Ok, so you’ve got some dirty wheels? Not surprising. Today’s brake pads and roads can get you car and wheels filthy in a hurry. Not to worry though. That’s why we’re here. This is the proper way to clean your wheels and keep them clean.
Ew dirty wheels!
First, make sure the wheels are cool to the touch. Wheels get hot just from normal driving and braking. So take a minute, get set up and let them cool. You are going to need a few products to accomplish this task.
First off, some soap, whatever you use to clean your car is great for this. Dish soap is a bad idea. Now get yourself a bucket and get the soap all sudsy and get a good amount of water in the bucket. I also use a grit remover in the bottom of my bucket. You’ll also need something to clean the stubborn spots of caked on brake dust. I use a fairly aggressive rubbing compound. I’ve found it works great when used properly. Next, you’re going to need to protect your wheels. There are several products on the market for this. They all have something like “wheel protection” or something to that affect on the jar/bottle. If you are questioning a certain product, don’t hesistate to contact me or your local professional detailer for a bit of help on what to use. Finally, you’ll need some microfiber cloths to work with, any brand should work.
Here’s a picture of the stuff i used:
Now, you’re set up, the wheels are cool, and you’re ready to start cleaning. Take a hose and spray off the loose debris. You will see some brake dust and other contaminants running off the wheel. Next, take a microfiber cloth (MF) and dunk it in the bucket of soapy water. Squeeze that so that the soapy water runs al over the wheel. Let it dwell for a second and then with that MF, start wiping down the wheel. Make sure you get every little nook and cranny.
Now, once you’ve done the initial cleaning, the wheels should definitely start looking better.
Still not quite up to par though, so onward we go.
You’ve noticed some specks/spots of black stuff on the wheel. Something like this:
This is road grime and brake dust that has physically adhered to the wheel and can’t be removed with typical cleaning. Its time to break out your rubbing compound. Apply a small amount to one of your MF’s and start working it into the wheel. It make take a bit of elbow grease and patience here so don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect right away. When you are done with that it should look something like this.
The rubbing compound wont take off physical defects such as chips and pits so you may still have some of those. Similar to the wheel pictured above.
Here is a before and after:
Now that you’ve got your wheels free of most, if not all, of the contaminants. It’s time to protect them. Bust out your wax/sealant and your applicator pad and apply a thin even coat to the entire surface of the wheel.
Again, get all the nooks and crannies. This stuff tends to get into the cracks if you aren’t careful so don’t be afraid to grab a toothpick or something to get it out. Once you’ve got the wheel coated, let it dry/haze/cure for a bit (usually about 5-10 minutes).
Now, once it has hazed over, you can start buffing. Grab a MF and start buffing the wax/sealant off. Be sure to get it all off the wheel. Once it is all off, you can kick back and enjoy your work or apply multiple coats. The next time you go to clean your wheels it should be much easier to get all the grime off.
You will need to reapply the wax/sealant every few months or so. Hopefully this has helped you out! Remember, if you have any questions do not hesitate to contact me, or glimmerglassdetailing.com or even your local pro detailer.
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One thought on “Cleaning Your Wheels”
Getting stuck on grim off with an old clay bar works very well too. Might want to try that.