How to Clean Corroded Alloy Wheels

Written by claudia henning
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How to Clean Corroded Alloy Wheels
Gentle, frequent cleaning of alloy wheels is necessary. (wheel_fragment image by Sergey Galushko from

Alloy wheels, such as aluminium or chrome, are sensitive and easily damaged by road dirt and grime. Regular hand washing is important to avoid pitting, or corrosion. Once corrosion begins, cleaning them regularly is even more critical. Preventing further damage will save on replacement costs. According to Soni Motors, Thailand's top exporter of 4X4 vehicles, "Typical road soils trap moisture which can cause corrosion over a period of time." Gentle cleaners and non-abrasive cleaning methods are a must. An hour a week will keep already corroded alloy wheels looking their best.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Garden hose
  • Dish soap
  • Bucket
  • Soft rags
  • Terry cloth towels

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  1. 1

    Rinse each wheel with water using a garden hose. The wheels should be ambient air temperature when cleaning. Striking hot alloy wheels with cold water will cause cracking or flaking.

  2. 2

    Mix 1/4 cup dish soap with two gallons of water in a large bucket. Dip a soft cloth in the cleaning solution and begin scrubbing each wheel. Soak the rag in the soapy water after scrubbing 1/4 of each wheel. This will remove the grime that builds up on the rag.

  3. 3

    Rinse the wheels with the garden hose. Scrub away any remaining soil with the rag and rinse again.

  4. 4

    Wipe each wheel with a terry cloth towel. Let them finish air drying before moving the vehicle.

Tips and warnings

  • Wash alloy wheels once per week by hand for the best results.
  • Do not use scrub brushes or harsh chemicals on alloy wheels.
  • Allow the wheels adequate time to cool off before washing.
  • Do not wash alloy wheels in an automatic car wash. The scrubbing is abrasive and will damage the wheels.

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