Cleaning and Polishing Alloy Wheels

Before we get started please refer to the tools required for cleaning and polishing allow wheels for product suggestions.

polishing allow wheelsMost of the new cars coming into the market today have clear coated alloy wheels. Some upgrade their wheels to polished alloy wheels.

Brake dust is the number 1 enemy of your vehicle’s wheels. It is composed of fibers and metal shavings that your brake pad produces as you constantly step on your brakes. This mixture is highly corrosive to the wheels because of the intense heat cause by the friction between the pads and the rotor, and a lot is produced since you will constantly brake as you drive. Cleaning the wheels regularly is the best way of maintaining the condition of the rims.

Image courtesy of Bart

Step by Step Process in Cleaning and Polishing Allow Wheels

  1. Like we mentioned in the guide How to Wash a Car, always start off with the wheels when you wash your vehicle. Rinse the wheels to remove any loose dirt and grime.
  2. Spray the wheels and tires with an alloy wheel safe cleaner, let it sit for a few minutes to loosen up dirt. Remember to clean one wheel at a time.
  3. Agitate the dirt and wheel dust with a wheel brush, use the different types of brushes to reach the tough spots.
  4. Don’t forget to clean the wheel or fender wells with a wheel brush or wash mitt, you may need to use a strong cleaner for this.
  5. Rinse the wheels well.
  6. Dry the wheel. Make sure you use a separate towel for the wheels so you won’t cross contaminate dirt from the wheels to the body.
  7. Repeat until you finish all four wheels.

Claying the Alloy Wheels

Claying the wheels is a step you need to take when you want to get rid of the dirt and brake dust sticking on the wheels that isn’t removed after washing. Use a wheel clay as it is specially designed for the wheels, and do not use the clay you used on the wheels on the body to avoid cross contamination.

  1. Generously spray quick detailer or spray detailer on the wheels.
  2. Fold and knead your claybar then flatten it. Rub the claybar on the wheels and spokes.
  3. Wipe off excess quick detailer and clay residue on the wheels.
  4. Repeat until you finish all four wheels.

Polishing Alloy Wheels

Use a polishing tool to apply the polish on the wheels for consistency.

  1. Wipe the alloy polish on the wheels.
  2. Attach the polishing tool on a drill of your choice and start with a low speed then gradually increase until you work the polish down.
  3. Use a microfiber towel to wipe away any polish residue.
  4. Move to the next wheel until you finish.

Waxing Alloy Wheels

Apply wheel wax with a foam applicator or applicator pad, this adds a protective layer on the wheels to prevent the brake dust from sticking. We recommend that you apply wheel wax weekly or as recommended by the manufacturer, by doing this you will only need to rinse off the wheels instead of scrubbing them with a brush. It also makes your wheels look clean longer.

Final Touches – Applying Tire Dressing

When buying tire dressing, make sure it is water based and that it does not contain silicone. Silicone can do some damage on the tires when used extensively. Apply thin coats on the tires with a foam applicator so it does not splatter as the tire rotates. Tire dressing rejuvenates the look of the tire and adds some protection.

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