On a day-to-day basis, you may not realize it, but the wheels of your vehicles take a much worse beating than the paint job. When you allow brake dust to linger on the wheels for a prolonged time, it can wear down the coating and pit the metal. Brake dust is composed of sticky carbon fibres and tiny metal shavings. The intense heat and friction that the wheels produce, makes this mixture extremely corrosive. Brake dust and rust permanently pit your wheels even after a short period of time, if you allow it. The only way to keep your wheels safe is frequent cleaning.

How to clean wheels and tires

Wheel Cleaning Tips for Beginners

First use the least aggressive cleaning method. It is possible to clean your car wheels using your regular car shampoo. If you are going to wash your car using a car shampoo, make sure it doesn’t sit for long time on the wheel rims.

Always clean wheels after they cool down to avoid wheel drying and water spotting. Avoid cleaning in direct sunlight.

Use a dedicated microfiber mit for wheels to avoid rubbing wheel dirt into your paint. The dirt that is on the wheels (the one mostly attached to the rims) is much more abrasive than the dirt you usually see sitting all over the other parts of your vehicle.

Make sure you clean the wheel barrel including the lug nut holes if they are exposed. There are a lot of cheap brushes that will help you clean these in seconds.

Do not let wheel cleaners stay on the tires for a long time. This could cause permanent discoloration.

You should always test your brand-new, never used wheel cleaner on a small part of your wheel to see if it damages your wheel.

Clean Wheels the Right Way

Using the right methods and tools will reduce the potential for damage. It is recommended to clean your vehicle wheels and tires first, before cleaning other car parts. This will prevent overspray or grease from splashing onto already clean areas.

If you just like to use soap and water to clean your wheels and tires, use separate washing and rinsing buckets.

By doing so, you can avoid unnecessary cross-contamination. If you suspected the brake dust is too caked in, or if you haven’t really cleaned them in a long time, consider a more powerful wheel cleaner.

Make sure that the cleaner you choose is suitable for the type of wheels you have. Roughcast aluminum and other materials such as chrome are able to withstand stronger and more powerful cleaners than coated, painted, and anodized wheels. The label will provide details of the product. If not sure, use a wheel cleaner that can be applied for all kind of wheels. Some 2-in-1 cleaners don’t just work on the wheels but also on the tires.

There are so many tire and wheel brushes available today. You should get a wheel brush with feathered bristles. This will prevent your wheels from scratches. Use a stiffer brush to scrub the rubber of the tires.

Clean one set of your wheels and tires at a time. If the cleaner dries, this could cause damage to your tires and wheels. Rinse the entire tire with strong pressurized water as you move from one tire to the next.

Make sure to dry your car wheels after washing them. Avoid using a towel you intend to use afterwards on other parts of your car when drying wheels. Drying prevents the formation of water spots.

Applying wax to the wheels

After the wheels are completely dry and clean, you can apply a quality wheel protectant or sealant wax. Use an applicator pad and then buff to achieve the best result. They will keep your rims looking shiny, and they have the ability to prevent brake dust from sticking to the wheels.

These products must be reapplied weekly. They are an effective and easy alternative to scrubbing your wheels every two days. Wheel waxes act as a protector. With the right product, you only need water to clean your wheels in between waxing.

Coating your wheels is another option. Coating creates a solid barrier and prevents brake-dust sticking, and resist all kinds of contaminants.

Select a tire dressing carefully

Tire dressings with silicone gives a glossy shine. However, it turns brown over time. However, they deplete the rubber’s own natural oils faster, causing it to deteriorate at a rapid pace. Newer formulas are based on water and are semi glossy that do not turn brown. Apply thin coats and allow it to dry before driving the vehicle.

Another easy way is to use a tire coating. They form flexible, chemical resistant acrylic based resin coating on your tires. Tire dressings protect your tires from cracking and fading.