How to clean magnesium wheels

Written by nikki cash
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How to clean magnesium wheels
Mag wheels cosmetically enhance the beauty of any car. (sportscar wheelarch image by Christopher Dodge from

Magnesium (mag) wheels are more expensive than steel wheels because of their light weight, precise steering capability, better acceleration and greater breaking power. A mag wheel is also interchangeable with an alloy wheel because alloy is made from a combination of aluminium and magnesium. Mag wheels are popular for their stylish appearance. It is important to maintain mag wheels by cleaning them consistently and properly to prevent corrosion. Corrosion will lead to air leakage from the tire, requiring both tire and wheel replacement.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Hose
  • Detergent
  • Rag
  • Grease cleaner
  • Stick
  • Soft cloth
  • 400- or 600-grit foam painter's abrasive pad
  • Wheel cleaning compound
  • Buffer pad
  • Wheel polish

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  1. 1

    Spray the wheel with a high-pressure hose and detergent to clean off dirt and debris. Wipe down the wheel.

  2. 2

    Clean the wheel with grease cleaner. Scrub with a toothbrush to get to small, hard-to-reach areas. Wipe it down. For tight spots, wrap a stick with soft cloth and wipe off grease marks to prevent scratching, which will magnify later on.

  3. 3

    Sand down any pock marks on the wheel. Sand lightly to avoid scratching.

  4. 4

    Apply cleaning compound and rub liberally with a buffer pad. Wrap a stick with a soft cloth to get into tight spots.

  5. 5

    Polish it with a wheel polish and a soft rag to restore shine.

Tips and warnings

  • Avoid wheel polishes that contain ammonia or anhydrous chemicals and acids, which will became dull in appearance after about a week.
  • Work on small sections at a time.
  • Wear gloves and wash hands after cleaning.

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