How to prevent brake dust buildup

Updated July 19, 2017

Brake dust build-up is one of those annoying things that can be frustrating to prevent and can make the alloy wheels on your car look dingy. And if brake dust is left on your wheels long enough without being cleaned off, it may cause permanent damage to the finish of your wheels. Refinishing wheels is costly and time consuming, so preventing a problem from brake dust is important.

Regularly clean your wheels. One of the most important steps to take in the elimination of brake dust is to simply clean your wheels regularly with soapy water and a soft wash mitt. Hose your wheels down and then wash them with the mitt, ensuring that you clean between the spokes of the wheels as well. Be careful with alloy wheel cleaning solutions, as some of them are too strong for the finish on alloy wheels and can cause damage. Dry the wheels thoroughly and then apply a high quality wax to them. The wax will discourage the build-up of dust as well as make it easier to clean your wheels regularly. Try to wipe your wheels down at least once a week.

Change your brake pads. All brake pads produce some amount of brake dust but you can reduce the amount of dust by switching from conventional brake pads to a set of ceramic brake pads, which will produce less dust. Shop around and compare the claims from the various brake pad manufacturers to find a pad that will suit your needs and produce less dust.

Install brake dust shields. Most cars already come with brake dust shields, but you can always install larger shields. To install them, raise the vehicle with a floor jack and remove the wheels where you will be installing the dust shield. Install the dust shield according to the manufacturer's directions and reinstall the wheel.

Things You'll Need

  • Soap and water
  • Clean rags
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About the Author

William Zane has been a freelance writer and photographer for over six years and specializes primarily in automotive-related subject matter among many other topics. He has attended the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, where he studied automotive design, and the University of New Mexico, where he studied journalism.