Why do my wheels turn bronze-colored? Brake dust?

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by kevelev, Jun 27, 2018.

  1. kevelev

    kevelev Junior Member

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    2011 Prius (Base model, non plug-in). Why do my wheels start turning this color? Is it brake dust? The residue was on the outside of all 4 wheels as well but I scrubbed it off. I had to use a rough scrubber to remove it because wheel cleaner didn't do anything. 20180624_170627.jpg
     
  2. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    affirmative. how many miles on her? are the pads holding up well?
    not sure about the inside, but my outsides are pretty clean after 60k. maybe pads are rubbing too much.
     
  3. kevelev

    kevelev Junior Member

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    Yes the pads are holding up well. There are at least 40,000 miles on the pads. I'd say there is still 3/4 life left in them. I recently replaced a wheel bearing in the front and cleaned and re-lubed all the front brakes. The car has about 105,000 miles, but I don't know how many were on the brakes before I got the car from the dealer.
     
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  4. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Underfoot

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    How many miles on it? That sort of looks "baked on". Glossy-bronze appearance is odd. Feel all the wheels after an extended drive, see if any feel hot?
     
  5. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    That is the brake pad material. Try using gunk on it. Or brake cleaner, but that's expensive, but effective.
     
  6. kenoarto

    kenoarto Senior Member

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    What is the point of cleaning this unseen part of the wheel? Doesn't the gunk actually protect the metal a little?
     
  7. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    Gunk is a cleaner. Unless you get that crappy foammy stuff. What a waste.
    I don't see how it would protect anything. Gunk, use a brush if you need to, then rinse with water.
     
  8. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Underfoot

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    Not sure, that looks so glossy, like it's baked:

    upload_2018-6-27_9-33-37.png

    And even in the hub zone?
     
  9. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Underfoot

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    Shot of ours:

    IMG_8926.JPG
    (Fronts look similar.)
     
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  10. kenoarto

    kenoarto Senior Member

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    LOL! Ya I was using the term "gunk" in its original definition of "dirt". I hate when corporations confuse our language:
    Gunk | Definition of Gunk by Merriam-Webster
     
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  11. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    Okay! :) :) it was all gunked up!
     
  12. kevelev

    kevelev Junior Member

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    The glossiness is because the photo was taken right after i hosed it off. The hub zone is the result of not using anti-seize between the steel hub and the aluminum wheel.
     
  13. kevelev

    kevelev Junior Member

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    You're right. I don't need to clean it, but the same thing will happen on the outside of the wheel, and that I DO care about. I was just surprised how hard it was to clean. I had to scrub every little spot with a Scotchbrite pad. But I can try the other cleaners mentioned.
     
  14. kevelev

    kevelev Junior Member

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    What I don't understand is why it's a sticky residue. Most brake dust I've seen is just that - dust. This is like a thin film that is stuck on.
     
  15. Raytheeagle

    Raytheeagle Senior Member

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    Could of it be something that was on the road that you ran through?

    Oil patch? Accident scene remnants before absorbent material could be applied?

    Once the sticky material is there, could dust, dirt or some other particulate be adhered (maybe even brake dust?
     
  16. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Underfoot

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    To argue with myself: I was doing the brakes on a Pilot, and the inside of the rims looked somewhat similar. Maybe heat bakes the brake dust somehow?
     
  17. kevelev

    kevelev Junior Member

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    Possibly, I'm gonna monitor it and see if it comes back on the cleaned areas.
     
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  18. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    Think of this, the inside of the wheel is a cavity, it will collect water, dirt, grime, and anything else.
    The rotor spins throwing the brake pad dust against the inside of the rim. Some gets thrown on the outer
    section of the rim but you have a steady flow of air blowing it way so it won't be as bad. Notice other vehicles
    that will have dirty front rims.
     
  19. padroo

    padroo Senior Member

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    You don't drive on those famous NY dirt roads do you. I heard they use salt on those roads year round.
    Prius rotors will rust overnight and clean off with a few brake applications, my guess is rust and brake dust.
     
  20. kevelev

    kevelev Junior Member

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    Yes, I drive in upstate NY. They do use salt, but only in the winter, lol. I haven't noticed them getting worse since I cleaned them off in the spring, so maybe it is from the salt.
     
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