Learn How To Clean Rims Correctly
It doesn’t matter what kind of car rims you have because we will teach you how to clean chrome rims and how to clean aluminum rims as well.
Cleaning your rims correctly each time will help prevent any damage and extend the life of your rims.
The majority of vehicles manufactured today are built with high performance brakes and brake pads that are constructed out of mixed metallic compounds. As a result, the constant stopping and braking of your vehicle will build up large amounts of brake dust on your rims which can quickly cover up the shine.
You could invest more money in specialized semi-metallic brake pads, designed for high performance vehicles, since they produce less brake dust. However, nothing saves you more money than learning how to clean your rims correctly yourself.
The quickest and easiest way to clean your regular car rims is to use some sort of multi surface cleaning solution along with some paper towels or a soft cloth. All you need to do is spray an even coat over the entire surface of your rims and then wipe each rim down thoroughly with your paper towel or soft cloth. Make sure you wipe all the nooks and crannies and then make a final pass around the outer lip of the rim. If you are really lazy you can purchase one of those rim cleaning sprays which only require you to spray and rinse without having to wipe at all.
Now that we have covered the basics on how to clean rims, let’s be more specific and focus a little more in detail on how to clean chrome and aluminum rims:
Steps & Tips On How To Clean Chrome Rims:
Aftermarket or stock chrome rims usually require more frequent maintenance to keep them in tip top shape. This is especially true if you live in a city that sees winter months where the roads need to be salted during icy conditions. The salt can easily corrode your chrome rims and remove the lack lustre shine in a hurry. Even if you live in a city that is sunny year round, you will still need to contend with brake pad dust which will also damage your rims if left unchecked. You can easily avoid all this by taking a little bit of your time every week or two to clean your chrome rims. This will definitely extend the life of the chrome finish.
1) Check to see if the rims are cool before you begin to clean them. If you have just finished driving, it is best to let your car sit in the shade for awhile to let your rims cool down. By doing this you will prevent any types of spotting on the chrome which could result from trying to clean them when they are warm or hot.
2) Take a water hose and lightly spray each of the chrome rims with a fine mist to rinse off any loose dirt or brake dust. You can increase the pressure to rinse off more stubborn particles but we recommend you save it for manual removal with a towel.
3) Get a bucket and fill it about halfway with cold water and then add one or two capfuls of very mild dishwashing detergent. Take the nozzle of your hose and spray the water to mix the two thoroughly until you see a thick layer of suds on the surface of the water. Dip your soft towel into the water and let it soak for a minute or two until it is fully drenched.
4) Remove the soft cloth from the bucket and gently wipe the soft cloth across the chrome rim to remove any of the visible dirt or brake dust particles. Apply pressure evenly and gently across the surface of the rim as you glide the towel over the entire area. This is important because if you start off by rubbing the chrome rim with a lot of pressure you may actually remove some of the chrome finish, or worse yet, drag some of the dirt particles across the rim and cause scratches to form.
5) After the first round of gentle wiping take your hose and begin to spray off all the loosened dirt and brake dust. Focus on the crevices and hidden areas of your chrome rim. Now take the drenched towel and repeat the procedure but this time with a little more pressure. Again, focus on the crevices and hidden areas of your chrome rim to remove any remaining brake particles or dirt.
6) If you haven’t cleaned your chrome rims in a long time you may have to repeat these steps a few more times. After you finished, and are satisfied with your results, resist the urge to take another towel and dry them. In fact, let them dry naturally as this will prevent unnecessary additional rubbing on the delicate chrome finish.
~ Use only specific chrome polishes designed for chrome rims and polish at regular intervals. This acts like a layer of protection and prevents braked dust and dirt particles from sticking to your chrome finish since they will stick to the layer of polish instead. In addition, this helps to make cleaning rims much simpler.
~ Avoid using any type of harsh chemicals to clean chrome rims, especially chemicals that may contain ammonia as it will damage the chrome finish.
~ Never use cleaning materials such as abrasive steel wool or brushes to remove stubborn dirt as you may cause deep and permanent scratches in your chrome rims.
~ Clean by hand whenever you can and try not to go to commercial car wash facilities as they often use harsh chemicals in their cleaners which can also damage chrome rims.
Steps & Tips On How To Clean Aluminum Rims:
Aftermarket or even stock aluminum rims are not immune to dirt and grime build-up from regular daily driving. If you are a frequent long distance driver you will especially need to take care of your aluminum rims. To properly clean aluminum rims you will need to use the proper cleaning techniques and chemicals to avoid scratching the surface of the aluminum and damage the finish.
1) Since you will need to work with chemicals, make sure to put on some rubber cleaning gloves before you start. You can use regular kitchen gloves for this job. If you are one of those people with sensitive skin it is important to take this precaution as the chemicals that will be used can irritate your skin not to mention cause unnecessary dryness.
2) Take a bottle of specialized aluminum cleaning solution, which can be easily purchased from your local automotive store, and start by spraying a thin layer across the entire aluminum rim. Make sure that the cleaning solution you purchased is safe to use on rims that have been factory painted, anodized or have a clear coat finish. If you use the incorrect type of cleaning solution on your rims it will strip the aluminum finish right off.
3) After spraying on the layer of cleaning solution, allow it soak for approximately fifteen to twenty minutes. Make sure you do this in the shade so as not to cause uneven drying if you were to do it under the heat of the sun. By soaking you will cause dirt and debris to gently lift and slide off the rim before you manually clean the rim.
4) Grab a soft towel and gently wipe the entire rim’s surface to remove all the excess dirt and debris. Do not apply too much pressure, since scratches may result from small rock or dirt particles that are stuck underneath the towel as you are wiping.
5) Take your garden hose and rinse your aluminum rims from side to side and top to bottom. This motion which starts from the top of the rim will cause all the dirt and debris to rinse downwards off the rims and onto the ground.
~ Check to see if your aluminum rims have had a clear coat treatment. For stock rims check your manual and for aftermarket rims check with your retailer. If you notice that it did not come with a clear coat treatment then it is wise to invest in one. Clear coating will help create a protective barrier on the aluminum rim to protect it not only from dirt and debris, but also from potential scratches as well. Furthermore, a good clear coat will also keep in some of the original luster of the aluminum rim.
Now that you have learned how to clean rims correctly we hope you will remember this knowledge every time you begin to clean your vehicle. Even if you only have regular rims right now, you may decide to buy more expensive custom chrome or aluminum rims later. If you do, rest assured that you now have the additional knowledge of how to clean chrome rims and how to clean aluminum rims right here.