Dirty front wheel covers


The covers of my front wheels collect what

looks like carbon dirt, or such. Back

covers are clean. My mechanic says it means

nothing. What is your opinion please.


normal brake dust, from the normal use of brakes.

you can get some wheel cleaner and a stiff brush to clean it off. usually car washes don’t quite remove this type of dirt.

out of curiosity, did you notice this since you had a brake job done? possible they used cheap quality pads last time.

by any chance do you drive a mini van? they are the worst for brake dust because they are so heavy and the front brakes do alot of work.

DO NOT by any means spray ANY thing on the wheel to make the dust not stick. any grease, spray or oil will severely hurt the braking ability. (possibly to the point of a major accident) it is bette rto just hose off the dust, and a little scrubbing if needed. autozone sells some spray wheel cleaner just for this stuff, but don’t get creative using other chemicals.


It means nothing.

You’re seeing brake dust. Some models have a greater tendency than others to catch and maintain the dust. It may have something to do with the brand of brake pads used. Since you did not identify your mystery car we cannot say if yours is one of these models. For now, just rinse off the wheels occasionally with a hose. Or simply ignore it.


It is normal for some brake pad types. Many European cars, such as Volvo, BMW, and Porsche, are noted for doing this with factory brake pads. In general, my observation is - the dirtier the pad, the better they work. However, like you, I hate cleaning wheels so I keep looking for compromises.

You can get bell-shaped shields that go between the wheel and brake for some cars to keep the dust away from the wheel. Don’t use them as they will void your warrantee and can cause the brakes to overheat.

You can get brake pads designed to generate less dust. Some are actually light gray colored so you can’t see the dust on the wheel. If you try that, be sure to use the same type of pads all the way around so your brakes stay balanced, and read the reviews carefully. There some really bad brake pads out there that can fade when you need them most. Brake fade is terrifying and can be fatal.

I recently put PBR Delux organic brake pads (very inexpensive but a well-known brand) on my daughter’s BMW. The wheels stay amazingly clean, but it takes a bit more brake pedal pressure to stop the car. I only notice the difference because the other daughter has an identical car with dealer brake pads (and chronically dirty wheels). The PBRs have not been hot enough to really test for fade, so I am hoping they are OK.


The last time your front brake pads were replaced, aftermarket rather than OEM pads were put in. Next time new pads are needed, get your brake job at the dealer or pick up pads at the dealer and carry them to your mechanic. Otherwise you will get cheap aftermarket pads again that put black dust on everything. OEM brake pads will not do that.


It is brake dust, but ceramic or carbon fiber pads generate less dust. The operative word is less, not eliminate.


That’s normal brake dust. Just use warm soapy water and a brush and hose off.