How to Polish Alloy Wheels

Written by darren white
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The wheels are often the filthiest part of your car, so it helps to have a simple and inexpensive way to maintain the shine on alloy wheels at home in between costly detailing trips at the auto shop. Pick up some wet/dry sandpaper from a home improvement store and some wheel polish compounds from an auto supply shop, and you can do a fine polishing job on a sunny afternoon.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Sponge
  • Car wash soap
  • 1500-grit wet/dry sandpaper
  • 2000-grit wet/dry sandpaper
  • Clean cotton rags
  • Warm water
  • Polishing compound
  • Mothers Wheel Polish

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  1. 1

    Wash the dirt and grime from the wheels with a clean sponge soaked in hot water and car wash soap.

  2. 2

    Wet a piece of 1500-grit wet/dry sandpaper and sand the surface of the wheels in a circular motion as if you were sanding wood. Sand any scratches until they are as smooth as the rest of the wheel. Keep the sandpaper wet throughout the process.

  3. 3

    Wet a piece of 2000-grit wet/dry sandpaper and sand the wheel in the same manner as in Step 2 to refine the scratched areas.

  4. 4

    Apply two large drops of polishing compound to a dampened cotton rag. Rub the wheel in a circular, buffing motion until the compound disappears, starting on a flat part of the wheel. Add more compound to the rag as needed. Wipe down the wheel with a clean rag once you have polished the entire wheel.

  5. 5

    Apply a few drops of Mothers Wheel Polish to a clean rag and rub it onto the wheel until the polish disappears, as in Step 4. Apply more Mothers, as needed, as you polish the wheel.

  6. 6

    Polish your car's wheels with Mothers once a month to maintain their sheen.

Tips and warnings

  • Be sure to keep the wheels and the sandpaper wet throughout the sanding process.
  • This polishing process takes a few hours, so plan accordingly.

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