Why do my front rims get so oily? - Smart Car Forums
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#1 (permalink) Old 10-12-2009, 11:06 AM
 
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Why do my front rims get so oily?

Every time I wash my Smart I have to do the front rims last because they get coated in an oily material.The rear rims accumulate this film at a much slower rate.

Is there something in the workings of the front brakes that spins off lubricant 10x faster than the rear wheels?

Or should I be worrying about a pathological condition in the front wheels that gives this result?
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#2 (permalink) Old 10-12-2009, 11:12 AM
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Brake dust from the front Disck brakes is your problem.

Drum brakes in the rear don't have that problem. I never clean the back ones and always clean the front. The backs always look better
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#3 (permalink) Old 10-12-2009, 11:19 AM
 
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There are alternative pads (possibly combined with different rotors) as well as dust shields which some have recommended and others have warned about.

Brake dust is a mess but a necessary evil. Without brake dust, brakes either wouldn't work or would make extreme noise. Some situations produce more dust, some less. Stock pads on front smart rotors produce more.

Some on this board also recommend waxing the rims as a way to reduce the amount of maintenance.
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#4 (permalink) Old 10-12-2009, 11:19 AM
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You could install Kleen Wheels brake dust shields. They made a big difference in mine, the fronts stay clean much longer even with the OEM pads.
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#5 (permalink) Old 10-12-2009, 11:26 AM
 
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So this is not an oil film?
I don't need soapy water to clean the rims?
Any quick clean ideas in between full washes?
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#6 (permalink) Old 10-12-2009, 11:34 AM
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Like John said, A good coat of Wax will help with clean up.

Other option is to get a set of Mat Black wheels so you don't notice it as much

I use the two Bucket method of washing my car (one soapy and one fresh)
When I'm done washing everything else I move to the front wheels. I switch from the sponge to a Microfiber towel in the soapy water. This way I can reach all around the standard wheels and get the backs of the spokes as ell. No scrubbing needed once waxed. You just need to rub all areas of the wheel to loosen the dirt. When I'm done I splash whats left of my clean water on the wheels to rinse.
You can make yourself nuts with them. Once I drive a few Miles anything that didn't rinse off will be splattered all over the wheels. Life is to short to care that much

Last edited by forestacademy; 10-12-2009 at 11:39 AM.
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#7 (permalink) Old 10-12-2009, 12:45 PM
 
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One thing - you need to keep up with the cleaning of the brake dust from your front wheels. It is caustic and will eventually burn itself into the wheels and damage the finish. A simple wipe with a rag and something like Meguiar's Quick Detailer will help between washes, but take care of it at least once a week to keep the wheels looking pristine.

Waxing the wheels definitely helps the brake dust come off when it comes time to wash, and it keeps the wheels shining nicely.

My smart gets a bath every Sunday - I drive about 150 miles a week right now - depending on whether I have been screaming down the highway or doing a lot of in-city driving, my wheels are either greyish black, or they damn near match the tires... gotta love the German automotive industry's brake performance and environmental requirements.
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#8 (permalink) Old 10-12-2009, 01:37 PM
 
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rejex

I use RejeX on the wheels - works really well to reduce/slow the build up of brake dust and dust cleans off easier.
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#9 (permalink) Old 10-13-2009, 02:53 AM
 
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Thanks for the info everybody.
I never knew there was such a thing as brake dust before!
The winter tires will be going on soon so it will be a great time to clean and wax these rims...
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#10 (permalink) Old 10-13-2009, 03:17 AM
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I have used some wheel cleaner which has a slight acidic property to it on the aluminum rims on my other vehicle. it does a good job of cleaning and doesn't harm the finish on the rims. Been using it for over 5 years now just about weekly. It still takes some scrubbing to get it off. A nylon bottle brush works pretty good and doesn't scratch anything.

I did switch to ceramic pads and the dust buildup was much less.
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