Brake dust shields are flat plates that sit behind the brake rotor, mounted to the back of the wheel with a few screws and washers. They usually consist of steel or aluminium and are often painted black or powder coated silver to match your wheels. Some aftermarket wheels come with their own brake dust shields made from aluminium.
- Do they prevent brake dust being sprayed all over the wheels?
Brake dust is tiny particles of iron, copper, carbon and other materials that result from friction between the pads and rotors when braking. These particles get heated up until they stick to the surface of your rotors before eventually falling off onto your wheels, creating those unsightly brown marks you’re probably familiar with by now.
Brake dust shields collect some of this metal dust, which stops it getting stuck on and around your calipers and brakes but doesn’t completely prevent what’s called ‘splatter’ (where bits of metal fling off the rotors at high velocity). You’ll still see some discoloration on your wheels even if you’ve got a set of these guards installed, but it’s nothing like what happens without them.
How to clean brake dust shields
- Spray the degreaser on both sides of the brake dust shield.
- Scrub both sides of the brake dust shield with a brush and/or cloth.
- Rinse off with water and a cloth, then dry with a clean cloth. For a thorough clean, you can also paint on glossy black paint or wax to help prevent future rust.
What happens if brake dust shields are not replaced
If you neglect to replace your brake dust shields when they become damaged, they will not be able to protect your brakes properly. This may result in brake failure, which could cause a serious accident.
If you are unsure if your brake dust shields need to be changed or replaced, bring your car into a mechanic and have them take a look at it.
Brake Dust Shields may be removed when wheels are changed, but it is important to have them put back on as soon as possible.
Brake dust shields will need to be replaced every 30,000 miles or so, as they tend to wear out over time and lose their effectiveness after a while. This is especially true if you frequently drive on dirt roads or off-road through muddy conditions; these more rugged environments will produce higher levels of dirt and debris that can damage your brakes more quickly than normal.
When replacing them, keep in mind that your car may require different types based on whether or not it has four-wheel drive capabilities (this information should be listed in its owner’s manual). If so then make sure they’re purchased accordingly! If possible try buying two sets: one set for regular use and another only when necessary due to heavy usage like off-roading trips into areas with lots of mud/dirt or other harsh terrain.