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Originally posted on Pro Wheels Direct


Why clean your wheels?

It can be cathartic or it can be the greatest pain, but cleaning your car has to get done at one point or another. So why focus on the wheels? They’re the base to your car, first off. Whatever’s on the ground or you run over gets stuck on and inside the rim. Not only can this look nasty and unkempt, but it can also do actual damage. Take simple brake dust, for example: it’s a film of tiny, adhesive, corrosive carbon fibers that wear down the surface of alloy wheels. Who wants the nice, protective finish on their wheels eaten off or dulled down from this?

Sure fire steps to maintaining alloy wheel

Wash your tires thoroughly.

When washing your car, pay special attention to the tires and the crevices of the rim. Any regular car soap will do just fine for cleaning; however, when it comes to the alloy specifically, spray them with a cleaner specifically for alloy wheels. The spray is non acidic and will help protect the wheel’s finish. During this cleaning process, always be sure to keep the wheel wet. This will prevent scratching from the drying cleaner, and will also keep it from being a spotty finish.

To clean along the wheel, you’ll want a brush that’s flexible enough to reach into the corners and spaces, and has bristles that aren’t hard enough to scratch the wheel, but will still loosen the dirt, grime, and brake dust that has built up.

Don’t forget to clean the nuts and bolts while you’re down there. Brake dust is like pollen, dander, and any other small particle; it can hide anywhere. The wheel wells may also need some maintenance since the brake dust goes everywhere. The wheel wells can also rust and cause holes in the car, which require welding to fix. All purpose cleaner should be enough to keep them clean, just use a stronger brush to wash them instead of a gentle brush.

A little primping never hurts.

When they’re cleaned and ready to go, give the wheels and the wheel well a solid rinse off, and then pat dry to keep spots from showing up. It’s not a big deal, but it doesn’t make them look as clean as the work you just put in. Autogeek suggests using detailing clay to remove embedded debris. The clay is to be used after the cleaning but not before the polishing or waxing.

To use the clay, spray the wheels with shine made for clay and flatten the clay like a pancake over your fingers. Then you simply rub the clay on the wheel, focusing on getting between the spokes and anywhere you see black spots. When one side of the clay becomes dirty, fold it to use the clean sides, and when you’re done just take a detailer to remove anything the clay may have left behind.

Next comes polishing the wheels.

You’ll want to pick your polish based on the type of wheel you have. Aluminum alloy can tarnish and rust, so polish for these types will have the ability to remove oxidation. Clear coated alloys don’t rust or tarnish, so they’ll require a different type of care.

The polish should be applied with a polishing tool to keep the coat even, and will give consistency when spreading the polish around the wheel. To apply, wipe the polish of your choice onto the wheel, and then with your tool, (electric drill complete with polishing tool), spread the polish around, and continue until the polish starts to dry or diminish.

Wax is to be applied after the polishing to keep them clean and dry. The wax is the wheel protectant to keep your hard work showing longer. The product keeps them shiny, and protects against brake dust adhesion. To apply, wait for the wheels to be dry after you’ve finished cleaning them, then apply a good quality protectant with an applicator pad.

The process seems lengthy, but it only takes a couple minutes per wheel to apply and go through the process. Afterwards, it only needs to be done once a week for upkeep.
 
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