Keeping wheels clean isn’t just about the look. Brake dust can accumulate on them, and if it isn’t removed, it can permanently damage the finish. Here’s how to keep wheels and tires neat and protected.
Spray wheel cleaner on the rims
Rub with a mitt or soft cloth
Dry the rim
Use extra-strength cleaner if necessary
Don’t let the product dry on the wheel
Test new products carefully
Be sure to get into all the wheel areas
Clean the tires with a brush
Use tire shine
It’s best to clean wheels when they’re cool, and do it out of the sun if possible. Always follow the product directions.
Get between and inside the spokes, to be sure you’re getting all the grime off the wheel. If you drop the cleaning mitt, always rinse it thoroughly before you use it again. A damp mitt will pick up grit that can scratch the wheels.
Use a hose and cool water to remove all the cleaner. Spray the wheel until the water coming off it is clear.
Use a microfibre towel to dry the surface. Be sure to get any tough-to-reach spots between the spokes.
Never use a kitchen-style scouring pad to remove heavy grime, which can scratch the wheels. Instead, use a more powerful wheel cleaner. Follow the package directions, especially if you have alloy wheels with plastic centre caps, as the caps may require a separate cleaning product.
Spray, rub, rinse, and dry one wheel at a time. If the cleaner dries on the wheel, it can be difficult to remove.
Test it on a small area first. There shouldn’t be any problem with wheel-specific products, but it’s best to be sure, especially if you have painted wheels, plastic centre caps, or older alloy rims.
If necessary, use a wheel cleaning brush to get into the hard-to-reach areas. These narrow brushes do a good job of reaching the places where you might not be able to clean with a mitt.
Spray the tires with cleaner, scrub them with a brush, and rinse them. Tire-specific brushes are stiff, and you should avoid using them on the wheels. Wipe the sidewall dry with a microfibre towel.
Put the tire shine on the applicator, rather than spraying it on the tire, and wipe the applicator around the sidewall. Avoid getting tire shine on the wheels. Let the tire shine dry before driving.