How to Recondition, Refurbish & Remove Corrosion From Chrome Wheels

Updated July 20, 2017

Chrome wheels have been very popular over the years due to their bright shiny appearance. However, they may become dirty, corroded or dinged up from daily driving, which detracts from their aesthetically pleasing shine and lustre. Chrome wheels can also rust over time, which may weaken their structural integrity. Reconditioning and refurbishing the wheels will bring your wheels back to their original lustre and even protect them from damage due to rust and corrosion.

Rinse wheels off with water. Mix the car shampoo in a bucket of water until suds form. Use a sponge and scrub the wheels until they are free of dirt and brake dust. Rinse the soap mixture off with water. If they are still stained with dirt or brake dust, use a chrome wheel cleaner. Spray the chrome wheel cleaner on the stained areas and use a clean sponge to scrub until clean. Rinse them off with water.

If you have hit a curb and have rash on the wheel, you need to cover up the spot to prevent deterioration. Clean the damaged area with rubbing alcohol. Use a clear lacquer such as clear fingernail polish and apply it to the rash spot until it is completely covered up. Multiple coats may be necessary to ensure a tight seal. Make sure the lacquer is completely dry before driving. Wet lacquer attracts dirt very easily.

For scratches, use a grittier chrome polish to buff out the scratches. Observe warning labels on the polish to ensure that the polish you are using is not too gritty for the surface. If you use a polish that is too gritty, it may scratch and dull the chrome. To polish the wheels to a shine, use a gentler polish. Apply the gentle polish onto the wheel with a terry cloth and let the polish sit for a few minutes. Use a clean cloth to buff the polish completely off.


If you have damaged your chrome wheels beyond small scratches, it is impossible to make them look like new. Applying the lacquer to the curb rash will only keep deterioration from forming. The only way to fix a damaged chrome wheel is to get it rechromed or to get a new wheel.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Car wash shampoo
  • Chrome wheel cleaner
  • Bucket
  • Sponge
  • Clear nail polish
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Chrome polish
  • Terry cloth
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About the Author

Quyen Tong began writing professionally in 2006 when he launched a nutrition information website named Complex Nutrition. He has graduated from Purdue University with a degree in aeronautical engineering and has submitted technical papers regarding the NextGen project and future flight trajectories for air travel within the United States.