Behind the brake rotors is a dust shield.

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I'm interested in removing the dust shields on my car because I'm looking to install larger calipers than what my car originally came with. What is the purpose of this dust shield and what would be some consequences in cutting or removing it?

3 Answers 3


This shield has several purposes:

  • Water splash shield
  • Dust, rock and dirt shield
  • It directs cooling air over the rotors and pads.

This means that rotor cooling could be significantly affected due to changes in cooling air routing. Increased water splash could increase the possibility of shock cooling of the rotors. Large particles such as small stones could more easily reach the caliper to rotor interface with resulting in noise and maybe binding. Increased rotor scoring as more larger dirt particles reach the rotor pad interface.

  • 1
    The word "significant" in regards to cooling the rotors seems a little strong to me. Then again, I have no idea how much air the shields are capable of directing to the rotors. In fact, considering that the rim and shield essentially enclose the rotors, I was assuming that the shields actually made it more difficult for air to reach the rotors from the back.
    – Ellesedil
    Jun 24, 2016 at 18:03
  • 1
    @Ellesedil That's the biggest problem I have with this answer. You will find dust shields on the rear brakes, but NOT the front brakes of most cars. On most cars the rear brakes do very little work and need very little cooling as they generate little heat. It's the fronts that get hot. Also, they are still totally open to water/dust/rocks from the outside. When they do take a rock hit from the inside they tend to dent easily and then rub against your rotor. I have a hard time buying any of the answers posted on this question so far. May 2, 2019 at 16:15

It protects brake disks from dust and mud. Brake pads will wear out much faster without it.
IMHO, cutting will not harm anything.


They protect steering joints from rotor heat. It’s your ball joint boots, tie rod ends, etc you need to be concerned about. It’s not about the rotor.

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