Different kinds of wheels require different treatments — if you’re unsure what kind of wheels you have, check with a wheel shop. Aluminum or chrome-plated wheels call for a special wheel polish. Painted or clear-coated steel wheels are compatible with a standard auto polish product.
Wheel cleaners include surfactants, metal chelators, and degreasers that surround and dissolve road grime and brake dust.
Many wheel cleaners use highly acidic, harsh ingredients that may cause damage to your finishes. Use alkaline/basic formulas, and never use them on aluminum or damaged wheels. Follow directions on the product label, paying special attention to safety instructions (e.g. wearing goggles and gloves) and the maximum time the product can remain on the wheels without damaging them.
Clean your wheels last, after washing the rest of the vehicle.
Remove hubcaps and wash separately with a Wheel Cleaner. Cleaning one wheel at a time, spray on the wheel cleaner and allow it to use the tool that works best for your car. Soft wheel brushes or Microfibre cloths work well to wipe the tyre clean. For crevices, use a soft-bristled brush. Rinse the wheel thoroughly, then dry with a soft, clean towel to prevent water spots.
To keep your wheels clean longer, you can wax your wheels, which will slow the buildup of brake dust and make cleaning easier. Alternatively, Armor All Shield Brake Dust Repellent repels brake dust and dirt, making it easier to clean your wheels the next time you wash your car.
You may want to consider removing the wheels once a year to clean both the back and the front.
Use a tyre dressing to give your tyres a high-gloss finish and to protect them from damaging environmental conditions that age them. Two types of tyre dressings include tyre foams and tyre shines. Tyre foams clean and shine, while tyre shines bring a higher level of shine to clean tyres.
Tyre dressings also have different “looks” that are a matter of personal taste — the high-shine, wet look or the rich, black matte finish. Do not use tyre dressings with bleach because they may make your tyres grey and can stain your wheels. Do not apply dressing to treads, as it can be dangerous when driving.
For tougher stains, such as tar, and for whitewalls, try using a wet scouring pad to clean.
Regardless of the product type you choose, keep a cloth handy to wipe overspray from rims. Buffing with a cloth also allows you to customise the shine on your tyres.
Another way to avoid overspray and enable even coverage is to use a tyre dressing product that is designed with a gel control applicator.
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