How to polish aluiminium wheels & fuel tanks on semi's

Updated February 21, 2017

Semi trucks are more than work vehicles for truck drivers. These trucks can serve as homes for drivers, and most drivers take pride in keeping their trucks in showroom condition. Semi trucks can be customised with a variety of parts to make them as unique as their drivers. Aftermarket aluminium parts make even the most plain-looking truck stand out, and polishing the wheels and tanks is a simple way to keep a truck looking its very best.

Wet the surface of the aluminium with the hose and scrub away any road grime and debris with a steel wool pad. Move the steel wool in small circles over the surface, working around the straps on the tank and the lug nuts on the wheels. Use the metal grill brush to scrub away any stuck-on material. Rinse with plenty of clean water.

Pour a small amount of metal cleaner on a soft rag and rub over the entire surface of the tank. Work slowly, rubbing in a circular motion, from the front of the tank to the back. Move to the wheels, cleaning each wheel with a new rag. Wrap the rag over your finger to get into hard-to-reach areas.

Wipe a thin coat of aluminium polish over the tank and over each wheel, making sure to get the polish onto every surface, for even polishing. Start at the rear driver-side wheel, working around to the passenger side to allow the wax plenty of time to dry.

Rub the polishing cloth vigorously over the aluminium, once the polish has dried. Hold the cloth against your palm and press down firmly, working in the same circular motion as you did to clean the tanks. Mircofiber cloths work best, as they remove the polish without scratching the delicate aluminium surface.

Spray a coat of wax over the polished wheels and tank to protect them. Leave the wax to dry for at least 30 minutes, then wipe away any excess wax with a clean rag.


Aluminium tanks and wheels should be polished at least once a month to keep chemicals and debris from pitting the surface. Aluminium is softer and more susceptible to damage than other metals.

Things You'll Need

  • Hose
  • Steel wool
  • Metal grill brush
  • Metal cleaner
  • Soft rags
  • Aluminium polish
  • Polishing cloth
  • Spray wax
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About the Author

Louise Lawson has been a published author and editor for more than 10 years. Lawson specializes in pet and food-related articles, utilizing her 15 years as a sous chef and as a dog breeder, handler and trainer to produce pieces for online and print publications.