Brake dust is a common problem faced by car owners. When the brakes are applied, the friction between the brake pad and the rotor generates a fine dust that settles on the wheels. Over time, this dust can become baked on, making it difficult to remove. If left unattended, it can even cause damage to the wheels. Here, we'll discuss how to remove baked on brake dust from alloy wheels. Understanding Alloy Wheels Before we delve into how to remove baked on brake dust from alloy wheels, it's important to understand what alloy wheels are. Alloy wheels are made from a mixture of aluminum, magnesium, and other metals. They are lightweight, durable, and offer better performance compared to traditional steel wheels. However, they are also more prone to damage from brake dust. Why Brake Dust is an Issue Brake dust contains a variety of materials, including iron, carbon, and adhesives. When this dust settles on the wheels, it reacts with the metal to form a corrosive substance. This substance can eat away at the protective coating on the wheels and cause damage over time. At the same time, the baked-on dust can make the wheels look unsightly and detract from the overall appearance of the car. How to Remove Baked On Brake Dust Now that we understand why brake dust is an issue for alloy wheels, let's look at how to remove it. Here are five effective methods: 1. Use a Dedicated Alloy Wheel Cleaner One of the most effective ways to remove baked on brake dust from alloy wheels is to use a dedicated alloy wheel cleaner. These cleaners are specially formulated to break down brake dust and other types of grime. They typically come in a spray form and are easy to apply. To use the cleaner, spray it onto the wheel, let it sit for a few minutes, and then rinse it off with a hose or pressure washer. 2. Try Baking Soda and Water If you don't have a dedicated alloy wheel cleaner on hand, you can also try using a mixture of baking soda and water. To make the mixture, simply mix equal parts of baking soda and water until you have a thick paste. Apply the paste to the wheels using a cloth or sponge and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, rinse it off with water and dry the wheels with a clean cloth. 3. Use a Pressure Washer A pressure washer is another effective tool for removing baked on brake dust from alloy wheels. The high-pressure water stream can blast away even the toughest grime and dirt. However, it's important to use the right pressure setting to avoid damaging the wheels. Start with a low pressure setting and gradually increase it until you find the right level for your wheels. 4. Try a Clay Bar A clay bar is a versatile tool that can be used to remove a variety of contaminants from alloy wheels, including baked on brake dust. To use a clay bar, simply spray a lubricant onto the wheels and rub the clay bar back and forth over the surface. The clay will pick up any contaminants and leave the wheels looking shiny and clean. 5. Use an Acid-Based Cleaner (with Caution) Finally, if none of the other methods work, you can try using an acid-based cleaner to remove baked on brake dust from alloy wheels. However, these cleaners can be dangerous and should only be used with caution. Make sure to read the instructions carefully and wear protective gear, such as gloves and goggles. Also, test the cleaner on a small, inconspicuous area of the wheel before applying it to the entire surface. Preventing Brake Dust Buildup While it's important to know how to remove baked on brake dust from alloy wheels, it's even better to prevent it from building up in the first place. Here are a few tips: - Clean your wheels regularly using a mild soap and water solution. - Consider installing ceramic brake pads, which produce less dust than traditional pads. - Avoid using high-temperature brakes, which can produce more dust. - If you notice a lot of brake dust buildup, have your brakes checked to ensure they are functioning properly. In conclusion, removing baked on brake dust from alloy wheels is a necessary task for any car owner who wants to maintain their vehicle's appearance and performance. There are several effective methods for removing brake dust, but it's even better to prevent it from building up in the first place. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can keep your wheels looking clean and shiny for years to come.