No matter what kind of braking system a vehicle is equipped with, when a driver hits the brakes, it’s inevitable that some brake dust will be created. Brake dust, composed of carbon residue, iron particles, and fraction material, results from the action of braking and accumulates on a vehicle’s wheels. Both disc and drum braking setups create break dust. In disc brakes, the brake pads create friction by clamping the brake rotor, and in drum brakes, the brake shoes create friction against the brake drum by pushing on it. Both of these mechanisms serve to slow a vehicle down, but brake dust is created as a result of this friction.
While not immediately harmful to a vehicle, brake dust can build up over time and cause damage to many components. If you’re launching a career in auto detailing, knowing how to prevent brake dust will enable you to maintain a vehicle’s condition and keep drivers safe on the road. Below, discover how brake dust can damage a vehicle, and how to prevent it.
How Does Brake Dust Damage a Vehicle? A Look for those in Professional Auto Detailing
When brake dust is left on a vehicle’s wheels for a sustained period of time, it can cause damage to the alloy wheels and even negatively impact a vehicle’s braking performance. As brake dust is metallic, it has the potential to compromise the protective coating on the surface of an alloy wheel, making the wheel more susceptible to corrosion and leading to structural damage over time. Additionally, high amounts of brake dust can dramatically affect a vehicle’s braking performance. When this dust collects on the wheel, brake rotor or brake caliper, an uneven braking surface is produced, creating noise and vibration when a vehicle brakes. Given the dangers that accompany brake dust, it’s important to know how to clean and prevent it from building up during your professional auto detailing career.
What Can Be Done to Prevent Brake Dust
While a vehicle’s brakes will always create brake dust, it can be prevented from building up excessively in a few different ways. For one, a brake dust repellent can be sprayed onto the rims of alloy wheels, creating a barrier which wards off against brake dust. Another method is the use of a brake dust shield, an aluminum plate which is installed between the brake rotor and wheel rim. These plates catch brake dust, keeping it from gathering on the rims. Drivers can also opt to switch out their metallic brake pads for ceramic ones. These brake pads are not only quieter and more durable, but they don’t produce as much brake dust. Lastly, as an auto detailing professional, you can apply an advanced finishing to the wheels, which makes up another type of barrier which discourages brake dust from building up.
How to Clean Brake Dust During Your Auto Detailing Career
Once you become an auto detailer, you’ll be working to restore and refurbish vehicles to make them look as good as new, performing a variety of services including deep cleaning, polishing and waxing. After an auto detailing program, one of the deep cleaning services you’ll perform will be on the wheels of vehicles suffering from brake dust buildup. In order to clean brake dust, you’ll want to remove the hubcaps of the wheels, clean them thoroughly, and then spray the entire area of the wheel with high-pressure water. You can then apply a wheel cleaner, which sets in to allow you to scrub the brake dust off the surface of the wheel using a wheel brush. Finish by cleaning off the residue and rinsing the wheel with water, applying a coat of wax once the surface of the wheel is dry. These measures will help to ensure that brake dust doesn’t affect the performance of the vehicle, and help to prevent the accumulation of brake dust in the future.
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