What is the Best Way to Clean Alloy Wheels?

Alloy wheels add an impressive level of style to any car, yet their gorgeous sheen can quickly become compromised by dirt and grime. One major source is brake dust created through friction that builds up over time on the rims if it is not regularly cleaned away.

Cleaning alloy wheels – whether painted or clear coated – can be made simple and straightforward with the appropriate products and tools. Here’s how.

1. Washing

Alloy wheels add flair to any car, yet can quickly become dirty. Just like with anything in a vehicle, alloy wheels must be regularly maintained in order to look their best and remain in top condition. Key areas for care include bodywork, interior and wheels and tyres – keeping these in good condition will help achieve that showroom finish that many strive for!

First step to cleaning mag wheels: power-wash them. Use either a standard garden hose or pressure washer set at high water flow and wear rubber or latex gloves when power-washing, in order to avoid scratching the wheels. A second bucket with clean water may come in handy for rinsing off any wheel shampoo as this ensures you do not mix chemicals from it with the tyres, potentially compromising them further.

Once your wheels have been power-washed, a wheel cleaner with sponge or wash mitt (there are several available specifically for alloy wheels) should be used to remove any remaining dirt. Most of this dirt is brake dust from friction between tyres and the rotor when applying brakes – this dust consists of small metal shavings from the rotor that must be regularly removed in order to avoid building up on your wheels.

Effective wheel cleaners will feature a foaming action that effectively penetrates tight spaces of your wheels to remove baked-on dirt. Plus, these products won’t damage either tyres or lacquer, saving money in costly refurbishment costs in the future. Plus, the best products even change color to indicate when they have done their work and it is time for you to rinse them off!

Steel wheels remain the most prevalent choice on vehicles today, but aluminium alloy, or “mag”, wheels have seen increasing popularity among vehicle owners. Mag wheels combine aluminium with other elements to improve strength to weight ratio as well as heat conductivity and cosmetic appeal; available finishes for aluminium mag wheels include silver, black or gold and can even be clear coated, powder-coated, painted or anodised for better aesthetics and heat conduction properties.

2. Scrubbing

A top quality wheel cleaner will remove stubborn dirt from your alloy wheels while simultaneously protecting their finish, lengthening their lifespan and leaving them looking glossy and shiny. Furthermore, some models come equipped with an acid-free formula designed to prevent further corrosion build up on alloys.

Alternatively, consider investing in a professional grade wheel clay bar designed for this task – this will break down brake dust and grime that has built up on your wheel’s surface, helping protect its surface while potentially saving costly refurbishment bills in the future. Always follow instructions carefully on how best to apply this product correctly.

Prevent dirty water from getting onto your newly cleaned bodywork by washing your wheels first – be sure to rinse them well afterwards with clean water! If you do start with cleaning them first, ensure that they’re rinsed well afterwards with clean water for the best results.

Alloy wheels can be cleaned using various methods, with many turning to WD-40 as an inexpensive alternative to more costly wheel cleaners. WD-40 serves multiple functions including dispelling moisture, protecting against rust and corrosion, penetrating stuck parts, and lubricating mechanical products.

Before applying any cleaning product to your alloy wheels, be sure they are completely cooled to the touch. Allowing your wheels to heat up can cause the cleaners to evaporate before they can do their work and cause permanent damage. Hosing down each wheel with clean water before beginning can speed up this process and should be completed prior to any application of products.

Once the wheels have cooled off, spray one wheel at a time with a high-quality professional cleaner and follow its instructions for application. If your wheels contain roughcast aluminium or chrome surfaces, stronger wheel cleaners may be required than when applied on painted, clear coated, or anodised wheels. The best wheel cleaners leave alloy looking shiny and bright; some even change color to display just how much grime has been lifted away!

3. Rinsing

Wheels can become one of the dirtiest parts of any car. This makes them difficult to keep clean and often leads to an accumulation of grime that’s difficult or impossible to eradicate. To ensure they’re cleaned effectively and avoid harsh cleaners that might damage or dull them further, use products designed exclusively for cleaning alloy wheels such as this product instead – and remember to rinse your wheels afterward in order to eliminate any remaining product and dirt build-up!

Before washing the rest of your vehicle, it’s a wise move to first tackle your wheels. This will prevent splashing dirty water and wheel cleaner onto other areas of the car that could compromise its paint. Rinsing them after using a pressure washer will help ensure all loose dirt has been eliminated from them.

Alloy wheels give your car an attractive, sophisticated appearance, but can be difficult to keep clean. Their light color and porous surface attract dirt more easily than other areas of the car; one major source of dirtiness being created by brake dust that accumulates as brake pads do their work – creating an unsightly build-up that leaves dark brown streaks across them, giving the impression that they remain grubby even after having washed the entire vehicle!

Without regular cleaning of your wheels, they may become pitted and corroded over time, creating unsightly pitting that reduces performance. Regularly using an effective, pH balanced alloy wheel cleaner is key in order to prevent this from happening.

An all-purpose wheel cleaner will quickly dissolve outdoor dirt and brake dust to leave your wheels looking new again, as well as help restore their shine and protect them against future contamination. Furthermore, fallout removers or tar removers may help release stubborn contaminants clinging to them.

Use a wheel cleaner that is pH balanced and safe for most wheels, including factory-applied clear coats. CRC Mag Wheel Cleaner is an excellent non-acid formula designed to efficiently clean all types of wheels including clear coated alloy or magnesium wheels without harming their finish.

4. Drying

If you want a set of wheels that sparkle like new on your car, invest in a high-quality cleaning product specifically formulated for alloy wheels. While using products such as WD40 or vinegar will leave them clean, only wheel cleaner can eradicate baked-on dirt that’s been trapped beneath.

Alloy wheels, typically constructed of aluminium or magnesium, must be regularly polished to protect them against rusting. Wear and tear and brake dust will oxidise them over time, but more serious corrosion issues arise from acid rain or road fallout.

Corrosive substances can corrode away at the clear lacquer that covers your wheels and rims, leaving them susceptible to structural damage over time. A wheel wax can provide another form of protection, acting like paint sealants but on wheels and alloys instead – keeping them looking shiny and new for longer!

Once your wheels have been rinsed clean, apply your chosen cleaning product according to its directions on the bottle. In general, leave it on for five minutes before rinsing it off and drying them thoroughly to prevent watermarks – and you’re good to go!

To ensure all grime has been removed from your wheels, give them another rinse with either a pressure washer or hose to ensure no remaining cleaning solution or baked-on brake dust remains, which is particularly troublesome on steel wheels. This step will also help eliminate any remaining cleaning solution or baking-on of brake dust that has accumulated since previous cleaning attempts.

One effective strategy to avoid this situation is washing your wheels first before starting to detail your vehicle. Doing this allows you to avoid splashing wheel cleaner or brake dust residue all over newly cleaned and polished bodywork surfaces.

With proper care and maintenance, alloy wheels can remain looking their best for many years to come. By developing the habit of cleaning them regularly and using an appropriate cleaner on them regularly, your alloys will continue to look stunning alongside the rest of your car.