How to Restore Chrome Wheels

Written by meghan mcclain
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How to Restore Chrome Wheels
Chrome wheels are relatively easy to restore and maintain. (rims image by Brett Bouwer from

Chrome wheels can need restoring for a number of reasons. Road salt or brake dust builds up on your wheels over time, making them appear stained or dingy. Thankfully there are easy steps that will restore your chrome wheels and protect them from other corrosive materials. The process can be repeated weekly or bi-weekly to keep your wheels looking shiny and new.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Bucket
  • 6 cups all-purpose automobile cleaner
  • 4 cups of warm water
  • Sponge
  • Soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Lint-free cleaning cloths (2)
  • Chrome polishing compound (any brand)
  • Automotive spray wax (any brand)

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  1. 1

    Combine 6 cups of any universal automobile cleaner and 4 cups of warm water in the bucket. Soak a clean sponge in the mixture.

  2. 2

    Remove any dirt or debris using the wet sponge and the mixed solution.

  3. 3

    Scrub the wheel after it has been saturated using the soft-bistled toothbrush. Scrub in small, circular motions, paying extra attention to especially soiled or hard to reach areas.

  4. 4

    Rinse the wheel with cool running water immediately after scrubbing. Not rinsing immediately could result in soap spots.

  5. 5

    Dry the wheel completely using one lint-free cleaning cloth. Be sure to dry the area as soon as it has been rinsed to avoid build-up.

  6. 6

    Polish the wheel by applying a dab of chrome polishing compound onto the second lint-free cloth. Rub the cloth in smooth, circular motions. Add more compound if needed to achieve the desired look.

  7. 7

    Spray a very thin coat of automotive spray wax on the wheel after it has been polished to help protect the wheel from further damage.

Tips and warnings

  • Do not use anything more abrasive than a soft-bristled toothbrush to scrub the wheel as it will scratch the surface of the chrome.
  • All cleaning materials needed can be bought at any automotive supply store.
  • Wear rubber gloves during the cleaning process to protect the skin.
  • Follow all directions on the cleaning product labels.

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