Alloy wheels have become the most common and stylish type of wheels.
Most cars now come factory fitted with alloy wheels.
It is important to take care of these alloy wheels to get the best performance from them.
Cleaning the alloy wheels is important as it helps to prevent corrosion and damage to it and makes it look like new.
The current article provides detailed insights into the cleaning of alloy wheels.
Worst Enemies of Alloy Wheels
Brake dirt is one of the worst enemies of any alloy wheel.
Brake dirt is a type of adhesive and small metal shavings which come out of the rotor.
The wear and tear of the carbon fibers when combined with high heat and friction of the brake pad, can be highly corrosive in nature and damage your alloy wheels.
Though it is important to stay clear of it, brake dirt in itself is inevitable.
As you drive more and more you will have to deal with brake dust regularly and the only way to tackle it effectively and protect your alloy wheels is to regular cleaning of your wheels.
The road debris is also detrimental to your alloy wheels and puts the rims to considerable risk of corrosion and damage.
When the protective lacquer of the wheels is compromised due to curbing damage, water can seep underneath it and damage the wheels even further and make it look very ugly.
Though these external elements can cause severe harm and damage to your alloy wheels, you can take protective action by being watchful and cleaning your alloy wheels frequently to stay clear of such damages.
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Detailed Procedure for Cleaning Alloy Wheels
Cleaning your alloy wheels is a specialized job and you should pay special attention to it to get the job done in the best possible manner.
The detailed procedure for cleaning your wheels are discussed below:
Selecting the Ideal Cleaner
The first step towards cleaning your wheels is to select the ideal cleaner.
There are many types of alloy wheel cleaners available in the market and you should choose the one which best suits your needs.
It is important that you buy only those cleaners which are certified for use on alloy wheels as choosing otherwise can damage your alloy wheels instead of cleaning it.
You can also choose between acid-based cleaners, pH-balanced cleaners, iron contaminant removers, etc from the market.
Acid-based cleaners can be highly effective in cleaning your alloy wheels but they need to be used judiciously and with caution.
The particular type of wheel finishes especially which are anodized or chromed coated should not be cleaned with acid cleaners.
You should purchase high-quality and premium acid cleaners instead of cheap ones and lot leave it for too long on the wheels to protect against any potential damage.
If your wheels are extremely dirty, then you can consider buying an iron contaminant remover for cleaning them.
An iron contaminant cleaner is very effective in cleaning away the dust brake and iron filings which have become attached to the wheels and are difficult to remove otherwise.
You should apply and leave the iron contaminant remover for a bit longer on your wheels than you would leave acid-based cleaners.
The iron contaminant remover will change colors when applied to the wheels and left, which indicates that it is working.
You can also use oven cleaner to break down tough stains and dirt on your wheels.
However, before applying oven cleaner you should ensure that you are wearing gloves and other protective gear as it can cause irritation to the skin on direct contact.
If you do not like harsh and potentially dangerous chemicals to clean your favorite alloy wheels, then you can consider using natural and home-made alternatives for doing so.
You can try to use lemon juice or vinegar as a natural alternative for cleaning your wheels.
They can be sprayed or applied on to the wheels and left to work their magic over for some time.
they contain natural acids which will be effective in cutting through the tough stains and dirt.
Using such home-made and natural cleaners also ensure that they don’t damage or corrode your alloy wheels which can be the case while using chemical or acid-based cleaners.
If your wheels are particularly dirty, then you can consider leaving the home-made cleaners on for a bit longer for better cleaning.
Process for Cleaning You Alloy Wheels
You can follow the below-mentioned process for proper cleaning of your allow wheels:
Water Your Wheels
You should start the process of cleaning your alloy wheels by generously watering them.
This helps to loosen the dirt and other particles on it which makes it easier to clean.
While watering the wheels, you should ensure that water is sprayed and applied over all the parts of the alloy wheels for removing dirt.
You can attach a power washer or other similar type of pressure attachment to your hose pipe for spraying water with force for removing the dirt on it.
In case you do not have such pressure sprayer, then try to place your thumb on the opening of the hose pipe, to increase the water pressure.
Apply the Wheel Cleaner
Once you have watered the wheel for loosening the dirt and impurities, you can proceed ahead by applying the chosen wheel cleaner.
You should generously apply the cleaner to the wheel center and the interior parts for better cleaning.
You can apply cleaner to those part where the dirt buildup is the heaviest and which need more cleaning.
While using the cleaners, you should take proper precaution that your skin, eyes, nose, etc.
does not come in direct contact with it for preventing any irritation and allergies.
After spraying the cleaner, you should leave it on the wheels for at least 2 minutes to work on the dirt.
Clean with a Soft Brush
After the cleaner has been left on the wheel for long enough, you can start cleaning it with a soft-bristled brush.
You should try to clean the wheels in a slow and soft circular motion, focusing on the areas which are the dirtiest.
Particular attention should be paid to harder to reach areas of the wheels where brake dust and debris accumulate regularly.
While cleaning the alloy wheels with the brush, you should take care to wash it with water regularly when it gets dirty.
The cleaning brush should be ergonomically designed and should be able to reach and clean all the different parts of the wheel.
Cleaning the Inside of the Wheels
The inside of your allow wheels will most likely have the toughest stains and dirt.
These parts are generally difficult to reach and are mostly left uncleaned in most of the cleaning sessions which cause further dirt accumulation.
You should use a cleaning brush which can reach inside of your wheels and clean these difficult to reach parts.
You should gently start cleaning the back of the wheel rims and be cautious of not scrubbing at the wheels.
Once you have cleaned the dirt behind the rims and other interior parts of the alloy wheel, you should rinse it with water to remove the dirt completely.
Cleaning the Wheel Face
After the interior of your wheels has been cleaned, you should proceed towards cleaning the wheel face.
You can spray a good quality cleaner on the wheel face and leave it for a few minutes to cut the dirt and stains.
You should then clean the wheel face with a cleaning brush.
You can also use specially designed wheel brushes which allow you to reach every nook and corner of the wheel face and behind it for thorough cleaning.
These brushes are very effective in reaching to and cleaning the lug nut recesses too thereby ensuring proper and complete cleaning of the wheel face.
Cleaning the Tires
Most of the times, tire cleaning is neglected while cleaning the wheels.
Clean tires are important for your car and ensure maximum durability for it.
Your tires become clogged with dirt and debris which affects its performance and longevity.
To start cleaning the tires, you should spray an adequate quantity of wheel cleaner to it.
They can be then cleaned with a good cleaning brush which will help to remove dirt, debris, and old layers of tire dressing and leave a new and smooth surface.
Rinse the Wheels Thoroughly
After you have cleaned all the parts of the wheels and tires, you should spray water thoroughly and rinse the wheels and tires completely.
You should use pressurized water jets to rinse the cleaners and any left residue properly.
This also provides better coverage and ensures that water reaches all the parts of the wheel and tires for cleaning it completely.
You should continue spraying water till the water runs totally clean, indicating that all the cleaner is removed from the wheel.
Cleaners if not removed properly by suitable rinsing process, can accumulate on the wheels and cause it to corrode and damage over time.
Hence, you should ensure thorough rinsing of the wheel cleaner by spraying water generously over the wheels and tires.
Wipe the Wheels Dry
The final step in cleaning your alloy wheel is to wipe it completely dry using a fresh, clean, and soft cloth.
You should wipe all the parts of the wheel to ensure water is absorbed and dried up.
Properly wiping your wheels clean will also ensure that there are no water stain spots on them which will make it look ugly and unclean also.
Ideally, you should use a microfiber cloth for wiping your wheels as it is more absorbent and removes water efficiently from the wheels.
It is also soft and does not leave any abrasive marks over your wheels, making them look new and clean after washing.
Protecting Your Alloy Wheels
You should take the following steps for protecting your alloy wheels after cleaning them:
Buy a Suitable Wheel Sealant
A wheel sealant is a synthetic wax which prevents dirt and grime for getting attached to the wheel.
Wheel sealants are designed to resist against the tough conditions in wheels work in.
It protects your wheels from corrosion from brake dust, high temperature, and also protects the wheels against road debris.
While buying a wheel sealant, you should ensure to check if it’s certified for use on alloy wheels or not.
Using a good wheel sealant along with a cleaner will make future cleaning of your wheels much easier as it will protect your wheels against dirt and debris getting bonded to it.
You can get wheel sealants in both wax and spray form which you can choose based on your requirements and convenience.
Apply the Sealant on the Wheel
You should apply the wheel sealant to all parts of your wheel.
You can rub the wheel sealant directly to the wheel face, spokes, barrel, etc.
You should apply the wax sealant generously in a circular motion to all the parts of the alloy wheel.
You can make use of a soft sponge also to apply the wax sealant to the wheel.
If you are using a spray-based wax sealant then hold the spray can at least 6 inches away from the wheel and spray it evenly to all the wheel parts.
After you have applied the sealant, you should leave it on the wheel surface for at least 30 minutes.
During this time, the sealant will be absorbed partially into the wheel thereby protecting it from within.
It is recommended to apply the sealant and let it dry on the wheel in an open environment as the airflow will mean that the sealant will be absorbed and will set in quicker.
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Buff and Polish with Soft Cloth
The final step in protecting your alloy wheel is to polish it with a soft microfiber cloth.
This will help to remove the excess wheel sealant and provide a spotless gloss to your alloy wheel.
You should also focus on polishing in between the spokes for a better and lustrous finish to your wheel.
It is important to ensure that the cloth used for polishing the wheel is clean and does not contain any dirt or other abrasive particles as it can corrode the wheel spokes or make abrasions on it.