Whether you’re looking to purchase a high-end car or just really enjoy the look of chrome dubs and alloy mags, chances are you’ve heard the buzz about brake dust covers . Dust brake covers are plates, typically aluminum, sandwiched between the brake disc and rims — and the protection they supposedly provide your wheels’ fancy finish; but do they actually work?
Before we get to that, let’s briefly review how disc brakes work to better understand the dusty issue they claim to clean up.
Disc brakes slow your car via the friction caused by clamping brake pads onto a rotor, which is a disc attached to the wheel and axle. The friction-generating material coating these pads gradually grinds off and some of this dust deposits on your gleaming chrome rims. This is normal; it doesn’t signify a breakdown or abnormal lessening of lifespan.
In other words, brake dust covers aren’t for correcting a mechanical defect, but an aesthetic one.
Dark brake dust build-up turns shiny rims shabby — some say it also wreaks havoc on their finish. Brake dust covers purportedly impede this grime from making it to the wheel, decreasing damage and saving your spinners. If true, dust covers would also cut down on the manual cleaning — a dirty, and sometimes dangerous duty that can mean managing toxic materials, including asbestos.
Do they work? The answer remains unclear. Some say they do and some say they don’t, while still others are clearly wary of any aftermarket accessory, so consult a mechanic you trust and consider the following issues before you buy:
If dust covers aren’t for you, you can also try switching to Kevlar or ceramic brakes (read more about brake material types in this blog), which kick out less dust but may be rougher on your rotors.
Dust covers are increasingly becoming standard equipment on many makes and models. And if you’re purchasing them as aftermarket accessories, they install with little trouble. Simply remove your wheel, fit the cover against the inside surface and replace the wheel. Front wheels generate the most dust, so start there before committing the cash to cover the rear wheels. And don’t forget to contact your dealer if you have concerns about violating your car’s warranty.
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