When it comes to wheels it's a personal touch and one that adds a little something extra to our rides. When done right, it's special! Over the years the trend in wheels has gone from the classic muscle car mag wheels, to polished wheels by Weld Racing, Enkei, Eagle, Cragar, Centerline, and American Racing to name a few. In recent years, polished wheels have faded and it's the mat black, grey, and gold wheels you see as the trend by Method Race Wheels, Fuel Wheels, KMC Wheels, Fifteen52 Wheels, Vossen Wheels, HRE Wheels, and many others. Regardless, a good wheel cleaning routine helps keep them looking their best. In this wheel cleaning guide we go through some tips and tricks that will help you keep your wheels looking their best!
The Right Wheel Cleaning Tools For The JobHere at Redline Finish we can not stress this enough: having the right wheel cleaning tools for the job is essential to making your detailing job fast, efficient, and most importantly effective! When it comes to wheel cleaning we recommend using The "Duo" Ultimate Microfiber Wheel Brush Set so you can easily get in the wheel and clean the wheel barrel, brake caliper, and other areas a traditional brush simply cannot get into. We believe the best wheel brush is microfiber. To clean the face of the wheel we recommend using a microfiber wheel mitt like The "Ace" Ultimate Microfiber Wheel Mitt as it makes cleaning the face of the wheel very easy.
Wheel Cleaning Prep
Proper wheel cleaning prep insures you have everything you need by your side for the job at hand which, in the end, saves you a lot of time. We recommend the following when preparing for wheel cleaning:
- Pressure washer or hose with spray nozzle
- pH balanced car wash soap
- 2 Buckets
- Microfiber Wheel Woolies Wheel Brush
- Microfiber Wheel Mitt
- Premium small microfiber car drying towel
Wheel Cleaning Pre-Wash
- Pre washing consists of using a pressure washer or hose with a spray nozzle to spray each wheel to loosen up the dirt, grime, and brake dust (if you run track pads you know there is a ton of brake dust!!) on the wheel.
- Fill one bucket up with car soap and water and the second bucket with just clean water for your wheel cleaning brushes and wheel mitt before moving on to the next wheel.
- Depending upon the condition of your wheels you may want to use a wheel cleaner to spray the wheels. Let it sit for a few minutes to help further break down the brake dust. A word of caution here: please be sure the wheel cleaner you use is safe for the type of wheels you have.
Wheel Cleaning Process
- Using a microfiber wheel brush like The "Duo" Ultimate Microfiber Wheel Brush Set, start scrubbing the wheel barrel from the top down. This approach is the same as when washing your vehicle...starting from the top down as you do not want to start cleaning at the bottom to only have that area get dirty again when you get to the top and all the dirt and grime drips down.
- Once the wheel barrel is clean then move on to the back of the brake caliper. This step adds a nice touch to your wheels if you have big brake calipers like 4 and 6 piston calipers that are typically painted.
- Once you have cleaned the wheel barrel and brake caliper, move on to the face of the wheel with a microfiber wheel mitt like The "Ace" Ultimate Wheel Mitt. This step is super easy, just go over the face of the wheel and the sides of the spokes if you have spoke wheels.
- Using a really small brush, scrub the lug nuts and small area around the lug nuts.
- Rinse the wheel off with the pressure washer or hose and spray nozzle.
- Dip your wheel brush and wheel wash mitt in a clean bucket of water to remove the dirt, grime, and brake dust collected in the fibers.
- Move on to the next wheel repeating the process described above. It is a good idea once all 4 wheels have been washed to go back and spray them off one more time as soap can hang around sometimes.
The drying process is quite simple and we strongly recommend using a high quality small microfiber car drying towel like The "FINISHER" Ultimate Microfiber Detail Drying Towel so the finished wheel is spot and streak free. We believe The "FINISHER" is the best car drying towel for drying wheels.
Ceramic Coating Wheels
This last step is an extra step but one we feel is well worth the time and that's wheel ceramic coating. If you have nice wheels that you would like to protect long-term using a true 9h ceramic coating is the way to go. The benefits far out-way the time and money spent in our opinion. Dirt, grime, and brake dust easily comes off the wheels and makes washing them so much easier. When it comes to wheel ceramic coating there are a ton to choose from, selecting one in a glass bottle is a good place to start as it likely has a good concentration of ceramic so you can enjoy years of protection!
Wheel Cleaning Wrap up
Wheels are a personal touch for all of us and one way to separate your vehicle from the pack (if they are properly maintained and cared for). Following the wheel cleaning process we outline above, using the right wheel cleaning tools for the job, and coating your wheel with a true 9h wheel ceramic coating, will keep your wheels looking their best day in and day out.
If you are looking for wheel cleaning tools check out our microfiber wheel woolies wheel brushes and microfiber wheel mitt here.
We hope your detailing experience is amazing!