Cleaning Alloy Wheels

Cleaning your alloys

Having a high quality alloy wheel takes a substantial investment, and most likely, you would like to keep it looking just as good several years from now as they do today. Chrome and other alloy wheels do require care to maintain their shine and appearance, so here are a few suggestions and a few reasonable steps to protect your alloy wheels and investment.

Regular Cleaning: Typical road soils trap moisture which can cause corrosion over a period of time. Brake dust, caused by friction of your cars braking system, is itself corrosive, and can cause pitting of the chrome wheels finish. These soils must be removed regularly – preferably weekly – depending on your driving habits.

Use of Proper Cleaning Agents: A mild dishwashing soap and water is all that is needed to clean your chrome wheels. Chrome finish should be treated as you would treat the finish of your car. Most household cleaning agents are too harsh to use on chrome, and must be avoided. There are a vast number of commercially available wheel cleaners on the market today, but use extreme caution regarding their use, since they tend to be acid or lye based.

Whenever possible, it is a much better idea to clean your chrome wheels after they have cooled. Normal driving will heat wheels, sometimes into excessive ranges. While this is normal, its best to take precautions as cold water introduced onto a superheated chrome wheel, will ultimately cause scarring and-or pitting which will lead to the chrome flaking from the wheel.

To prevent scratching of the chrome wheels finish, never clean your wheels with scouring pads or dense metal polishes. If you use automatic car washes, tell them not to use steam cleaners or strong chemicals to clean your chrome wheels. They can cause permanent staining or corrosion. Use caution when cleaning tires with steel wool or a bristle brush. These types of abrasive materials must not come in contact with the wheels as they will damage the chrome permanently. Never spray cold water on extremely hot chrome wheels…. Always allow time to cool before cleaning with soap and water.

If you use drive thru car washes, TAKE NOTE of the track system. While most car washes protect the side rails that guide your car through the wash, not all do. If there is an exposed metal guide, it will most undoubtedly result in a solid circular scratch into the chrome of the wheel. Once this happens, there is no turning back. The chrome wheel will have to be replated as it is only a matter of time before it starts to peel.

How to wash your wheels

Clean your wheel with soft liquid soap. Simply pour the soap into a bucket of warm water. Liquid soap is nonabrasive and will not scratch your wheel. It will clean your grease, dirt, and break the dust.

After thoroughly rinsing your wheel, dry it with only a soft material such as a t-shirt or terry cloth towel.

Regularly maintain your wheel. Regular maintenance is important so the build up on your wheel will not be too thick.

If you do not feel like washing your own car use a touch-less hand car wash. Water and soap is sprayed and your car is blow dried. Because touch-less car washes do not use any type of abrasive material on your chrome wheel they provide a gentle cleaning of your wheels.

If there is salt on the highways where you live you must pay close attention to cleaning your wheels. Salt can deteriorate and corrode your chrome.

Custom Wheel Care Don’ts

  1. Do not use special chemical-type cleaner. The chemical will stain the chrome.
  2. Never run your car through a machine car wash -the chrome on your wheels will fade if machine cleaned. The brushes spin and have a mild abrasive that is used to get the dirt of the wheels. The harsh brush and mild abrasive will be certain to scrape your wheels. Heavy cloth is used on the wheel.
  3. You should never use anything heavy or rough to clean your wheels. A very mild abrasive is also used both in the cloth and in the soap that will be certain to cause your wheels to scratch.
  4. Do not use anything harsh such as a scrub brush. This will scrape your wheels.
  5. Do not wash your wheels after you have driven your car a long distance. When you drive your car the metal gets hot. Spraying cool water on a hot metal surface will cause your chrome to crack.

No matter where you live you must always be certain to maintain constant care of your Wheels. By following this advice and properly getting rid of the collected dust and dirt on your chrome wheels you can be certain to maintain the high quality of your custom wheels. 

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