If you have noticed a black, dust-like substance that is building up on the rims of your automobile, you are likely looking at brake dust. Every car gives off some amount of brake dust, but this term is not something that many drivers know a lot about. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions that you may have pertaining to brake dust.

What is Brake Dust? 

Your brake system is made up of many different components, but two of the most important include your brake pads, also known as brake shoes, and rotors. To bring your vehicle to a stop, your brake pads are pushed into the rotors, slowing your car and eventually bringing it to a stop. But, as this occurs, metallic residue from your metal brake pads is released. These metal particles combine with dirt and dust in the air, creating what is known as brake dust. As these brake components sit directly behind your tire and rims, a lot of the brake dust ends up on your rims, creating a build-up of this black residue. 

Does Brake Dust Indicate a Brake Repair is Needed? 

One of the most common misconceptions pertaining to brake dust is that large amounts of brake dust indicate that there is an issue with your brakes. This is not true. In fact, a large amount of brake dust indicates that your brakes are working and your brake pads are thick enough to produce brake dust. When your brake pads are starting to thin, they will produce less brake dust. As such, if you notice less brake dust being produced, you may be in need of a brake repair to replace your brake pads.

Are There Any Dangers Associated With Brake Dust? 

You should wash your tires and rims regularly to remove brake dust. Brake dust contains metal particles. When these particles become wet, they may actually start to rust. If your rims are made from metal, the rims can then start to rust. Removing the dust helps prevent that from happening. 

Brake dust is a common byproduct of using your brakes. While many people believe that a large accumulation of brake dust means your brake pads are nearing the end of their life, the opposite is true. If you notice that there is not a lot of brake dust on your tires, your brake pads may be wearing thin and you may be in need of brake repair. Reach out to an auto repair shop to have your brakes inspected.