Caring for Wheels and Tyres – Brake Dust

If you’ve ever tried to clean your wheels you’ll know how difficult the task is – not to mention how hard it is to protect them from further contamination. Ironically, your wheels themselves are often the enemy, as the friction between their brake disks and brake pads creates brake dust – an insidious mix of materials such as carbon fibre, metal filing and glue that is rubbed off the brake pads and onto your alloys. Not only is it unpleasant to look at, but it’s highly corrosive and, thanks to the elements of glue, very hard to remove.

The solution to this problem is to find a way to either protect the alloys from any dust exposure, or to clean the wheels often enough that the metal filings in the dust never have a chance to oxidise and start corroding your rim’s protective coating – or worse, the rim itself.

To protect the alloys, you can use dust shields, which sit between the rim and the hub to protect the former from dust whilst still allowing air to flow through. Although these are a proven method of minimising dust exposure, be warned that they can compromise the aesthetics of your wheels, and are also generally unsuitable for high performance cars. An alternative to these is to buy specialist, low dust, brake pads. These can be made from a variety of substances, such as a kevlar or ceramic compounds, and some even improve brake performance as well as reducing dust.

The alternative to protective solutions is regular cleaning, which can be hard to keep up if you have a busy schedule – or just don’t feel like braving the cold outdoors! To be effective, you’ll need to wash your wheels at least once a week – ensuring you remove all brake dust – and re-apply protective coatings at least every three months. Although this sounds arduous it’s well worth the effort: just a few minutes’ washing every week will prevent corrosion kicking in and save you an expensive alloy bill further down the line.

If your car needs a little TLC, you can also phone Diamond Alloys to ask about our valet service – a great way to kick start a new cleaning regime!


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