As a car detailer, I know that one of the toughest areas to take care of on your car are the wheels. They get a battering from brake dust and hot iron particulates that fly off the brake rotor. Brakes subject your wheels to extreme heat. Additionally, they have to deal with gettng caked in road grime. Sometimes they may, unfortunately, get damaged from hitting the kerb. You may also find their finish has degraded. Harsh chemicals that have been used to clean them can cause the finish to peel off due.
Thankfully there is a solution to all these problems. In this blog, I’m going to share some car detailer tips to help you fix and maintain perfect-looking wheels.
If you’ve got wheels that are looking tired it’s time to think about refurbishment. Perhaps the finish has become dull or is peeling and starting to bubble up. Or, maybe they have sustained some damage by coming too close to the curb.
Any car detailer will use the following process (or similar) to refurbish an alloy.
Firstly, they will remove the tyres and check the wheel for any severe damage. Cracks or bends need to be fixed before moving forward with the rest of the process. If the wheel doesn’t have serious structural damage, your car detailer will move forward with the first stage of the refinishing process.
The wheel is left in a tank of environmentally safe stripping solution. This process softens and removes the existing coating, whether it be paint or powder coat. After this, it is wet blasted. West blasting removes any remaining residue and will key the wheel’s exposed surface, so it’s ready to be powder coated.
Powder coating involves baking the wheel in a high heat oven before applying the powder coat to the hot wheel. During this process, the powder coat melts on contact and bonds to the wheel. The desired colour is achieved by applying multiple layers of powder coat. The colour might be a factory specification or one of your choosing. The final colour is sealed in with a lacquer which is applied as a powder coat and baked at a high heat. This gives a deep glossy, yet tough, chemical and heat resistant coating. The tyres can now be remounted and fitting to your car, but before you do, it is essential to protect this pristine wheel, so it’s easier to clean and take care of in the future.
When it comes to protecting wheels there are a few options;
- Or, Wheel Coatings
Nano-ceramic coating technology has surpassed wheel wax and sealant, and it is this method we use on our customer’s cars.
To coat a surface it needs to be perfectly clean and contaminant free. The best time to apply a coating is right after the wheels have been refurbished and before they are put back on the car. Alternatively, they can be coated after they have undergone a thorough decontamination and machine polish to bring them back to a like-new appearance.
Once the wheel is ready, it can be coated with a chemical and heat resistant coating. This coating is also hydrophobic, so it helps things stays cleaner for longer. When it does come time to clean it’ll be far more straightforward since the dirt isn’t sticking anywhere near as much as it would without a coating. I would recommend either GTechniq C5 Alloy Wheel Armour or Kamikaze Collection Rim Coat. We use both these coatings for fantastic results and longevity.
If you think wheels are a pain to clean, arm yourself with the right tools and the right products to make it easier.
First you’re going to want a bucket that is used just for this job, never use this bucket or the tools you’re going to keep in it to clean your car’s paint, as this will end up scratching it.
In your dedicated wheel bucket, I would recommend an EZ Detail Brush, big and small, Microfiber Madness Incrediflair, Large Detail Factory Boar Detailing Brush, and AutoCurators Flawless Wheel Cleaner. These are the bare minimum if you want to keep your wheels looking as if they’ve just been refurbished.
Firstly, rinse down the wheel then spray on the cleaner. Let it sit for a couple of minutes without letting it dry, agitate the wheel with the brushes and the mitt, using the EZ brush to get behind the wheel and the brake calliper. Use the Detail Factory brush to clean the lug nuts, tyres and tyre valve stem and the Incrediflair to clean the face of the wheel. Rinse things off, and you’re done.
This is a speedy and easy maintenance wash you can do at home. You can also add steps to clean and degrease the tyre sidewall and clean the wheel arches. This would require more products and tools.
If you don’t have the tools or time to maintain your wheels then drop us an email or give us a call, and I can take care of things for you. I’m a professional car detailer based on the Hampshire and West Sussex border.