The Best Way To Wash Original Wheel Finishes Safely. 


BMW wheel that needs a little TLC

Wheels can be tricky when cleaning, they are low to the ground and gather dirt and grime easily, making them the dirtiest part of your car. Speaking of dirt, the first culprit to eat away at your pristine finish is brake dust. 



Brake Dust on a Wheel, After cleaning.

Brake dust is from the brakes obviously and gathers up over time. If left unwashed for a long period, the dust can become corrosive and leaves black specks, or pitting. The picture above is an extreme case, but that's definitely what brake dust has the potential to do. 

Here are a few simple tips for keeping your wheels looking brand new:

Companies advertise that your wheels need tons of products and accessories to keep them looking nice, but as an experienced wheel shop, we find no extra crazy cleaners are typically needed.

HOW to clean your wheels

The basics of cleaning wheels and keeping them nice is more of a world of No’s and Don’ts rather than Do’s. For the average Joe, the less you products you use, the nicer the wheels will stay.

DON’T use anything too abrasive on your wheels.

Repeat after me:  I will not scrub my rims with anything abrasive, I will not scrub my wheels with anything abrasive…. got it? Good. By abrasive we are referring to steel wool pads, anything like this that will scratch the surface. 

DON’T use cleaners or soaps with intense chemicals in them, when in doubt mild soap and water will do the job nicely, along with elbow grease! 

Abrasive also includes harsh chemicals, such as cleaners which have some kind of acidity in them; those are not made specifically for wheels and the different finishes. Unfortunately, most car washes have cleaners with acid in them and use stiff brushes that can scratch or wear away the clear coat on your wheels!

It’s in your rims best interest to ask about their cleaners and equipment, or grab some buckets and wash your car the cheaper way, in the driveway!

Always clean your wheels first as they are the dirtiest part of the car and will need more time all soaped up. Give them a strong spray from the hose to help break up the caked on dirt and brake dust, then use mild soap and warm water to clean them.

DON’T steam clean your wheels; it can wear away the finish.

You may love burning rubber with your rims but DON’T ever clean your wheels when they are hot! Driving your car a reasonable amount of distance (more than 10 miles) makes the wheels hot to the touch from the engine and sun, and If cleaners are used it can leave yellow spots and wear away the clear coat. 

Even with just water, it can leave water spots behind after drying.

DON’T go too long without washing your car, the brake dust will eventually become corrosive to the finish.