A gleaming set of wheels can make an ordinary, used car look new. And with just a little time and the right cleaning techniques, you can take your rims to the next level.
Brake dust, a sticky substance caused by friction when you apply the brakes, is highly corrosive and can cause permanent damage if left on metal rims too long. That’s why cleaning your rims regularly is important.
It’s also smart to clean the rims and tires before the rest of your car to keep dirt on the wheels from getting onto and damaging your car’s painted surface.
Now let’s get started. Before cleaning your rims and wheels, make sure you have the right materials.
Must-have materials: wheel cleaner and sponge
Brake dust can be hard to remove without the right cleaner. Select one specifically made for the material your wheels are made of. For instance, rims that are made of roughcast aluminum and chrome can tolerate stronger cleaners than those that are coated, painted or anodized.
The right brush or sponge is important, too. Opt for a natural sea sponge. Their softness and flexibility lets you more easily wipe away debris, as well as get into hard-to-reach areas. Cotton and microfiber cloths are less effective on brake dust and can even scratch your rims with debris that are not completely rinsed out.
The sponge should be used only to clean your wheels and tires. Otherwise, you risk having brake dust stick to the sponge and damage your car’s paint.
Once you have the right materials, it’s time to clean.
Steps to cleaning your rims and wheels
1. Rinse your rims
First, spray your rims and let the water soak in to loosen the grime. After a few minutes, spray with soap and water to further loosen the debris.
2. Apply the appropriate cleaner
Soak one rim at a time so the cleaner doesn’t dry on the wheel. Follow product directions about how long to leave the cleaner on. Opt for a non-acidic wheel cleaner to help prevent any corrosion.
3. Carefully scrub your rims
Thoroughly scrub the rim with a wheel brush and wipe down each of the spokes. You can use the same sponge on the tire, but as mentioned before; don’t use it on the painted surface of your car.
4. Clean the wheel well
Dirt and grime tends to get caught up in the wheel well, so don’t forget to give it a good scrubbing. Try using a tougher brush than you used with the wheels and rims, as there often is more build up in the well.
5. Spray down rims and wheel wells
Scrubbing might dislodge some of the loose dirt in your wheel, so don’t forget to do another round of rinsing. Spray each wheel to remove the excess dirt and repeat if necessary.
Performing routine essential maintenance not only makes your car look better, it can make it safer, too. Learn about how Nationwide auto insurance keeps you and your vehicle even more protected on the road.