How to Polish Mirror Alloy Wheels

Written by keith dooley
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How to Polish Mirror Alloy Wheels
Polish wheels to a mirror shine with aluminium polish. (Classic Car Wheel image by ne_fall_photos from

Alloy wheels are wheels made of an aluminium or magnesium alloy, and sometimes a combination of the two. They're used on vehicles of all types. Alloy wheels aren't just for looks; they have an actual purpose: The alloy is a good heat conductor; it pulls heat away from brakes faster, helping the brakes to stay cool. Also, alloy is stronger than steel, so it holds up better when you, say, drive into a curb at 50 miles per hour. The appearance of alloy wheels ranges from a flatter "brushed metal" look to a shiny, mirrored look. Cleaning mirrored wheels takes a bit of arm strength.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Grease remover
  • Soap and water
  • Aluminium polish
  • Wheel polish
  • Rags

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  1. 1

    Clean the wheels with a grease remover to clean the wheels of grime.

  2. 2

    Wash the alloy wheels with soap and water to remove the grease cleaner and any grit. You want them clean when you polish them so that you do not scratch their surfaces.

  3. 3

    Rub the wheels with a soft dry cloth to remove the water, then allow the wheels to sit for a while to make sure all the moisture is gone. For new wheels, this is more than likely the last step needed. If the wheel are scratched up or have a film, you will need to continue.

  4. 4

    Rub on an aluminium polish with your hand or a rag.

  5. 5

    Polish by rubbing with a rag in circles. Rub until the aluminium polish is pretty much gone.

  6. 6

    Wipe with a clean rag to remove the polish residue. Repeat the process until you get the mirror shine for which you are striving. Once you get a fairly good shine on the alloy wheels, use a wheel polish to finish them out. Apply the wheel polish in the same manner as you did the aluminium polish.

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure your polishes and cleaners do not have ammonia or acid. These could harm the wheels over time.

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