How To Care For Alloy Wheels

Well maintained wheels can vastly improve your cars appearance, as well as help protect the internal wheel components, such as the brake disc and rotor.

Of course, to care for your wheels you need to work with the material in question. Alloy wheels, typically made from Aluminium, are used because they are lightweight and resistance to rust. However, they still need regular maintenance, so here is quick guide on how to care for alloy wheels.

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Cleaning Alloy Wheels

You should always start by using water. Preferably, a hose will help reach difficult areas as, depending on the design, the complicated spoke patterns might hide some parts of the wheel. A hose is also a great way to get dirty and other build-up off of the wheel, although you can also use a cloth to help. Make sure you only use soft items, such as cloth or sponge, to prevent scratching the surface. This is important, since many alloy wheels have a lacquer coating which helps resist rust. You want to keep this in tact.

After this stage, you can use a soap and water mix – preferably using a soap designed for washing cars and safe with alloy – to softly scrub the wheels. This needs to be gentle to avoid damaging the lacquer coating. When it comes to reaching those more difficult regions, a wheel brush is certainly useful, as are cotton swabs and other soft cleaning implements.

Once you have done this, you can use a cloth or towel to clean your wheels. This will remove any excess soap and stop the wheels from developing a streaky appearance as a result.

Polish And Wax

The right finish is vital in keeping your wheels safe from the elements, but you can’t just use anything you like. You should use a vehicle wax if the wheels are coated or painted. This can be applied using a cloth or rag until its visibly noticeable.

On the other hand, you can apply polish – in a similar fashion – if the wheels have a chrome or aluminium finish. Here, you would use a chrome or aluminium polish, respectively.

As for anodised wheels, these do not needing waxing or coating, but you can apply a layer of petroleum jelly to protect the surface.

Check Your Alignment

Finally, you should always ensure your car wheels are aligned properly. An incorrectly aligned wheel can cause problems, such as scraping against the wheel rims are becoming too lose and exposing your brake pads, rotors and other internal components.

Similarly, you should always look for possible scrapes and other signs of wear or tear. If you’ve been applying regular coats when washing your wheels, this shouldn’t be a cause to panic. Washing will often remove the outer layer of wax (or polish), taking the small cut with it. If it doesn’t, then it was deep enough to damage the wheel and you might want to consider investing in new wheels. Of course, this is up to you, as a small nick or scrape might not cause any further damage, but it does hinder your cars overall appearance.