View Full Version : best method for the cleaning the wheels?

Poisoned Pony
10-23-2002, 07:11 PM
ok, what's your best method? I want to clean the whole damn wheel, not just teh surface. I know Tony has described his method on the mailing list once before.

Topless In Tex
11-07-2002, 11:48 PM
NOTHING looks better than a clean wheel!!!!!! Short of taking them off, I find if they are really grungy, I'll spray Simple Green or Automotive Simple green in the inside of the wheel...(be careful not to get it on your plating on the outside if you are unsure if it is safe!) Let em sit for a few....Get some soapy water and a wheel brush and scrub in it...ALSO the Car Wash Fuzzy mitts work GREAT too on your hand...covers more surface and you can really get in side the wheel and rub it out...
I took mine off once and polished the insides of the wheels...but, ,thats if you are just REALLY serious about wanting them perfect for something. Spray them down real good, and be sure to check in the little areas for places ya might have missed. I like to polish the insides as much as I can get to every now and then....but a daily driver, it gets nasty quick. I like WENOL (blue tube) w/ a dremmel or even just by hand on polish and Chrome...this stuff works like a champ! SHINES great and little effort! If you want them awesome, do it w/ a dremmel or polishing wheel...and the Wenol...otherwise for polishing....TUBE SOCKS ARE THE WAY TO GO!!!!!!! (OR MR. SOCK!) ;)

take before and after pics....:) HAVE FUN!!!!!!!

04-18-2004, 12:50 PM
Since both sides of my new wheels are finnished, I would find it easier to remove the wheel and clean both sides. If I just want to be lazy, I can squeeze my hand in between the wheel and rotor but it gets difficult to get around the calipers. It helps if you have a good product to clean the wheels. There are some products out there that are formulated to remove brake dust and other road grime deposits. For the tough things like tar, gasoline works great especially on exhaust pipes. For clear coated wheels, I would not use gasoline since it will damage the coatings. One product I found that works great is tac-kleen which is used to remove oils or deposits in paint during the painting process between coats. That stuff is more flammable than gasoline so use common sense if you use it. I am not sure if you can buy that stuff anymore. If you plan on removing your wheels to clean them, put a coat of wax on the inside so that the sticky stuff won't stick to them.

04-28-2004, 06:37 PM
speaking of cleaning wheels, what would be good to clean polished aluminum wheels before you actually polish them? I've read to use "mild soap and water," what constitutes "mild soap?" Would the Armor All car wash stuff be okay to use on them?

04-29-2004, 07:03 AM
A mild soap is something that does not have many chemicals in them. There are products out there specifically for cleaning bare aluminum. Most car washes are considered to be mild since they do not strip waxes from the paint. But be careful. Avoid products with acids, phosphates or amonias since they will anodize aluminum (make them dull). It is best to understand if you wheels are bare or clear coated. Most if not all aluminum polished wheels have a protective coating or clear coat to prevent the aluminum from oxidizing or anodizing by way of chemical reaction. Most wheel cleaners contain acids to remove brake dust and the like. Some are formulated specifically for bare aluminum. Read the bottle first before using. And do not clean the wheels while they are hot or warm! Heat can be a catalyst if chemicals react with the aluminum. If you are conserned about using armorall cleaner, I would ask them by email if they have a web site about it first. Also, if you know your wheels are bare metal then the wheel polish will do its job. But if they have clear coat on them it will only scratch it.

04-29-2004, 10:05 AM
Thats for the reply! :thumbsup: Just what I needed to know :bounce:

04-30-2004, 07:04 AM
Just remember one thing, aluminum is a very reactive metal. It will oxidize very quickly as will some of the aluminum alloys. Once aluminum oxidizes it will not oxidize any further since the oxides that form on aluminum will protect it from further reactions. It is not like steel when the rust since the rust continues to break down the iron alloys into its original state, crusty and flaky, with the exception of stainless or chromemolly steel. Both of which have high contents of chromium and carbon in the alloy which resists rusting. If your wheel is turning a dull gray color, more than likely they are not coated. Aluminim is similar to brass and once polished and not coated, over time it will get dull. There are products that will even break down the clear coat on wheels which is aided by the brakes that heats the wheel. Regardless of the coating, in time you will be left with two options, scrap for new, or re-polish them. 10 years or so is basically how long the coating will last, generally speaking. Rubber dressings, tire shine, etc... may indeed cause the breakdown of the clear coat or accelerate it, especially if it states avoid overspray on painted surfaces. IF you have brushed aluminum wheels, that is the worst or hardest to keep perfect. My ex-wifes accura had those brushed aluminum wheels, and within 4 years the clear coat was flaking off. More or less likely for her mis-use of the wheel chemicals I had for cleaning chrome plated steel wheels. She never bothered with the aluminium cleaner I bought which was safe to use on clear coat, she rather liked the acidic mothers chrome/wire cleaner which gave quick resuslts in removing brake dust. READ THE CONTENTS OF THE BOTTLE OF CLEANER before you buy it. Make sure it is safe for both clear coat or bare aluminum before spraying it on the wheels. Do not clean them when hot or the cleaners will leave dark stains that will not be removable without mechanical means. A clean car makes for a happy owner, and shiney wheels makes the car happy too.:thumbsup:

04-30-2004, 12:16 PM
well now that you mention it, I was at autozone and was going to buy some aluminum cleaner that was supposedly good for bare aluminum (mine are not clear coated or anything) and when I went to check out, the guy talked me out of it stating that it would eat away at my brakes? It was some Eagle One cleaner. Do you recommend something else? I did however pick up some Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish, do we'll see when I get to have fun and sit for a few hours doing that :eek: :cool:

05-02-2004, 11:10 AM
Very much of the spray on wheel cleaners will eat the pads due to the acidic content. I have been using P-21S wheel cleaner to clean my wheels, but they are not raw aluminum so mild soap would be the way to go. Mother's mag polish will work great, It will turn black - which denotes that you are getting them clean. It will take a bit of rubbing to get the black off the wheel, it is alot of work but the results are worth it. If you use a spray cleaner, try not to spray the rotors or you will get a flash rust on them which will get the wheels dirty. I get that with just the water since there is alot of chemicals to reduce biologicals, (bleach, flouride, etc....) which is not good for cleaning vehicles without filtering the water first. At least I don't need bleach when doing the wash, it is already in there! :flush:

My Cobra
05-07-2004, 09:40 AM
I hear that windex works very very good. I have tried it and dang it eats the stuff away but i will stay with the orange spray just becuase it gives me a weird feeling washing my wheels with the same thing that i clean my windows with.

My Cobra
05-07-2004, 10:27 AM
I hear that windex works very very good. I have tried it and dang it eats the stuff away but i will stay with the orange spray just becuase it gives me a weird feeling washing my wheels with the same thing that i clean my windows with.

05-08-2004, 08:48 AM
The best method, I cannot stress this enough, is to clean them when the wheels are cool to the touch.

05-09-2004, 02:43 PM
Do NOT use a wheel cleaner that has acid in it. I ruint a set a wheels once with that crap. :mad:

05-11-2004, 06:14 PM
My best method is the trusty index and some good ol' elbow grease. :thumbsup: (Individual results may vary)

05-15-2004, 09:27 AM
When it comes to wheels, it is a good start to understand what type of wheel it is. For Chrome steel, I found the best product to use is mother's wire wheel cleaner, and it works great on chrome bumpers too. It can also be used on exhaust pipes under the car to shine them up. Mother's wire wheel cleaner has some weak acids in it so I would not recommend its use on anything other than chromemoly steel, stainless steel or chrome plated steel. As for the other types of wheels, Not all products are suitable. Remember one thing if at all, Aluminum is a highly reactive metal which includes the alloys of aluminum used in your wheels. For non coated aluminum polished wheels a silica based aluminum polish may be your best bet. Mother's aluminum polish works rather well. For clear coated or painted surfaces, soap and water works the best. To remove brake dust and road dirt if excessive I would use P21-S which does a great job (use with supplied spong) without using a brush that will scratch the surface. Treat clear coated or painted wheels like you would the paint on your car. As for wheel cleaners, only use them when needed. The majority of the wheel cleaners out there do have harsh chemicals that will damage the wheel if used on a regular basis. If you get the black wheel look, I would find a better brake pad than the cheep ones you have. Black wheels is caused by the brake down of the pad material since the pad is decomposing due to excessive heat and more than likely the pads were not seasoned properly which causes glazing to occur on the rotor. Some wheel cleaners will deteriorate brake pads too. If you use them, don't over do it.