You take pride in caring for your vehicle and that extends to your aluminum alloy wheels. Keeping your wheels in the best shape possible takes plenty of hard work, but the following tips can help make that work go a lot easier. Here are six simple rules to remember when cleaning your alloy wheels.
Have Hot Wheels? Let Them Cool Down First
If you’ve just returned from taking your prized ride out for a long spin, you might want to wait a while for your wheels to cool down before washing them. Spraying cold water on hot wheels can shock the alloy metal, subjecting it to a rapid temperature change that can provoke hairline cracks into forming or expanding. It can also create pits on the wheel surface, allowing dirt to embed itself and become trapped within the wheel.
There’s no specific time limit when it comes to waiting for your wheels to cool off. Simply wait until they are cool to the touch. To avoid this problem in the first place, it’s usually a good idea to clean your wheels before setting off on any long journeys you might have planned for the day.
Start From the Top and Work Downwards
Starting from the bottom up might be a good idea for building a new garage or a kit car, but it’s not such a good idea when it comes to washing your vehicle, let alone your wheels. Gravity is still large and in charge and the last thing you’d want to do is wash your wheels, only to see dirt and grime from previous sections running over those sections you just cleaned.
Instead, you should take a top-to-bottom approach towards cleaning your wheels, starting at the barrel of the wheel. Not only should you work downwards, you should also work inwards towards the lug nuts and center cap.
Avoid Harsh and Abrasive Cleaning Products
A harsh cleaning spray can do a number on an alloy wheel, leaving behind pits and crevices that can make them appear old before their time. Most of the harsh cleaning materials currently on the market are acid or lye-based, making them a no-go for wheel cleaning.
Instead, you should find a wheel cleaner that is specifically formulated for safe use on alloy wheels. In a pinch, you can always use some mild dishwashing detergent. Better still, it’s a good idea to look up your wheel manufacturer’s cleaning product requirements or recommendations. Many high-end aluminum alloy and magnesium wheels often come with special instructions for optimal care and upkeep, including specific cleaners to use.
Never Wash in Direct Sunlight
Cleaning your wheels in direct sunlight can cause your wheels to dry faster than expected. Direct sunlight can not only heat up your wheels, but the unexpected drying can also leave behind unwanted residue and water spots. If you want to clean your alloy wheels, you’ll want to pick a spot that’s relatively shaded from the sun.
Use One Cloth per Wheel to Avoid Scratches
It’s a good idea to use a separate, clean microfiber cloth for each individual wheel. This will help cut down the possibility of leaving unsightly scratches on your alloy wheels as you wipe them down and dry them off.
Use a Protective Polish or Sealant to Protect Your Finish
As you rack up the miles on your freshly washed wheels, all of your hard work can easily be undone by dirt, road tar, and brake dust, just to name a few potential contaminants. To protect your alloy wheels against this buildup, you’ll want to use a high quality protective polish or sealant.
These six simple rules can help you keep your alloy wheels and your vehicle looking great for years to come. Contact us if you’re interested in our unique selection of alloy wheels.
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