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How to Clean Your Alloy Wheels

Bright and shiny alloy wheels look beautiful. They’ll make your car look cool and stylish, so they’ll make you feel cool and stylish too. But you need to keep them clean. Dirty alloy wheels don’t look so stylish. And if you let too much dirt accumulate, they could become corroded, and even dangerous.

Alloy wheels from a silver Mercedes

This is your essential guide to taking care of your alloy wheels. We’ll help you ensure that they always look as brilliant as they did the day you first got them.

How to Clean Alloy Wheels

How often do you clean your car? If you do it regularly, warm and soapy water should be enough to keep your alloy wheels sparkling. It’s when you allow dirt to accumulate that you need to turn to specialist products and techniques. So if you haven’t cleaned your car in ages, or if you’ve just returned from a trip down a muddy country lane, read on.

Step By Step

  1. Rinse with water
    This will remove all that brake dust and loose dirt. You may need to use a jet spray to break apart some of the dirt. But make sure the jet isn’t too strong, or you could scratch the alloy.
  2. Use specialist alloy wheel cleaner
    This is available in all good car supply shops, and it’s specifically designed to protect the finish on the wheels. There are many brands available, but it should be easy finding the brand that’s right for your needs.
  3. Wait and rinse.
    Once you’ve waited long enough, as per the instructions, it’s just a case of giving them a rinse with water.

Don’t worry about getting a brand that will damage your wheels. Most wheel cleaners produced nowadays can be used on all surfaces, and they’re free from any corrosive acids and alkalis.

With most allow wheel cleaners, it’s just a case of spraying it on the alloy, and waiting for a set period of time, as specified on the container. Some will change colour, giving you an idea of just how much dirt they’re lifting.

Wear gloves while you’re cleaning your alloy wheels. Alloy wheel cleaner is not harmful, but it could cause irritation if you’re susceptible to that sort of thing. Plus, you don’t want to get your hands and nails covered in oil, dirt, and brake dust.

What is Wheel Wax?

Want to make your alloy wheels really sparkle? Then get some wheel wax, and apply it after you’ve cleaned them. This will add a protective layer to your alloys, helping to prevent the build-up of that troublesome brake dust. Combine this with some tyre shine, and your wheels will look as good as new.

Caring for Your Alloys: Other Things to Consider

As we said above, if you get into the habit of regularly cleaning your car, you probably won’t have to pay any particular attention to your alloy wheels. So make it habitual, and your wheels will look snazzy for years.

Another thing to make into a habit: Checking your tyres. The earlier you can spot potential issues with your tyres, the earlier you can act to prevent them from developing into serious problems.

Finally, some consider alloy wheels to be a modification. As such, alloy wheels may affect the price of your car insurance.

You can read our full guide to the sort of modifications that may affect your insurance here.