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Cleaning Wheels, Tires and Rims

Automotive Detailing Step 2


Cleaning RimsAutomotive wheel, tire and rim cleaning care is more important then most people realize. Certain components of brake dust turn acidic and may etch your wheels when they become wet. The metal filings, during braking, will become red hot and tend to "burn" tiny holes in the finish of your rims. To prevent this, wheels and rims must be cleaned and protected regularly.

This is the 2nd step in your auto detailing process because, unlike your clear coat paint finish, you don't want your tires, wheels or rims to be wet prior to applying any cleaner. It is also important not to use the same cleaning brush on your tires and rims and on your paint job. You don't want any of the small metal fillings that may be stuck in the brush after removing brake dust to scratch your paint finish.  


Use an all rims cleaner on wheels, tires and rims. To apply, first be sure that wheels are cool and dry. Spray on wheel, tire and fender wells and let stand 2-5 minutes, allowing longer dwell time and mild agitation with a soft bristle brush for severe build up. Rinse thoroughly.


For non polished aluminum rims, use an aluminum rim cleaner. To apply: spray on, let set for 30 seconds to a few minutes and rinse thoroughly. For severe build up, allow longer dwell time and mild agitation with a soft bristle brush. Re apply as needed. For removing rail dust from your paint, dilute wheel cleaner 50/50 with water. Spray on paint finish let stand for 1 to 2 minutes, rinse thoroughly then wash with liquid vehicle wash (Step 3 of Auto Detailing).


Probably the most crucial part to maintaining your wheels is an application of automotive polish. (Note: Polish should be applied to rims on the 5th and final auto detailing step, apply after cleaning wheels applying tire dressing). The damaging effects of red hot brake dust, brake dust acids, pollution and ozone are unleashed upon the coat of polish instead of your wheels and rims. If you believe your rims need to be shined with a metal polish, first consult the manufacturer.



Automotive Detailing Step 3: Washing and Drying

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