Wheel and Tire Cleaning Tips and Tricks

Wheels can completely change the look of your vehicle. Just look in any car magazine and you will find plenty of ads trying to sell you new wheels. If your wheels are covered in brake dust they can become a complete eyesore and make you vehicle look older than what it really is. The opposite of that is if your wheels are clean and shiny they can really add a positive presence to your vehicle. Keeping your wheels in a clean state is not a hard thing to do if it is done regularly. Wheel cleaner is a fast acting special formulation that penetrates hard to reach areas, dislodging tough dirt, road grime and brake dust from wheel rims, covers and hubcaps.

To take proper care of your wheels you must remove all contamination, polish them to a high shine, and use the proper product that will aid in the maintenance of the wheel. While stubborn brake dust can be a pain to remove a wheel can be restored to the proper finish with the correct products and tools.

If you are maintaining you car with a wash every other week you can follow the same time frame for your wheels. I usually just use car wash and water with either a dedicated brush or mitt to help keep them clean. Although a through cleaning of the wheel should be done every two to three months and at this time you should add ample levels of protection to the wheel.

One of the most important things to know is what type of wheel you have. If you have a factory wheel it will be clear coated which means that you can use the same products that you would on the paint of the vehicle. Also if you want to use a wheel cleaner you can do so without worrying about harming the finish. In order to enhance the finish of the wheel you can wash, clay, polish, and protect the wheels. Now if you have an aftermarket wheel that does not have a clear coat you will have to be very careful that you do not oxidize the finish and ruin the metal.

When I get ready to clean the wheels on my vehicle I make sure that they are completely cool. I will have either my wash mitt or brush handy and dip them into my water and car wash solution then just brush the soap on the wheel. Then follow that up with a rinse of water from the hose. As long as I keep up with my maintenance this is totally acceptable. Now if the wheel is extremely dirty it may take more than just car wash to get them clean. That is when I break out a ph balanced wheel cleaner and spray the wheel down give it a minute to work and then go over it with a brush to help break up any loose debris. Then again just hit the wheel with water to rinse everything off. Just remember that by using the wheel cleaner you may strip all the protectorate that may be on the wheel. If you are also going to clean the inner barrel of the wheel I recommend taking the wheel off the vehicle. Start with the inner barrel first by using a wheel cleaner or car wash and a good wheel brush. By doing the barrel first you will eliminate getting any of the harsher debris on the front surface of the wheel.

Having the wheel off the vehicle is the easiest way to protect the wheel with polish. There are many products that are wheel specific and they will hold up to the heat that is generated by the braking system of the vehicle. Just put some wheel polish on a foam applicator pad and work the polish in small sections until you cover the wheel. Then let the polish dry to a haze and buff off with a microfiber towel. Once again if the wheel is not clear coated then you will need to use a metal polish instead. Just check the product it will tell you what it will work best on.

Now for the tires. Many detailers think you can just slap on some tire dressing and you are good to go. However you want to make sure that the rubber surface is clean to get the most protection out of the tire dressing that you are going to use. There are two types of tire dressings water based and silicone based. Water based tire dressings will be absorbed into the rubber and help to keep the rubber flexible and soft. While the silicone based dressings mostly sit on the surface of the tire. That can cause the rubber to dry out and sling the dressing off of the tire when you go to drive the vehicle after applying it.

As far as cleaning frequency for the tire if you are cleaning the wheel you should be going over the tire as well. You can use car wash, rubber cleaner, or a degreaser along with a firm brush or dedicated mitt. What product you use just depends on how dirty the tire is. Just make sure the rubber cleaner or degreaser will not cause any damage to your wheel. Let the product sit for a minute and give it a good scrub with the brush or mitt. Then just rinse it off with water. After the vehicle has been dried it is time to apply the tire dressing. Just put some on a foam applicator and wipe it on the tire. Just move the vehicle forward and backward to apply the dressing to the parts of the tire that were close to the ground. It is better if the dressing goes on in a few light coats that one heavy coat. Give the tire at least a half an hour to dry before driving the vehicle to help decrease slinging product off of the tire.

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