Orange Brake Dust on Wheels: How To Remove and Prevent

Take your pick when you have a strange color around your rims you could be looking at brake dust, rust, or even decomposing tire gel. All three are good candidates for making your tires look worse than they really are. A little cleaning and your tires will look good as new.

This is a common problem and nothing is out of the ordinary. The consensus is that if the color is orange, then it is rust you are seeing and not brake dust. Brake dust is a grayish color. To remove use dawn dishwashing liquid and a good brush. It is impossible to prevent.

To learn more about the color on your tires, just continue to read our article. It has the information you need to make sure you handle this situation without worry. A few minutes of clean up and your tires will look good again

What Does Brake Dust On Wheels Mean?


9 times out of 10 it just means that your brakes are wearing normally and there is nothing to be alarmed about. This situation happens to most cars and RVs and it is not dangerous to you or your passengers.

However, if you see that one tire has more brake dust than the other three, then you should have your brake checked. Excessive brake dust on one tire is telling you that there is something wrong with the brake and it needs immediate attention.

The usual problem part is the brake caliper. There is something wrong with it that is keeping it from functioning as it should and it is ruining the brake on that particular tire.

The fix is simple, you will have to replace the caliper and if the problem is really bad, you may have to replace the rotor as well. The catch is if you are fixing one side of the car, you should fix the other tire on the other side of the car at the same time.

While some brake dust is normal, it can be expensive if you let it go for too long.

What Causes Excessive Brake Dust On Front Wheels?

The cause of this problem is the fact that brake pads are not made like they used to be and they wear down with constant use. This is an unavoidable problem as brake pads will wear down no matter which vehicle they are placed in.

The challenge to brake pad manufacturers is getting the right material formula that will reduce noise, keep the pads lasting along time as well as stopping the vehicle when you want it stopped. it is a very difficult challenge to meet.

Brake dust is the result of those efforts and as we said just about every car and RV will experience it at some point. The real question is solving the issue of which color comes with this brake dust.

Some people call it an orange color but technically, there is no orange in the brake pads. The normal color of brake dust is gray or black or somewhere in between those two colors.

The orange color is more reddish than anything, and that is the result of rust, not brake wear unless the brake pad gets rusty. The orange color doesn’t just come from rust though. It can also come from some of the tire gels used to clean the rubber when you get your car detailed.

Can Brake Dust Damage Alloy Wheels?


The brake dust may corrode the alloy on your wheels. But for that to happen, the dust must sit there for an extended period. Also, if not treated as soon as possible the damage done to those alloy wheels may become permanent.

The cause of this corrosive action is the result of the different chemicals used in making the brake pads. Different chemicals react in different ways to heat and other elements and if the maker of the brake pads used the wrong chemical ingredients then the dust can become corrosive.

If you are concerned about what the brake dust will do to your RV, then you should clean your wheels regularly. There are different cleansers you can use but none of them will put an end to the accumulation of this dust. It will happen.

There are some companies out there that say they can repair brake dust damage even if it is bad and it may be worth your time to check into this option to see if there is an outlet near you. Keeping the dust off will help prevent any further damage from taking place.

How to Remove Brake Dust On Alloy Wheels

One option is to wash your wheels regularly. Normal soaps and water should handle the problem if it is not severe. This is something you should put on a maintenance checklist as if you let go too far, you are looking at an expensive repair.

There are special cleaners for alloy wheels that are designed to handle getting brake dust and other dirt and grime off your alloy wheels. A nylon or alloy brush will be needed as you have to work the cleanser deep into the dust to get it off.

This will take a little time and work but the result will pay off and you will have extended the life of your wheels and tires. If you see a lot of brake dust on one wheel, clean it like we just described and then look to see if there is any corrosion or damage to your caliper.

If so, you should take your vehicle into a tire shop and get the parts repaired or replaced. Caliper repair is not recommended as it is a very difficult task to do and it is always best to just replace them.

Cleaning Brake Dust On Aluminum Wheels Rims

While this section is talking About aluminum wheels, most of the steps can be used for cleaning wheels made from other materials.

  • 1. Make sure to park your rig on a flat, even piece of concrete or ground, and make sure all the brakes are on and you have put chocks or rocks in place so the vehicle won’t move on you.
  • 2. Remove the hubcaps and make sure the wheels are cool before you get started. Also, you should consider wearing a mask when cleaning brake dust. There is a possibility of cancer-causing elements in brake pads that can be harmful to your health if you inhale the brake dust.
  • 3. Now mix the dishwashing liquid with some water in a bucket and make sure it is very soapy. The water should be warm and before you apply the mixture use your hose to clean off any loose dirt or dust.
  • 4. After that, dip your brush into the mixture and start scrubbing away. The best brushes to use are the ones made for aluminum wheels and they should be medium to soft bristles.

You can use a toothbrush but it may only be effective in those hard-to-reach spots. Avoid stiff or hard brushes as you can scratch the wheels if you press too hard.

  • 5. Rinse the soap off the wheel and make sure to get it all. You can use a cleaning mitt if you want instead of a brush and the choice is up to you. If the brake dust is not completely off by the time you finish these steps, just repeat until it is.

You do not want to leave any dust behind as even a small amount can cause you problems later on.

Brake Dust On Chrome Wheels


The importance of removing brake dust from any wheel, including chrome ones, cannot be overstated. brake dust is simply the adhesives and carbon fibers coming off your brakes as you use your car.

These elements can become hot and corrosive because the metal on the wheel and brakes heat them. When they do, the chrome wheels can get damaged. Unless you regularly clean your wheels. If you do, it is hard for the brake dust to accumulate and cause you problems.

The first few steps in cleaning your aluminum wheels will need to be followed here. The one exception is that instead of dishwashing soap you should use a special chrome cleaner.

A good chrome cleaner is n and this will also protect your chrome finish and not put any scratches into them. When brushing, make sure to reach through the spokes to get all the dust. You do not want to leave any behind.

Also, don’t forget to clean the lug nuts and the lug nut holes. Plus, keep the tires wet at all times as you are cleaning. Once you are done using the soap and cleaning all the areas where brake dust can hide, rinse well and get all the cleaner off.

Then when you have finished rinsing, you should dry the wheels off as best as you can. Chrome wheels will show water spots and ruin the look of your newly cleaned wheels and tires.

If you want, you can use a good metal polish that works on aluminum. steel or chrome to give those chrome wheels a brilliant look. This step is optional though and totally up to you as the polish will not stop brake dust from gathering in the future.

Reduce Or Prevent Brake Dust On Wheels

This is something that can be a bit hard to do as every time you drive, you are creating more brake dust. The solution is to do frequent cleaning of your wheels so that any brake dust gathering on them does not stay around and ruin your wheels.

Here are some ways to prevent or reduce brake dust from gathering on your wheels

1. Change your brake pads - you can go with ceramic ones or low dusting pads that are made from Kevlar, synthetic materials, and carbon fibers.

2. Install a brake dust shield - these little parts can deflect the dust so that it doesn't reach your wheels. They install between the wheel and the rotor and come with vents so your brakes do not overheat. These shields come in pairs so you can cover all your wheels without too much expense.

3. Use Hydrosilex - this is a silicone - like material that is put on your wheels. Then when the brake dust comes, it just slides right off. This product can be expensive but that is okay as it is not just for wheels. It can protect your whole car from dirt, etc.

4. Use a non-stick spray - this is usually made with Teflon and should do the exact same thing as Hydrosilex except it is more of a temporary fix.

5. Use a brake dust repellent - similar to the two products already mentioned, these products help chrome and alloy wheels to resist brake dust.

Do Brake Dust Covers Work?


That is the important question as brake dust covers are not exactly cheap What makes it hard to give a definitive answer to the question is that some people say that they are a great protective device while others say they just wasted their money.

If you go this route, you will have to do your own trial and error experiment as your results will land on one side or the other. There is no guarantee they will work and no prediction that they won’t.

Then there is the issue of price. This area of car parts is not very competitive so manufacturers do not have to worry about competitors driving the price down. Their usual cost is between $30 and $50 per pair.

The covers do block your view of the calipers so if you are putting fancy-looking brake calipers on your vehicle, you and anyone else will not see them. There is not going to be a perfect solution to this issue as ceramic and Kevlar brake pads may cut down the brake dust, but they are hard on the rotors.

One positive aspect of using dust shields is that they do cut down on your cleaning time. Plus, since many of the brake pads and other brake parts are made with harmful components, you are protecting yourself from any health issues by using them.

The harmful components can include asbestos which is known to cause cancer in some people. So they may be worth the money in the long run.

Where to Buy Products Preventing Brake Dust

It is always good to know where to shop and if you are driving an RV and have this problem, the expense may be greater than it is for a regular vehicle. While RV parts shops are conveniently located and focus on products that are good for RVs, they can be more expensive than traditional auto parts stores.

The clerks are generally knowledgeable and can direct you to the section where these products are on the shelf. Make sure to read the labels to find the right one for the wheels on your rig.

Next up are the different auto parts stores that populate most cities. They too are handy to get to and should have a wide range of products while keeping the costs down. if you do not like the price at one store, you can always check their competitors.

Some department stores will have a limited selection if they carry any at all. but if you are in the mall check out those outlets and any other auto accessory store in the complex.

Finally, you can let your fingers do all the work and search online for the best price and product. Amazon and other online market places should have reasonable prices as well as some of the best products to use.

Again, you will have to read the descriptions and labels to make sure you are buying the right product for your wheels. The delivery may take a few days but you can prep your wheels in the meantime to get most of the loose brake dust off before it arrives.

Some Final Words

As you should have realized by now, brake dust is not orange in color and if you delay in taking care of the problem, you could be faced with more expensive repairs. This is a normal product that happens to every vehicle and it cannot be stopped. It will happen.

Just make sure you tackle the problem as soon as you can. Leaving the brake dust alone not only will spoil the look of your tires and wheels, but it will also eventually become corrosive, due to the heat of the vehicle, and ruin expensive wheels no matter which metal they are made from.

To make cleaning brake dust easier, buy the right products made for the type of metal used to create your wheels.

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