Tips For Turning Dull Wheels Bright Again

Brake dust is a nuisance for anyone who values the look of their wheels. The black powder clings to rims and can cause long-term damage if neglected.

“Brake dust is a constant annoyance, especially if you have attractive wheels and like showing them off,” said Brad Bergholdt, an instructor of automotive technology at Evergreen Valley College,

Microscopic particles of brake lining flake off every time you stop the car. Left attended, the dust congeals into a viscous sludge on the wheels that traps moisture and feasts on the finish.

Water alone won’t remove the filth from wheels.

Even the soap used to wash the car won’t completely cut through the grime.

Specially formulated wheel cleaners cut the grease and reduce the amount of elbow grease required to restore the look, but it’s vital to read the label and ensure it’s something that won’t damage the wheel's finish, Bergholdt said.

Applying a spray wax creates a barrier that hampers the dust’s ability to cling to the wheel for a little while. Rags and specially designed brushes work wonders, so long as they aren’t used on other finishes such as the glass, paint or upholstery.

Bergholdt offered the following thoughts on the causes brake dust:

  • Water alone won’t remove filth from wheels. Even car wash soap won’t completely cut through the grime.
  • Specially formulated wheel cleaners cut the grease and reduce the effort required to restore shine. Make sure to read the label and ensure it’s something that won’t damage the wheel's finish.
  • Applying spray wax to create a barrier between brake dust and the wheel itself.
  • Use microfiber towels and brushes designed specifically for wheels.
  • Never reuse wheel tools or towels on other finishes such as the glass, paint or upholstery. Corrosive particles from wheels can permanently damage vehicle surfaces.