What Are the Causes of Excessive Brake Dust?

by apeterson

When brakes are applied to stop vehicles, metal debris breaks off the pads of the brakes. While dust from the brake pad is normal, excessive amounts can signal a potential problem. If large amounts of brake dust are appearing around the brakes and wheels, the buildup can result in poor brake function, vibration and shorter life of the brake pad.

Poor Brake Job

Brakes that haven't been correctly installed on the caliper and are to close to the disc or drum cause excess brake dust. Brakes are designed to be a certain distance from the rotors; when they are too close, the pressure on the brakes is increased where they connect.

Wheel Size

Lots of people like to change the diameter of their wheels to make the car higher off the ground. Brakes have to be increased in size as well with bigger wheels so the car can still stop properly. Brake pads that are too small for the car will wear out quicker than brake pads that are correctly designed for the vehicle. The extra wear from small pads on large wheels will increase the amount of dust coming off because brakes have to work harder to stop the car.

Worn Springs

When brakes are applied to stop a vehicle, hydraulic fluid pushes the brakes against the rotors and when the brakes are released springs pull the pads back off. The springs can wear out and loss their ability to completely take the pads off the rotors causing constant rubbing. If the pads are always touching the drums, more dust than normal will come off.

Types of Brakes

The material that the brakes are made from can also cause excess dust. According to Consumer Reports, brakes made from organic materials like glass and rubber wear faster and create dust. Also low metallic brakes can cause excess dust to be deposited on the tires. Semi-metallic and metallic brakes release less dust than low metallic and organic, but also cost more.

About the Author

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