads
Although every form of brake pads will produce some dust, there are ceramic pads and similar materials that don't generate as much dust as traditional pads. Ceramic holds up to the heat of the brake operation much better than traditional pads, so there's less dust production. In addition, ceramic dust doesn't stick as easily, so you're less likely to have buildup on the wheels.
The more attention you pay to the brake system and the dust accumulation, the longer lifespan you'll get from your wheels. For more advice, talk with your brake mechanic today. He or she may suggest other upgrades or modifications that will reduce dust production or help you keep it away from the wheels.