02 Jan 2013
January 2, 2013

Brakes Dust

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What is brake dust, why does it happen and how to reduce it. Those are the questions almost every European car driver asks every Sunday morning when they wash the huge deposits of black dust from their wheels on their pride and joy.

The answer to the questions about brake dust are these.

First of all the brake dust is rotor material. It is caused by an excessively abrasive disc pad wearing the rotor material away. This is always associated with fairly quick rotor wear and it is normal for most European cars to wear out pads and rotors at about the same rate. Shame really when rotors cost 4 times the price of disc pads.

Many people mistake brake dust with dust from the brake pads because they contain carbon particles but this is not the case, tests conducted show that 94% of the content of dust cleaned from wheels was ferrous oxide. So the pad content does not really cause the dust, it abrades the brake rotors and brake dust is rotor material.

There are many companies who provide brake dust covers for wheels to try and get the dust to stay away from the wheels but one company from the UK won the Autotrade Innovation Award a few years ago for its reduction of brake dust with its kevlar aramid low abrasion disc pad range. That company was EBC Brakes and this fine British manufacturer now produce one grade, the EBC Redstuff which is surely the lowest dust pad on the market today.

The EBC brake pads contain zero or very little steel fibre and provide stopping power that meets or exceeds every original brake pad sold in todays markets without the excess rotor abrasion common with many, hence lowering brake dust by up to 80%.

It is fair to say there is no such thing as a zero dust pad, there is only low brake dust offerings. Often road dirt is also confused with brake dust. One further interesting comment is that any brake dust which actually does come from the pads is usually quite easy to remove especially if the pads contain low steel fibre content. This nasty cheap brake pad filler material steel fiber has a mass such that when it forms a hot dust after heavy braking the particles actually weld themselves to the shiny lacquer on your alloys and scrub as hard as you like and that brake dust you will not remove. That is why EBC Brakes as one manufacturer do not use steel fibre in any of its high end products.