Alloy wheels are highly desirable on any car; they’re tough, lightweight, have better heat dissipation, and most notably, they look darn good.
But while having a nice set of alloy wheels can totally change the overall look of your vehicle and improve its performance, they must be properly cleaned from time to time.
Alloy wheels can become corroded from brake dust and even road salts used on icy roads in winter. Neglecting to clean your alloy wheels regularly will make them harder to clean in the future, and you run the risk of having the clear coat, and even the alloy itself corroded.
Cleaning Your Alloy Wheels – Cleaning Equipment
If you really want to spoil your wheels and give them the best possible cleaning, there are a couple of simple cleaning products you will want to pick up (if you don’t already have them!).
Microfiber Washing Mitt
Microfiber washing mitts are incredibly useful to have in the garage. They can be used to clean just about anything.
When using a washing mitt, you need to be mindful of any small fragments of rock or dirt that could scratch your wheels.
Boars Hair Brush
Using a scrubbing brush on alloy wheels will cause damage to the painted surface on your wheels. On the other hand, a Boar’s hairbrush is soft-bristled and will not scratch the paint surface on your alloy wheels
Wheel Cleaning Products
When using wheel cleaning products, it’s essential to choose the right products, to avoid damaging your alloy wheels. It’s crucial to pick PH neutral and non-acidic detailing products.
While there are many great wheel cleaners on the market, we will highlight just a few of our favorites.
Sonax (230200-755) Wheel Cleaner – Sonax is a carefully formulated wheel cleaner, PH balanced, and non-acidic. This formula changes color when used and turns a bright pink as it breaks down dirt, acting as an excellent indicator and giving you feedback on your progress.
CarGuys Super Cleaner – While this product isn’t specifically labeled as a wheel cleaner, it’s an amazing product for all your vehicle cleaning needs, including cleaning your alloy wheels.
Bilt Hamber Wheel Cleaner – This is definitely one of the best wheel cleaners on the market. It reacts incredibly fast and is very thorough. If you felt other products you tried weren’t strong enough, this is the pick for you.
Cleaning Your Alloy Wheels – Step By Step
With a hose, rinse your wheels, removing brake dust and loose dirt particles. Rinse every section thoroughly, including the interior surface.
Using a wheel cleaning product, spray the wheels and let it soak for around two to three minutes. This will give the cleaner enough time to penetrate the caked-on substances.
Using a flexible stemmed, soft-bristled brush, gently scrub the whole wheel. This will encourage stubborn substances to disengage from the surface. Make sure to scrub both the front and back of the wheels, including the rim screws.
Rinse & Wipe
Using a hose nozzle set to the wide fan mode, thoroughly rinse off each wheel completely. You’ll want to be sure that no cleaner is left at all, to avoid residue.
Once you have rinsed off the wheels, wipe them off using a soft microfiber cloth.
Wax sealants help provide an extra barrier of protection for your alloy wheels after cleaning. They also give your wheels a glossy, shiny look.
Grab a detailing pad and scoop some wax into it, then rub the entire wheel. Make sure to cover the surface that is visible from any angle. Rub in a circular motion until the wax runs clear.
Taking care of your alloy wheels is a car maintenance tip you don’t want to forget! Keeping them clean will help in preserving their condition and the overall value of your vehicle.
Daniel Calvin keeps a good portion of his enthusiasm dedicated to high power performance sports cars, oh, and of course, writing about them too. He is the content creator for Euro Motorsport Mercedes Benz mechanics in Melbourne, Australia.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.