2003 Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class wheel residue

why does my wheels have black residue on the wheels.

That is called “brake dust” and it is normal. As the brakes wear, that material blows out the wheel and sticks. some types of brake pads eject more and some less.

It needs to be cleaned off when the car is washed or it will eventually stick to the wheels permanently. There are special wheel cleaning products available at the auto parts store.

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Usually cheap brake pads.

To add to Mustangman’s information above, this is more common on German cars because they favor higher-performing brakes, which unfortunately usually come with the drawback of much more brake dust. This is one reason I drive a Lexus instead of a German car.

You do need to clean the brake dust off the wheels regularly if you don’t want them to corrode and pit over time.

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I think it had improved with newer German cars, I don’t see as many really dirty wheels.

I don’t necessarily agree with you

I use only oem brake pads on my mom’s Benz

They grab hard, but they do generate a lot of brake dust

Every time I wash the car, I spend a few extra minutes cleaning the rims

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In my experience brake-dusted wheels (always front) means you’re driving too aggressively and stomping the brakes. I’ve never had brake dust, but I drive very gently.

I disagree . . . based on my professional experience


It depends on the model, Lexus IS and LS cars produce a lot of brake dust and require brake pad replacement at 20,000 miles in some cases. I believe that you may have a GS350, a non F-Sport model with long wearing brake pads.

My last car, a VW Passat, had lots of brake dust pile up over it’s lifetime of 120k. Although maybe not much as I never was able to clean it off.

And I’m a very conservative driver, in one case rotors rusted through with brake pads still good.

That’s correct. I’m up to 45,000 miles with the brakes supposedly still in good shape (even though I drive somewhat sportily). I’ll have to keep an eye on any IS and LS cars that I see, although there aren’t many around here because we don’t have a local dealer.

My mom has a 2003 CLK 430 w/ AMG wheels. What you’re seeing is brake dust. It’s normal, and virtually all cars regardless of make and model produce some. Some cars tend to produce more than others. You should wash your car/wheels regularly to remove it, as it will permanently stick to the wheels after a while.