Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Brake dust shield — what does it do?

A brake dust shield extends the life of your brake pads

A brake dust shield is a thin piece of metal mounted to the steering knuckle. It creates airflow around the inboard brake pad and inboard side of the brake rotor to keep dirt off. Unlike the outboard side that is more exposed, the inboard side is more prone to catching road debris and grinding it against the rotor. By keeping the inboard pad and rotor clean, it extends the life of both.

What goes wrong with the shields?

They rust: Over time, the thin metal shields rust and disintegrate. Replacements aren’t expensive, costing less than $50 each. But in almost all vehicles, replacing the shield requires complete brake disassembly. So it’s best to have your brake dust shield inspected during a brake job, and if rust is detected, replaced while the brakes are already apart.

rusted brake dust shield

Rusted and missing dust shields can’t protect the inboard brake pad and rotor from dirt and grit, so they wear out faster.

They bend: Brake dust shields bend easily and if a DIYer grabs it while trying to turn the front wheels, they can bend it to the point where it touches the brake rotor. This produces high-pitched metal-to-metal squeal sounds. To correct the problem, just bend it away from the rotor using your hand.

Where to buy replacement shields

You can buy replacement shields for many popular vehicles at any auto parts store or online seller. However, for low volume vehicles, you’ll most likely have to buy them from the dealer.

©, 2021 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat

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