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Old 02-26-2008, 06:29 AM   #1
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Is This Wheel Cleaner Hurting My Brakes?

Just purchased 2006 base Boxster. I have the standard 17" allow wheels. For my first washing last week, I used Professional's Favorite "No More Dust" (black bottle) wheel cleaner on the wheels. Seemed to work fine. Just spray it on and hose off the dirt. When I looked at the car later in the day, I noticed that the brakes further inside the wheel had a bright orange (rust?) stain on them, which was not there before. I am assuming that this orange buildup came from my use of the wheel cleaner. Orange coating went away after I drove the car a little bit and everything looks fine now.

My question is whether or not this wheel cleaner (and orange residue it leaves) is hurting my brakes in any way.

Any comments and help is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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Old 02-26-2008, 06:57 AM   #2
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Anytime the Discs get wet, they'll gain a layer of surface rust very quickly, it's not your Wheel Cleaner. First application of the brakes wears it off - no problem at all.

Some people paint the Hats and edges of their discs so these do not rust, because rust on those areas is not worn off by the brake pads.

Check your cleaner to make sure it doesn't have any acid, ammonia or silicone. Your wheels are painted and don't like that stuff, but there are cleaners out there which contain it. Make sure it says Safe for Painted or Clearcoated wheels and you're good.
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Old 02-26-2008, 10:04 AM   #3
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OK. Great. Will read the bottle as you suggest. Thanks!
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Old 02-26-2008, 10:35 AM   #4
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As mentioned before, surface rust of the disks is normal after washing. Taking your car out for a quick spin after washing to dry the breaks helps. Also some wheel cleaners contain harsh chemicals that will damage the paint on your calipers, lug nuts, and the colored crests on the center caps.
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Old 02-26-2008, 03:20 PM   #5
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Try a trick I learned here on the forum last year...

Take your leaf blower (or go buy a cheap electric one if you don't own one) and blow off your rims and brake discs before you dry the car.

In fact, blow as much water off the whole car before you dry it.

Frankly, any scheme you devise to diminish towels of any sort coming into contact with your paint is a good thing and keeps swirl marks from appearing prematurely.

I blow dry my car every time I wash it, and even more religiously now that I've "upgraded" to cross drilled rotors, which can easily drip rusty water drops onto my new Carrera lights.
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Old 02-27-2008, 06:25 AM   #6
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yeah careful with those wheel cleaners, most sold at the Pepboys or Autozone are not neutral. I learned this the hardway with a set of autocross wheels once.
One spraying and it pitted the polished lip and stripped away the clear coat.

Stick with the neutral wheel cleaners like P21S.
The Poorboys Wheel Cleaner is also good but its potent, so it should be rinsed off and used only on the wheels.
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Old 02-27-2008, 06:46 AM   #7
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Perfectlap is the detail king here, so do heed his advice!

The only thing I'd toss into his comments are that there is nothing wrong with using a reputable brand of car wash soap (not dishwashing liquid) and water and some elbow grease. I never use wheel cleaner on my wheels, but just use a microfiber mitt and very soapy water.

BTW, applying some wheel wax to your rims after removal and a thorough cleaning will really help to keep them clean. If the surface is slick, the brake dust cannot adhere to it as easily.

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