Brake Dust

1 06 2017

Dale BertramI’m sure most of us have experienced this…you drive through an automatic car wash and when you get home you notice the clean shine of your entire vehicle…until you look down at the wheels.  What is that grime on the wheels?  That is brake dust… metallic particles, carbon fibers and adhesive residue from your vehicle’s brake pads that attaches to your wheels.

To keep it from building up it should be removed weekly as it essentially bakes on to the surface of alloy wheels.  It is recommended that you wash the wheels when they are cool to avoid streaking, discoloration and pitting. The adhesive residue in the dust causes it to bond firmly with the wheels and since they are most often acidic it starts a corrosion process.  The metal filings in the dust usually oxidize with the metal of the rims causing galvanic corrosion to occur. If you are removing the dust yourself be careful not to inhale the dust or the vapor from cleaning products especially designed to remove the grime.  This can be toxic and if you are asthmatic, harmful.

If your vehicle seems very prone to brake dust, you might consider having brake dust shields installed.  They come in a variety of colors, are inexpensive and easy to install.

You might also consider higher quality brake pads as poor quality ones produce a lot of dust. Having your brakes checked regularly (quarterly) is recommended as many times an adjustment is needed and this helps stop excessive dust.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Brakes made from organic materials (glass and rubber) wear faster so create more dust than brakes made from semi-metallic and metallic material. Ceramic brake pads have less metal and therefore less dust is created.
  • Brakes installed improperly can cause excessive dust.
  • If you have installed larger diameter wheels to your vehicle the size of the brakes and pads need to be larger as well or they will wear out quickly and increase the amount of dust during the process.
  • If the springs are worn it causes continual rubbing and if the pads are always touching the drums you get an increase in dust.
  • Overloading a vehicle with weight, driving hard, short stop and go trips, and leaving your foot on the brake pedal all increase brake dust.

Now we know that brake dust, though not harmful to your vehicle, is a nuisance and if you feel annoyed by it you are not alone as it is a top complaint among consumers.

 

 





Brake Dust

13 09 2012

Dale Bertram“Consumer Reports, which does extensive consumer-satisfaction research, does not include a question about brake dust in its studies.  The magazine doesn’t see brake dust as a reliability problem, said David Champion, who heads the magazine’s automotive testing. “It is something that is annoying that you clean off, but it is not actually a failure of the brakes,” he said.”

I’m sure most of us have experienced this…you drive through an automatic car wash and when you get home you notice the clean shine of your entire vehicle…until you look down at the wheels.  What is that grime on the wheels?  That is brake dust.  Brake dust is metallic particles, carbon fibers and adhesive residue from your vehicle’s brake pads that attaches to your wheels.

To keep it from building up it should be removed weekly as it essentially bakes on to the surface of alloy wheels.  It is recommended that you wash the wheels when they are cool to avoid streaking, discoloration and pitting. The adhesive residue in the dust causes it to bond firmly with the wheels and since they are most often acidic it starts a corrosion process.  The metal filings in the dust usually oxidize with the metal of the rims causing galvanic corrosion to occur. If you are removing the dust yourself be careful not to inhale the dust or the vapor from cleaning products especially designed to remove the grime.  This can be toxic and if you are asthmatic, harmful.

If your vehicle seems very prone to brake dust, you might consider having brake dust shields installed.  They come in a variety of colors, are inexpensive and easy to install.

You might also consider higher quality brake pads as poor quality ones produce a lot of dust. Having your brakes checked regularly (quarterly) is recommended as many times an adjustment is needed and this helps stop excessive dust.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Brakes made from organic materials (glass and rubber) wear faster so create more dust than brakes made from semi-metallic and metallic material. Ceramic brake pads have less metal and therefore less dust is created.
  • Brakes installed improperly can cause excessive dust.
  • If you have installed larger diameter wheels to your vehicle the size of the brakes and pads need to be larger as well or they will wear out quickly and increase the amount of dust during the process.
  • If the springs are worn it causes continual rubbing and if the pads are always touching the rotors you get an increase in dust.
  • Overloading a vehicle with weight, driving hard, short stop and go trips, and leaving your foot on the brake pedal all increase brake dust.

Though experts are not certain, brake dust may be causing another issue.  A deposit of orange dots are showing up on the back of light colored vehicles…even brand new ones sitting on car lots.  Even if you can’t see it on darker vehicles you can feel the bumps, like a rash, on the vehicles.  Some suspect it is caused by rain and dew or acid rain.  Others feel it is actual brake dust that is being blown back and settling on the vehicles.  A car that is outside gets moisture on its surface from the elements and this causes the metal filings to rust and stick to the paint.  Clay removes these deposits and protects the vehicle.  It is suggested that you get your vehicle detailed twice a year to prevent this build up.

Now we know that brake dust, though not harmful to your vehicle, is a nuisance and if you feel annoyed by it you are not alone as it is a top complaint among consumers.

Happy Motoring!

 

 

 





Easy Steps to Annihilate Your Car

19 04 2012

Dale BertramManufacturers have come a long way in the last few years.  They make vehicles that last if they are taken care of.  We have customers who are driving cars well over 300,000 miles because they get them serviced regularly. I still remember when cars seemed to be ready for the junk yard as you made the last payment and that was when the payments were for three years.

Some people though, seem determined to destroy their vehicles. They certainly don’t intend to drive them thousands of miles or even keep them in good shape to trade them in. I don’t know what the vehicle has done to them to deserve this so I’m not out to judge here, I am just sharing what I have been observing.  It is certainly easy to destroy a car and it doesn’t take a car crash to make it happen.  Being a guy who loves cars, I think they should be turned in for vehicle abuse but that is just me.

Drive it Gently- The quickest way to annihilate your car would be to drive it hard, we are not on a racetrack. Jackrabbit starts, quick stops, turning the steering wheel quickly, all will wear out a car faster than if you take off slowly, stop slowly and turn slowly.

I have two cars I drive. One is driven gently… it seldom needs repair, or any real maintenance. I have another that we drive some on the street, but also run at the track (road course, autocross, and drag race). This car needs a lot of maintenance… oil changes every 500 miles,  brake flush every month, brake pads every 6 months, tires every year.

This is with the same driver, basically the same car, just a major difference in driving style. There is a huge difference in the cost of maintenance.

Hold the Oil – We in the industry have said for years that oil is the life blood of a vehicle.  Keep it changed and your car will have a happy life and an oil change is kind to your budget.  I don’t know if some are seeing just how far they can go without changing the oil before the engine dies or if they just don’t understand the importance.  Either way, a car won’t last long without regular oil changes.

Let Metal Grind on Metal – Brake pads are essential to your car’s braking system.  They are also inexpensive compared to a full brake job.  Neglect them long enough and your car will suffer from brake failure.  I’m amazed how many people will drive along hearing the squealing, hissing or grinding noise from their brakes and not give it a thought.  Sadly, when the brakes fail not only will the vehicle be in danger of a crash, so will the driver and other motorists on the road.  Some people do like to live on the edge of danger and this is certainly one way to accomplish that.

Ignore the Knock for Help – Cars do make certain noises trying to get their driver’s attention.  When it makes a knocking or pinging noise when accelerating or climbing a hill, it is saying that the gas and air mixture in the car’s cylinders isn’t burning properly. The sound is the result of the fuel and air mixture combusting unevenly in the cylinder. Pinging or knocking does reduce the efficiency of the engine and over a very long period of time it will cause damage.  Keep ignoring it and sure enough, destruction will occur.

Let it Blow off Steam — Steam rising from under the hood accompanied by a sweet, sickly smell alarms most people. They would stop driving as severe overheating can damage the car’s engine. This is antifreeze or coolant leaking from the cooling system.  For those who like to gamble with chance though, they just add a little coolant from time to time just to see how far they can push the envelope.  Of course if they lose the gamble, the engine goes but those are the stakes!

Hear That Roar! – I know some think it is really “cool” to have a car that roars! If your exhaust system has a leak, you will hear a roar coming from under your vehicle that is loudest when accelerating. This of course means the exhaust system needs repairs. The dangerous part is if the leaking exhaust gases, which contain carbon monoxide, get inside the passenger compartment. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a silent killer. It takes only a small amount of carbon monoxide inside the passenger compartment to affect alertness, ability to concentrate and react to changing driving conditions. A very small amount can cause dizziness, headaches, nausea, and bring on stupor in two hours. A one percent concentration of carbon monoxide can kill a person in less than three minutes! This would certainly damage the car if one was driving it while this occurred!

Now you know what it takes to destroy a car…neglect.  Personally, I like to see cars get all the tender loving care they can so if you have been guilty of neglecting your vehicle, please reconsider before it gasps its last breath.  Rush it to a car care facility today!  They may be able to save it!

For more information, visit our website: www.fairwayautorepair.com.

Happy Motoring,