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Extreme brake dust


Ls1transam
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To make a long story short. A friends break pad came apart and all the material from the metal to rotor went on the wheel and car. I removed it from the car. But there is a little left on the wheel. I'm out of wheel cleaner but it wasn't helping anymore anyway. Any clue how to remove this stuff? You can see it in the corners of the spokes.

 

 

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Hmm, Adam's Wheel Cleaner should take care of those spots in the corners of the spokes without much issue.

 

Try spraying directly at those 3 spots at the bottom of the wheel and let it soak for 1 minute, with the wheel cool to the touch. Then take a Trim & Lug Nut Brush if you have it and carefully agitate the area. Rinse clean with a strong blast from the garden hose and then rinse out the brush. Repeat for the other 3 wheels. Then pull the car forward a bit and continue this process for 3 more spokes at the bottom of the wheel and so on until you've cleaned the whole circumference of each wheel. 

 

Edit: If that is actual metal rotor material that broke off of the hot rotor, it's possible it could have melted to the wheel, and then that could be more difficult removal. Something like a plastic toothpick might be enough to carefully break the pieces free of the wheel. Then follow up with Wheel Cleaner and then Revive Hand Polish if there is any light scratching or discoloration.

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Have the same issue with an BMW X5 M I just recently detailed. The owner waits until the car is absolutely filthy and the wheels are just ridiculously bad. I treated the wheels 2 or 3 times with Wheel Cleaner and exactly what you're showing in the picture remained. I ended up telling the customer that I wasn't able to remove all the brake grime. I recommended it be brought back to me on a more regular basis so the wheels don't continue look the way they have and so that those spots don't get worse. They ended up telling me that 2 of the wheels were replaced under warranty because of that reason and that center cap was corroding. But now, it seems to be happening again and obviously the dealership isn't going to continue replacing them.

 

I don't know if it has something to do with the brakes themselves or if waiting so long between getting it detailed has caused the wheels to start to look that way. My guess is maybe a little bit of both but they continue to come back and I continue to work at it. I've tried clay and a stiff plastic edge but no luck. I went to the extent of using a razor blade (which I don't recommend) which did chip a piece of it off but i wasn't going to take anymore chances with a razor blade. Especially since the wheels are extremely expensive. I'm just going to continue to soak it with wheel cleaner over and over again and hope it breaks free from the wheel at some point. This is the one and only vehicle I've ever had an issue with not being able to remove all the brake grime.

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IF it's not coming off, try heating it with a hair dryer to soften it up some, and then use the wheel cleaner and let it sit for a bit.  An old toothbrush comes in handy in these small tight spaces too. Then just follow what Dan said in his post for each wheel.  Good luck.  :thumbsup:

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It almost appears embedded into the corners.

 

What I am about to suggest may get shouted down, and rightly so. But I would get yourself a cheap wax carver's set and GENTLY go after those corners. Use the spoon shapes first and move to more aggressive shapes until the contaminant releases. Keep the area lubricated with heavy suds so as to avoid scratching. 

 

On a side note, these types of tools are GREAT for cleaning lots of tight places. 

 

If my link is not allowed, please feel free to remove it.

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So my buddy decided to get really aggressive. It's his car so, his decision. He bought brake cleaner and took it to the wheel. Brought the stuck brake dust right off with ease.

I was going to suggest brake cleaner, even though it is very strong. I'd recommend to seal the wheels next. My wife's yukon denali has cheap pads up front that squeak and develop a lot of dust. So bad that the chrome wheels brown up after a week of driving. It had caked on brake dust (similar but not as bad) and the wheel cleaner instantly turned purple and everything came off. After I cleaned and dried them I used the aerosol quick sealant (I still have some :D ) and now they clean effortlessly . good luck!

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