Some of the wheels out today are nothing short of amazing.
The design, build quality, lack of weight while still being amazingly strong are just some of these features. So why do so many people not take care of wheels to the level they take care of their paint? Wheel cleaning, just like paint cleaning, needs to have the correct products, the correct tools and the correct technique.
With that said, let’s move onto what type of cleaner you should be using. I like to think of wheel cleaners as having 3 “tiers” based on how dirty the wheel is.
- Light- Car shampoo mixed with water in a spray bottle
- Medium- Regular wheel cleaners such as – Chemical Guys Diablo
- Heavy- Active iron removers such as – Sonax Wheel Cleaner Plus
Now that you know what cleaner you need to use we can talk about the proper tools for the job. Brushes are your best friend and help you get the job done faster and better. They will allow you to get into every crevice and all the way into the barrel.
Face/Caliper – Glue Brushes
Barrel – Wheel Woolies
Now let’s talk about the process.
First, fill a bucket with water and a bit of car shampoo and place your brushes and a grit guard inside. Second you are going to either rinse the wheel down, or spray your cleaner (Read the label for specific product directions). Then, begin to agitate the wheel with your brushes, constantly dipping them back into the bucket as they become soiled. Work from top to bottom just like you would with the vehicle. Rinse out all of your brushes after each wheel to make sure you have clean brushes every time. Once every part of the wheel, including the barrel, the caliper, etc. have been agitated, rinse the wheel extremely thoroughly as to make sure no cleaner is left to dry on the surface. Now that the wheels are clean you want to protect them just like you would your paint. This will help them clean easier next time and resist contamination.
The main takeaway from this article is that wheels need to be treated just as carefully as the paint is treated. Whether they are custom one off wheels or hubcaps, treat every wheel like it is special.