Tyres and wheels do the dirtiest job in your car being constantly exposed to contaminants such as road grime and brake dust. Not only do dirty wheels look ugly, but also the accumulated dirt makes your wheels more prone to corrosion and rubber deterioration. Whether you drive on summer, all-season, or winter tyres, it is important to know about the peculiarities of seasonal care for wheels and tyres.
Why get rid of brake dust?
Brake dust is produced as a result of rubbing of brake pads and discs against each other. The amount of dust produced varies from car to car depending on the type of metal brake pads are made of. Every time you apply brakes, this dust settles down on your rims covering them with an unsightly and hard to remove adhesive residue. The problem is that this brake dust, which contains metal filings and carbon fibers, is acidic, and therefore, highly corrosive to alloy rims. Eating into the rims at very high temperatures, it erodes their protective coating and eventually causes corrosion. The corrosion isn’t only an aesthetic concern; firstly, it is a huge safety concern as a structural integrity of a corroded wheel is compromised.
How to address this issue?
There are 3 possible solutions:
- buy and fit low-dust aftermarket brake pads (Kevlar or high metal content compounds);
- buy and fit dust shields that protect a rim from the dust exposure. This method, however, is unsightly and doesn’t work for performance vehicles;
- set up a proper tyre and wheel car routine (washing and applying a wheel sealant).
How to take care of wheels and tyres?
Getting your wheels and tyres washed once a week is crucial. Maybe you think that doing so in winter when the weather is bad, is pointless, but you are mistaken. The point is to remove the brake dust and salt before they can cause any serious damage to your wheels (usually a few weeks is enough). If you leave your wheels dirty for many weeks in a row, then washing will be pointless.
- Before starting your washing routine, ensure that your wheels are cold. Hose off grime and loose dirt (preferably with a pressure washer). Be especially careful with the balancing weights.
- If you’ve got very dirty wheels, scrub them first with a cleaning brush (not the metal one!).
- Using a microfibre mitt, wash the wheels and tyres with a gentle shampoo scrubbing everywhere you can reach to remove all the brake dust. If you skip regular weekly washes, getting rid of this sticky residue can become much more difficult. But if you repeat the procedure every week, a simple gentle shampoo is usually sufficient provided that you treat your wheels with a good wheel sealant.
- Rinse your wheels off.
- Wash the wheel arches and rinse everything off one more time.
- Use a microfiber towel to dry the wheels.
- Apply a wheel sealant to make a protective barrier on the surface of your rims. This will protect wheels from corrosion and ease the process of weekly washing a lot.