Excessive Brake Dust On One Wheel – The Causes

Excessive brake dust on one wheel could mean different things. Depending on the cause and the extent of the dust will tell you whether or not you should take it seriously. A low amount of brake dust on the wheel could be normal. It could be that you have a dusty brake pad. In this case, you need to clean the dust regularly using special chemicals. If you notice excessive brake dust, it means you have frozen caliper which will continuously squeeze the rotor and create more dust.

excessive brake dust on one wheel

In some extreme cases, the dust from the brake could be excessive. It could mean that your brake system has faults and needs to be checked immediately.

Reasons of Excessive Brake Dust On One Wheel

If you notice excessive dust on your brakes, it could mean that the brake caliper is not functioning properly. The brake dust on the wheel could be normal, but something is wrong if there is excessive brake dust on rims.

Brake pad dust could result from friction between the brake pad and the rotor. The brakes make use of friction to stop the wheel. In the process of stopping the wheel, friction is made, and the brake pads begin to wear and make grinding noise, which would cause particles from the brake pad to rest on the rotor, wheel rim, or any other place. The particles will be in dust form.

If the dust from car brake dust is due to friction, then you have nothing to worry about as it is normal. Pay attention to the dust; excessive brake dust on both front wheels could be beyond friction.

Excessive brake dust on one rim could build up due to frozen caliper, dusty brake pads, damaged rotor and problems in brake pad alignment etc. Let’s learn in details.

1. Stuck Caliper

If you have excessive brake dust, it could mean something is wrong with the caliper. Sometimes the caliper could get stuck and continue to press the brake against the rotor, which could cause excessive wear of the brake pad and also excessive dust on the wheel.

Some factors could cause the caliper to get stuck or sticky. These factors may include seizing sliding pins, blocked brake lines, damaged caliper pistons, and more.

2. Dusty pad

If you notice excessive brake dust on all or most of the wheel, it could result from the type of brake pads you use for your wheel. Some types of brake pads let out a large amount of dust. If this is the case, then you have nothing to worry about. If you prefer to avoid the dust from the brake pad, you can have it replaced with one that does not shed a lot. 

Some types of brake pads that cause an excessive amount of brake dust include semi-metallic and organic brake pads.

3. Increased Friction and heat

Another reason you may have excessive dust on your wheel could be a result of an increase in wear, friction, or heat between the brake and the rotor. There are a lot of factors that could cause increased wear. One of the primary causes is a misalignment in the brake pad.

When there is a misalignment of the brake pad, it could cause the brake pad to wear faster and unevenly. Another factor that could cause increased wear on the brake pad could be a loose brake caliper.

4. Scored rotor

Also, if you notice excessive dust on one of the wheels, it could be a scored rotor. When a rotor is scored, it means that the surface of the rotor is no longer smooth, which could be due to a worn-out brake pad.

A score rotor could collect dirt or debris, which could rub the brake pad’s surface, causing it to wear faster and release dust remains. To avoid a scored rotor, you must change the brake pad at the recommended time frame.

Is It Normal To Have A Lot Of Brake Dust?

It is normal to have a dust brake coming from the brake pad, but it becomes abnormal if the dust is too much. Due to many factors, dust could accumulate on your vehicle’s rims, which is standard because of the friction between the brake pad and the rotor.

Also, the type of brake that you are using could cause brake dust. All these are considered normal; all you have to do is clean the rims of the dust, and you are good to go.

However, it is crucial to check out parts of the wheel, especially the caliper, brake pad, and brake rotor, if you find excessive dust. It could signify that these parts have been damaged or are due for a replacement.

worn out brake pad

How to Clean Brake Dust?

Cleaning brake dust off your wheels requires preciseness and the proper method. You need to do this right to clean off the dust effectively, and this is because the dust that has settled on the wheel might have become too tough to remove.

Below are steps to clean brake dust from your wheel correctly.

1. Park your vehicle in an appropriate place where the wheel can be out of the sun’s reach.

2. Rinse the wheel with water to remove contaminants and other forms of dirt. It allows you to scrub better and cleans away the dust.

3. Get a good brake dust removal, and you can use more than just water and soap and water. It is essential to understand what type of dust cleaner is suitable for your wheel. Wheel are different and made from varied materials. They can be made from steel, aluminum, or alloy, and dust cleaners can harm some of these materials. Check the dust cleaner’s instructions to determine which is suitable for the wheel. 

4. Apply the dust cleaner to the wheels and wait for the spray to loosen up the dirt.

5. Scrub the wheel with a soft brush

6. Wash away the dirt from the wheel by spraying it with water.

7. Dry the wheel using rags or any cloth material.

How Do You Prevent Excessive Brake Dust?

Preventing brake dust is very important, as excessive dust on the wheel could be harmful to the environment and is also a sign of a damaged brake. If you want to know how to reduce brake dust or prevent it, below are ways to achieve that.

1. Change the brake pad

If the brake dust on your wheel results from the type of brake pad you use, the best way to have it fixed is to replace it. There are three significant types of brake pads used in vehicles. They are ceramic, organic, and semi-metallic brake pads.

The semi-metallic and organic brake pads come with a large amount of dust residue after some use. On the other hand, the ceramic releases a smaller and less visible amount of dust. Changing a ceramic brake pad could help eliminate the wheel’s large dust.

2. Brake dust repellent

Another way of reducing the brake dust on your wheel is by applying dust repellent. Once you get the repellent, spray it on the rims. It forms a shield that repels the dust from the brake pad. A good repellent can last for weeks.

3. Replace the wheel rotor

You can also have brake dust prevention by replacing a scored brake rotor if it is the case with your wheel. It could be expensive, but it is necessary as a damaged brake rotor could cause the brake pad to wear faster.

4. Brake shield

Another way of brake dust prevention is mounting a shield that will stop dust from accumulating on the brake rotor. You can install the shield right between the rim and the rotor. It will collect all dust from the brake before it gets to the rims.

Although, the brake shield may require regular cleaning because the dust may build up, which could reduce the brake performance.

Does WD 40 Remove Brake Dust?

A WD 40 is a powerful substance that can effectively remove stubborn stains like grease, engine oil, and more. It is also suitable for removing tough stains like dust from the brakes. All you need to do is follow the proper instructions to use it, and the dust stains on your wheel will be gone in no time.


Excessive brake dust on one wheel could be dangerous to the effectiveness of your brake pad if there is excessive accumulation, which is also dangerous to the environment. If inhaled by people or animals, it could cause severe damage to one’s health. It is why we need to reduce the effect to the minimum.

Once you notice excessive brake dust on your wheels, you need to find a way to reduce it by following the recommendations stated above.

Akindayini Temiloluwa

I am Akindayini Temiloluwa, an automotive expert writer and car enthusiast. I have over three years of experience in the automotive writing niche and have completed over 300 pieces of content from 50 projects. I have vast knowledge and skill in vehicle repairing, all mechanical work, car upgrades and maintenance. My goal as an automotive content writer is to simplify the most challenging concepts for my readers, help them self-diagnose what may be wrong with their vehicles and offer real value for their time.

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