Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Excessive brake dust on wheel — sign of a brake problem?

Is excessive brake dust on a wheel a sign of a brake problem?


When you see excessive brake dust on just one wheel, that’s a sign of a problem with the brake on that wheel. Here’s why it happens and what to check.

A seized caliper causes rapid brake pad and brake rotor wear

If the caliper slide pins corrode and seize, or the brake pads seize in the slides, the brake caliper can’t release properly. That prevents the brake pads from moving away from the caliper when you back off the brake pedal. The continued rubbing causes the brake pad and rotor to wear out, causing excessive brake dust to form on your wheels.


A seized caliper can cause brakes to wear down to metal-on-metal

If the brake caliper or pad can’t release from the rotor, the friction material can wear off completely until the point where you’re braking metal-on-metal. All the brake dust from pad wear, backing plate wear and rotor wear will show up on that wheel. Here’s what metal-on-metal looks like.

metal on metal brakes

Brake dust is normal, but excessive brake dust on one wheel is not

All brakes produce some brake dust. Semi-metallic brake pads produce the most brake dust, while non-asbestos organic (NAO) and ceramic brake pads produce far less dust. So excessive brake dust on one wheel is the sign that something’s wrong at that wheel.

Check the brake pads and caliper on the wheel that’s producing the most brake dust

Remove the wheel. Disconnect the caliper and check both the inboard and outboard pad for movement in the pad slide area. Then check the caliper slide pins for easy movement. Remove any rust in the abutment slide area and lubricate with high temperature brake grease. Lubricate the caliper slide pins as well.

©, 2023 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat

Custom Wordpress Website created by Wizzy Wig Web Design, Minneapolis MN