Owning a car includes maintenance and repairs. Taking care of it, however, means more than just keeping it running—you have to keep your car clean, too.
It really isn’t that hard. You just drive into a nearby car wash and voila, your car will be clean in a jiff. But some owners like seeing their cars at almost showroom-quality levels of spotlessness, down to the last bolt. And mind you, that isn’t such an easy task.
It’s easy to wax the car to make it glossy and all that, but it gets a bit tricky once you start cleaning the other parts, especially the wheels. Well, to be fair, your wheels are what your vehicle runs on, so you will see quicker grime buildup on them than on anywhere else in the car.
Aluminum wheels, in particular, tend to wear out over time and lose their shine, more so if you don’t pay extra attention to them every once in a while. It’s going to take more than just the usual soap and water, though, and you can’t use the same wax you use on your car’s body (duh). Not to worry—we’ve compiled a few steps you can easily follow to get your wheels glowing again. Check them out below:
1) Begin by degreasing the wheels.
The grease and rust from your brakes, combined with the dirt from the road that accumulates over time, consequently build up grime on your wheels day in and day out. You can begin cleaning everything off by using a degreaser—any brand will do.
Spray the degreaser directly onto your wheels to lift the stubborn contaminants off its surface. After doing this, scrub your wheels thoroughly with soap. Finally, rinse the wheels with a pressure washer to completely wash everything off. You need to start with this step because polishing a dirty wheel can result in scratches.
2) Clean and polish the aluminum.
Once you’ve finished the first step, you can proceed to clean and polish the aluminum. Use an aluminum-safe wheel cleaner—again, any brand is fine, as long as you’re sure that it’s safe to use. Other wheel cleaners contain harmful chemicals that may damage the finish on the aluminum.
Spray the cleaner onto your wheels and let it soak, then wash off everything thoroughly after a minute or two. Wipe the wheels dry, then you can begin polishing them afterwards.
Apply the aluminum polish by spraying a small amount onto a cloth or foam then wiping it onto the wheels. Try to work on one small area at a time, and wipe using straight strokes to avoid producing glossy swirls.
You may also work in a pattern, starting from the center of the wheel and out through each spoke. Remember to polish the lug nuts as well, as everything should be nice and shiny once you’re done. Wipe your wheels with a clean, dry cloth one last time before proceeding to the third and final step.
3) Finish off with sealing the aluminum.
If you’ve successfully reached this point, then we’re pretty sure you want the results of your efforts to last, right? Well, time to get some wheel wax and put some on the polished aluminum. This is so the shine you’ve worked so hard on lasts more than a few days.
Apply a small amount of wax on each wheel using, again, a small cloth or foam. Let the wax dry up for around 10-15 minutes, then wipe off any excess from the wheels. Once you’ve done all these, congratulations—you’re good to go.