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Greg, Technician
Category: VW
Satisfied Customers: 6755
Experience:  17 years Shop Owner /Technician. 27 years experience,
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I have a 2005 Passat turbo, that recently had brake work

Customer Question

I have a 2005 Passat turbo, that recently had brake work done. The hub caps on both front wheels are black. I had been told that it was 'dust' from the brake pads and normal for new brake work. I have NEVER seen this before, and have begun looking at other cars as I drive. No other car seems to have anywhere near the amount of black showing.
What is causing this?
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: VW
Expert:  Greg replied 2 months ago.

Hi .

Yes this is true that the black is from your braked pads and rotors , very common on cars that drive many miles and do a lot of braking due to hilly area's ,lot of stop and starts .

Very important that the Alu wheels are kept clean with weekly wash or the Alu will corrode .

Here is a good write up on this issue from EBC brakes .

Please click here for link .

Still need additional information then please get back to me with the reply button, and not the poor or bad service, this way i can get back to you or suggest another expert if needed.

Your deposit does not pay me until the answer is rated in a positive way,
A bad rating does not constitute a refund.
If you are not happy or you have sorted out your problem before the answer then please let me know with the reply button .
Kind regards Greg.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Are you saying that black hubcaps are NORMAL? I live on Long Island, so am NOT dealing with hilly or mountainous terrain. I am babying this car, because I am very nervous about what may or may not be happening to the brakes.I need more details about what is causing the amount of black to be building up. The brakes were serviced a little past 3 months ago.IF aluminum hubcaps need to be kept clean, why wasn't I advised to do this, and are there any other aluminum parts that can wind up impacted by this amount of brake dust being spit out?As I said in original question, MY CAR is the only one I'm seeing that looks like this.
Expert:  Greg replied 2 months ago.

Could you please take a photo of the wheel for me so i can see the issue .

Thank you Greg

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I also do not drive anywhere near what would be classed as "many miles". My front hubcaps are BLACK! I added pictures, which do not show as dark as the hubcaps look like. These pictures were taken a few days ago.The rear tires do not have this build up.
Expert:  Greg replied 2 months ago.

Yes Brenda thats brake soot from cheap brakes .

The style of brake pad is to blame.
The 2 most common pad that cause this issue are organic or semi-metallic.

Organic brake pads are a pressed pad of material that is very soft and disintegrates easily.
It helps create a quiet stop with a shorter braking distance.

Semi-metallic brake pads are organic with metallic material mixed in.
This creates a longer lasting brake pad than an organic, but is also a primary cause of brake noise.

The most effective solution to reducing brake dust is to use a ceramic brake pad

Rgds Greg

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
how does one convince Volkswagen to do this? Why wasn't I given the choice or information regarding this potential problem?How do I proceed from here? When I clicked on a link earlier on, here, that discussed the types of brake pads, the information given there stated that a special cleaner was needed to keep this dust cleaned because it was corrosive to aluminum parts.Do you know what types of pads are officially recommended by Volkswagen?
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
When I had been at the service center, to have this, and another problem checked I had noticed something inside the brake/wheel area that looked corroded. The service rep told me that it was the caliper. Would this type of brake dust create problems with this component?
Expert:  Greg replied 2 months ago.

Brenda VW normally use a good set of pads from ATE or Bosch .

you would have to ask what they used or next time use a independent VW shop

and have the brakes done there.and tell them what pads you want so not to have this problem .

A good wheel cleaner at autozone will work good, or also a good small 2" paint brush hair cut in by half and a squirt of dishwasher liquid mixed with warm water and scrub the wheels will get the dust off..

Rgds Greg

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Why do I NEED to ask what is being used? Shouldn't I be informed by the service center, since "they" are claiming to have the expertise?Do you know of any highly rated independent Volkswagen repair centers on Long Island, New York? I cannot afford to replace the car. I also want to feel safe while driving it. Is the car safe?
Expert:  Greg replied 2 months ago.

Hi Brenda .

The compound used in the brakes that let off a lot sooty dust will not affect the brakes and you will be safe .

if the pads have just been replaced just keep the rim nice and clean and don't worry too much this is normal

to be sure that the new brakes are better than the old ones just wash the rim and keep an eye on the build up .

Don't let this worry you Brenda you will be okay ..

Kindest regards Greg

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Thanks for all of the response, Greg. The link that was in your first answer said that this dust was corrosive to aluminum. Would I need to make sure that any of the actual brake components got cleaned, too?I have a bad back and this is going to be a bit of a hardship for me. Would going through a car wash remove the dust buildup?I'm trying not to worry, ...... not very successfully. I'm almost 60, and this is a first. I'm not "getting" why the rest of the world does not have black hubcaps after a pad change. <--- THAT part just doesn't "jive".Brenda
Expert:  Greg replied 2 months ago.

Hi Brenda sorry did not get back sooner had to pick up a car .

Most likely the others have there wheels cleaned because of this problem .

they most likely use this product PLEASE CLICK HERE

This would be perfect for you ,just spray it on wait a minute or two, then spray off with the garden hose .

No scrubbing or bending down , you need a car was that does wheels before you go thougfh the wash as many car wash

don't do wheel that good .

Rgds Greg

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