How do you clean your wheels without scratching your rims or breaking your arms? Use the best wheel cleaner that will make your wheels and rims gleam!
You will appreciate the hose-off wheel cleaner even if you will want to soft brush those nooks that soak longer in grime. Go for the acid-free, environment-friendly formulation and save yourself from noxious odors.
Wheel Cleaner Reviews
CarGuys Wheel Cleaner
This wheel cleaner from CarGuys cleans corrosive grime from your wheels with no scrubbing, just rinse off afterwards. And it is safe to use on every type of wheel.
Griot’s Garage 11107
This wheel cleaner from Griot’s Garage is gentle enough to clean stubborn dirt and grime without damaging finishes. Even hard-caked dirt simply falls off by brushing the surface after rinsing.
Griot’s Garage 11026SP
This heavy duty cleaner from Griot’s Garage is designed to clean up tough stains by staying on while working. But it remains non-abrasive so it won’t damage wheel finishes.
This wheel cleaner from Sonax is more powerful than the original Sonax formulation, while being non-toxic. It turns red as it penetrates the dirt so you’ll know its working.
TriNova Wheel Cleaning Gel
This wheel cleaning gel from TriNova comes in a spray bottle for convenient application. Spraying it on also helps to ensure a more even distribution for a better result.
This powerful wheel cleaner from Nanoskin features a formulation with organic acids that work even with old dirt and grime. It won’t damage delicate painted and glass surfaces.
This wheel brightening solution from Meguiar’s is highly concentrated and can be diluted up to 4:1 while maintaining its effectiveness. It can remove even stubborn tar with minimal scrubbing.
This wheel cleaner from 3D is effective for everyday use and cleans all tires with only minor scrubbing. It removes stubborn stains like brake dust and leaves no filmy residue.
The Bucko Wheel Cleaner
This versatile cleaning solution from the Bucko can also be used to clean disc brakes. And it has a non-abrasive formulation with no harsh ingredients to avoid damaging finishes.
Detailer 365 Rim Job Cleaner
This wheel cleaner from Detailer 365 is effective for everyday cleaning of up to moderate stains. The solution foams while it works and comes with a microfiber cloth.
Types of Wheel Cleaner
Neglecting alloy wheels covered with heavy brake dust can lead to worse problems that a regular car shampoo cannot fix. As such, it is essential to clean your tires as soon as they start accumulating dust.
Wheel cleaners are typically a blend of degreasers and cleaning agents. These products can effectively remove road grime and brake dust from your car’s wheels.
Beyond aesthetic reasons, keeping your wheels free from any dust or grime buildup ensures smoother driving and improves longevity of the tires. Following are three main types of wheel cleaners.
Acid Based – You can use these wheel cleaners on semi-hot wheels. You need to do the cleaning fast enough to prevent it from drying. If it dries, the process of chemical reaction will stop and you will need to rework it.
Non-Acid Based – This type of cleaner may work well for mild brake dust, but not for wheels with heavy build-up of dust and grime. Also, non-acid based wheel cleaners are not recommended for bare aluminum tires.
Organic – Organic cleaners are aggressive enough to be deemed effective. These cleaners are also safe to use for other purposes, such as removing water-spots on glass and paint.
How to Select a Wheel Cleaner
The main purpose of using wheel cleaners is to get rid of brake dust. Brake dust results from the squeezing of brake pads against the rotors while the vehicle is stopping.
When brake pads wear down due to pressure and heat applied to the rotors, small metal particles and other brake components fly off the surface and stick to the wheels.
These filings corrode and cause damage to the wheels if left for too long. To prevent this, clean your tires and wheels with a safe and effective wheel cleaner.
There are different types of wheel cleaners available in the market to suit different situations and material types. When buying cleaners, make sure they are safe for the type of tires and wheels you plan to use them on.
Consider buying all-purpose degreasers and cleaners designed specifically for automotive use. Cleaning products designed for commercial cleaning may contain chemicals that aren’t safe for your specific tire, wheel and painted surface.
Before applying any cleaning product on your tires and wheels, read the manufacturer’s instructions first and put them to use. Also, make sure you have the right cleaning tools ready.
How to Clean Tires and Wheels
Before cleaning your tires and wheels, set up an assortment of good quality brushes. This makes cleaning tires, wheels and wheel wells easier and faster.
Prepare two buckets of water – one is for washing and the other is for rinsing. Add enough car soap to the bucket for washing. The soap helps lubricate the wheels and the bristles of the brush when cleaning.
Apply a wheel cleaner onto the barrel and face of the wheel. Let the solution sit on the surface for about 5 minutes. This gives the chemicals in the cleaners enough time to react with the dirt.
Scrub the tires using a tire brush. Cut through all the dirt, grease and grime and get them off together with the old tire dressing. Do the same process for the wheel.
Next, rinse the wheel using a basic hose or pressure washer. Continue hosing until all the dirt and traces of soap are washed down, then dry the wheel using a leaf blower or simply with a microfiber towel.
You may now apply new tire dressing and additional protection. Avoid applying the dressing to areas of the tire that come into contact with the road. That can be extremely dangerous.
Frequently Asked Questions about Wheel Cleaners
Do I need a pH-balanced wheel cleaner? Not necessarily, but you may if you feel safer that way. The idea of using pH-balanced wheel cleaners is mainly an advertising hype. No professional test has proven its significance.
Aren’t all forms of acid damaging to wheels? The chemicals or acids present in wheel cleaners work against brake dust, not against the coating on the wheels.
Is it really necessary to use tire brushes? Won’t the cleaning product do the entire work? For a complete clean, it is better to use wheel and tire brushes, but brushes with soft bristles are also good since they don’t mar the wheel’s surface.
How long does it take for brake dust to build up? Brake dust typically builds up in six months or after driving 1,500 miles. This may vary depending on your car model and the typical road conditions you drive on.
Is any type of wheel cleaner safe to use for any type of wheel? Some wheel cleaner contain ingredients that may be safe for a specific wheel type. That’s why it’s important to check the directions and precautions first before using any product.
Is it okay to use regular car wash soaps instead of wheel cleaners? Regular car soaps may not be intrusive enough to remove heavy build-up of road grime and brake dust. In such cases, the use of wheel cleaners is necessary.