For those who like their wheels looking spotless, brake dust is the sole bane of their existence.
This dust is different from road dirt that your wheels inevitably pick up during the normal course of driving.
It’s darker and finer-grained than your garden-variety dirt, often appearing reddish-brown in colour.
That alone is enough to stain the most beautiful alloys, and it’s essential you get rid of it as soon as possible.
What causes brake dust?
That reddish-brown brake dust is mostly made up of iron.
That iron comes from your brake disk – or brake rotor, as some call it – and that’s comprised mainly of iron.
The dust appears when the brake pads contact the brake rotor, causing erosion.
Most automotive brake pads comprise of a semi-metallic compound consisting of steel fibre mixed with other additives.
Should I be worried about it?
Fret not, your brakes aren’t “dying” or “wearing out” in the absolute sense when you see brake dust.
Sure, braking causes wear and tear on the rotors and calipers, but it’s not something to be unduly worried about unless your braking performance deteriorates.
When you see brake dust, it’s just a byproduct of your brakes working hard to bring you to a stop.
It’s nothing to be too worried over.
How do I prevent the dust from soiling my alloys?
Changing to aftermarket braking kits could mitigate the problem of brake dust occurring.
You need deep pockets though, as the Twaron (synthetic fibre) and Kevlar alternatives are extremely pricey.
For “normal” passenger cars, that’s probably not something most drivers would want to spend on.
The only thing to prevent brake dust from spoiling your alloys is to keep them clean by going for regular car washes.
Some car care products are specifically meant for cleaning your brakes, so that’s something to keep an eye out for.