Most cars these days run on alloy wheels. Clear coated alloy wheels are a common feature of all assembly line automobile productions.
Many car owners prefer to enhance the look of their vehicles by polishing the wheels using an aftermarket compound. This forges a more finished look on the wheels.
It’s also one of the important points to consider while cleaning alloy wheels. Brake dust, which mostly comprises adhesive materials and carbon fibers coming off from brake pads, are considered the worst enemy of alloy wheels.
Read on if you want to know how to clean alloy wheels.
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Things required to clean Alloy Wheels
Alloy wheels need regular maintenance and cleaning.
Besides water and a hose, the most common alloy wheel cleaning tools include a washing mitt or soft rags, a wheel cleaning brush, and large cotton swabs.
The swabs are useful for cleaning hard-to-reach spots on the wheel. While you can clean alloy wheels with vinegar, a mild cleaner and a polish are extremely useful.
Some alloy wheels, as already said, are sometimes waxed or coated with paint. So both the cleaner and the polish must be suitable for the finishing on the wheel. Petroleum jelly should be used for anodized aluminum-finished wheels.
How to Clean Alloy Wheels in 10 Steps
Here are 10 easy steps for the best way to clean alloy wheels.
1. Rinse Wheels
First rinse the wheels of your car to remove all the brake dust and loose dirt. The hose and nozzle will be useful for this purpose.
2. Spray Alloy Wheel Cleaner
Spray each wheel at a time with the alloy wheel cleaner. There are several popular wheel cleaners available in the market. These are non-acetic in nature and protect the finish on the wheels. Seek some expert opinion if you want to know how to clean alloy wheels with WD40.
3. Use a Brush
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Use a brush with soft bristles to agitate the alloy wheel.
Ideally, choose a brush which has a flexible stem and can fit into both the wide and narrow spaces of the inside of a wheel.
The soft and synthetic bristles of the brush, dusts off the brake dust and grime from the wheel, sans scratching its surface. Reach the brush through the spokes of your car’s wheels front to back.
4. Wheel Should be Wet
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Remember that while working with the brushes, the wheel should remain wet. The water spray, along with the wheel cleaner, not only loosens the grime, but also lubricates the surface of the wheel and prevents it from scratching. Never put the wheel cleaner dry on the wheel as it can spot the finish.
5. Brake Lug Nuts
Don’t forget the brake lug nuts while cleaning your alloy wheels. Brake dust hides at every possible place. Use a lug nut brush for cleaning around the nuts and inside the holes.
6. Clean with Water
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The best way to clean alloy wheels is with water. While down there, don’t forget to clean the fender wells on the wheel. This area collects a lot of mud and dirt when the tires roll. You may need a stronger cleaner than an all-purpose agent to clean this area. A brush with a longer handle can agitate the wheels better.
7. Use Proper Brushes
Never use a soft brush on the fender wells. Also, don’t use a wheel brush on the wheel itself. A sturdy and strong brush for the fender well, and a gentle and soft brush for the wheel itself, is the thumb rule.
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Rinse the entire wheel and the fender well including the space between the spokes and the lug nut holes.
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9. Use Microfiber Towel
A black-colored all-purpose microfiber towel which is soft and gentle on the finishing of the alloy wheel, should be used to wipe off the water. Since the color is black, the towel can be used on the wheels without spoiling it. The towel will also collect residual black dust from the wheel.
10. Keep Towel Away
Having rinsed the wheel, keep the towel away from other microfiber linen. You certainly won’t want brake dust to stick to your clothes.
Important Alloy Wheel Cleaning Tips
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The process to be observed on how to clean alloy wheels is not difficult. It takes time though to get rid of the slug and dirt that accumulate particularly on the unreachable parts of the wheel. But armed with a good hose and a steady supply of water, you can get a new look on your wheels.
Here are some key alloy wheel cleaning tips that you should keep in mind while going about the job.
1. You can remove the stubborn stains from the wheels of your vehicle using common household items like aluminum foil and cola.
2. Rust stains can be removed easily by soaking an aluminum foil in cola.
3. You can achieve the final shine on your wheels by using lemon. Rinse if off with water after about 10 minutes and the wheels will look as good as new.
4. Use wax after cleaning to forge the polished look on the wheels.
5. Don’t use polishing compounds, abrasive cleaners or steel wool on your alloy wheels. Use a cleaning brush specially made for the purpose.
6. Some automatic car washes use acid-based cleaners or destructive brushes. Know what you are using before applying them on the wheels.
7. Wash your wheels only after the car is cooled off to ensure that the heat doesn’t evaporate the water or leave behind soap spots.
8. Cleaning the wheels before the rest of the car will help you avoid the detritus over-spraying on to the car’s paint.
9. Never stem-clean your car’s wheels.