The long-running quality survey added brake dust as one of its 228 quality concerns back in 2006 in response to several survey-takers filling in "brake dust" as a write-in complaint. David Sargent, vice president for automotive research at J.D. Power, told The New York Times that brake dust is given the same weight as serious mechanical malfunctions. The reason, says Sargent, is that customers don't feel that brake dust is "trivial," and while malfunctions can be repaired, brake dust lingers for a very long time.
When asked by The Times why brake dust is even on a quality survey, Sargent mentioned that the survey gauges consumer perception, adding "the purpose of the study is to report back problems as defined by consumers."
Conversely, Consumer Reports does not use brake dust as a quality issue. Vehicle testing head Mark Champion admitted to the Times that cleaning brake dust is annoying, "but it is not actually a failure of the brakes." What say you? Hit the jump to take part in our poll.
[Source: NY Times Wheels Blog]