How to clean alloy wheels
Alloy wheel choice can make or break the overall look of a car but they’re a highly personal thing. Whatever your taste, one thing is for sure, dirty wheels simply will not do! So what is the best alloy wheel cleaner and what is the best way to clean your alloy wheels?
Get the right stuff!
To get the best results you’re going to need the best products for the job. In our opinion Auto Wheel by Bilt-Hamber is one of the best wheel cleaners on the market right now, it’s a real heavy-hitter when it comes to shifting grime but is pH neutral so is safe to use on all finishes. And don’t just take our word for it, Bilt-Hamber Auto wheel has one the Auto Express award for best wheel cleaner of 2017.
Bilberry wheel cleaner by Valet Pro is also another very popular choice of colour changing wheel cleaner and is excellent value for money.
When your wheels are hot, metallic particles from your brake pads and discs embed themselves into the softened paint or lacquered surface of your wheels.
Once lodged they are extremely difficult to remove. Acid based wheel cleaner attack the metal particles, reducing their size and allowing them to be dislodged.
The drawback of acid based wheel cleaners is that with continued use they will dull and diminish the coating leaving a wheel surface that needs refinishing.
Bilt-Hamber Auto-Wheel’s pH neutral formulations reacts with the oxidising surface of the metallic particles, emitted from your brakes rendering it water soluble.
The rapid removal of this microscopically rusted surface reduces the embedded particle size and releases it from the surface, unlike acids this method is harmless to the wheel’s finish and in fact so fast it cleans more effectively.
The reaction is seen by a rapid colour change from clear to deep red, after which a simply hose or rinse leaves the wheel spotless. In severe cases a brush can be used to assist the process.
Dwell on it
Spray liberally over entire wheel surface ensuring good coverage of edges etc and leave to dwell. Reaction time is temperature dependent but usually between 2 to 5 minutes is sufficient the chelating process is indicted by a change in colour from clear to deep purple. Once no further colour deepening has occurred the wheel can be power-washed or rinsed off.
At this stage, if required, use a wheel brush to agitate the cleaner, and loosen off any baked on brake dust. Finally, after brushing the inside and outside of the wheel is done, power wash all of the cleaner off, and if needed, repeat the steps.
Road tar can be incredibly stubborn and if still present, use a good tar remover, like Race Glaze Tar & Glue Remover, spot spray on to soften it, and remove with a microfiber.
Thoroughly dry the wheel, and then move onto to protecting it with a sealant, such as Race Glaze Signature Nano Wheel Sealant This will make the job of cleaning your wheels next time so much easier. So much so that the vast majority of fallout should power wash off without the need for scrubbing or aggitation.
Tyres should be cleaned thoroughly and then dressed. Race Glaze Whitewall Tyre Cleaner is great at removing old dressing, and removing brown staining (it’s not just for whitewall tyres but gets its name because it is effective enough to work on whitewall tyres)
To finish the job off, dress the tyre with a quality tyre dressing, like ValetPro Black to the Future. Tyre dressings are available in a range of finishes and whether you want a high-gloss or more subtle satin finish is down to personal preference.