The best way to clean alloy wheels

Updated April 17, 2017

Maintaining a car's wheels represents more than a labour of love. True, when the alloy rims sparkle, they give the car an uncanny detailed edge recognised as rich and luxurious. However, according to "Popular Mechanics," caring for alloy wheels will prevent corrosion and prolong the life and safety of the rim.

Clean Wheels One at a Time

Only work on one wheel at a time. Though you may feel tempted to spray all four tires with a tire cleaner, then scramble around the car scrubbing and follow up with a massive rinse cycle, you can truly detail each tire when you focus only on that tire. Take your time to do the job right.

Cleaning the Wheel

Use a quality tire and wheel cleaner. Do not fall for pitches for products that say to spray on then just rinse off. While these products will work, plan on scrubbing by hand for the best results if you have excessive brake dust. Keep in mind that brake pads are made with adhesives that cause the brake dust to stick to the tire. When purchasing a wheel cleaner, also purchase a wheel brush.

Spray one tire with wheel cleaner, and allow the product to work as per the manufacturer's instructions. Then, scrub the entire alloy rim with the wheel brush, getting every inch of the surface. Stand back and rinse the tire. Dry immediately with towels to keep water spots from forming. Repeat if necessary before moving on to the next wheel.

Add Wax for Extra Shine and Protection

Most alloy wheels manufactured since the 1980s have either a coat of paint or a clear coat finish. Therefore, apply some auto wax to the rims to give an extra shine and, at the very least, make it harder for brake dust to settle.

Apply either a paste or liquid wax as per the manufacturer's instructions. Buff with a clean, dry towel to create a deep shine.

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About the Author

Thomas Ferraioli began writing in 1993. His work has been featured in national publications like "Parents" and "U.S. Catholic." Ferraioli owns a cleaning service and is a Catholic youth minister. He holds a bachelor's degree in communications and business from Seton Hall University and was a recipient of the Pope John Paul II Award from the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J. for his work with youth.