Alloy Wheel Aftercare / Cleaning Guide
Cleaning Your Alloy Wheels
To keep your wheels in great condition it is important that you have a good cleaning routine, which ensures that there is no long-term grime or corrosive salts on the wheels. The technique is also important to ensure that you don't scratch the wheels with dirt as you clean.
We recommend that you follow the below steps when cleaning your wheels at least once every 2 weeks (this is suitable for all the wheels that we sell) :
- Pressure Wash - to remove any loose debris/dirt from the wheels which will remove the vast majority.
- Remove Iron Fallout - A lot of people do not realise that the iron particles dispersed from the brake pads have a tendancy to bond to your wheels (as tiny black dots) and it can be. incredibly difficult to remove these. Do not scratch this off, we recommend using a iron fallout remover product such as the aptly named Bilt Hamber Auto Wheel Fallout Remover. This is sprayed onto the wheel and left for 10-15 minutes. It will turn cherry red and have an unusual smell, but it will deoxidise the iron particles and lift them from the paint. Using a microfibre cloth you will be able to then rinse and wipe away the grime.
- Rinse / Wash - Using a two-bucket technique, thoroughly rinse the wheels and tyres and apply a good quality car shampoo or a shampoo intended purposely for alloy wheels. Using a small wheel brush you will be able to access tight corners and also the inside wheel barrel. Once complete a final rinse will wash away the soap suds.
- Decontaminate - You will probably find that there will still be tiny particles on the paint that feel sharp and bumpy to touch if you run your hand over a flat surface. This is called paint contamination and can be easily removed using a clay bar.
- Dry - The final step is to dry the wheels using a large microfibre buffing cloth or chamios.
After these steps you will have nice shiny clean wheels ready for treatment. We would also suggest checking the wheel for any chips, scratches, blemishes that may escalate if left untreated. Any chips / scratches to the lacquer can be touched in with a clear lacquer touchup pen or a coloured touchup pen that matches the paint colour. This will seal the paint to prevent corrosion from setting in. If any exposed aluminium is left untreated then it will oxidise over time and turn milky in colour and start to seperate the paint from the aluminium.
NEVER USE ACIDIC WHEEL CLEANING AGENTS, THESE ARE ACID BASED AND WILL CORRODE THE PAINT
Wax / Coating Your Alloy Wheels
Once your wheels are clean (or brand new out the box), it's a great time to treat your wheels with a wax or a sealant in keep the wheels looking at their best. This will prevent dirt/grime bonding to the wheels to ease cleaning in the future and maintain a fresh paint finish. Water beading will take place which means as the wheels rotate the wheel will expel from the wheel along with any dirt, so the wheels will stay looking cleaner for longer.
There are many products on the market and we have a selection of alloy wheel cleaning and detailing products here.
They generally consist of rubbing the product into the paintwork, letting it set then buff off. But always follow the manufacturer guidelines within the packaging.
You can also opt for ceramic coating, which can be expensive but is the best treatment you can apply. This is a specialist job and need to be carried out by a professional detailer.
It would also be a good time to apply a treatment to the tyres, which will bring the colour back to a brilliant black and offer protection for the rubber against chemicals on the road. It is important to use use a silicon water based tyre treatment. You just need to rub the solution into the tyre sidewall and wipe away any excess (being careful not to get any on the wheels), then stand back to admire your work!
- Check torque setting - Ensure that the wheel nuts/bolts are re-torqued after 250 miles and then we recommend checking the torque at regular 1000 mile intervals for safety reasons.
- Check tyre pressures - Maintaining the correct tyre pressure is essential. If the tyre pressure is run too low then the chances of damage to the tyre and/or wheel is much more likely, which will not be covered by the product warranty. Running the tyres at the incorrect pressure can cause uneven tyre wear and cracking. Any warranty claims where under-inflation or over-inflation is the cause will be clearly evident upon inspection.
- Check tyre tread depth/wear - You need to look out for uneven tyre tread wear to see if there are any under/over inflation issues or alignment/tracking issues. Also the minimum tyre tread depth is 1.6mm, so you need to ensure that the tyre tread is not below this limit. If you have purchased a set of tyres, please allow the tyres 150-200 miles to 'bed-in' and start to offer maximum grip and performance.
- Check for lacquer/paint damage - As previously mentioned, we would also suggest checking the wheel for any chips, scratches, blemishes that may escalate if left untreated. Any chips / scratches to the lacquer can be touched in with a clear lacquer touchup pen or a coloured touchup pen that matches the paint colour. This will seal the paint to prevent corrosion from setting in. If any exposed aluminium is left untreated then it will oxidise over time and turn milky in colour and start to seperate the paint from the aluminium.
- Alignment / Tracking - It is also recommended to have any alignment/tracking work done after the new wheels are fitted. The positioning of the wheels within the arch will most likely be different to the original wheels on the vehicle which will alter the handling and alignment. Also if there are any existing issues with alignment then it is best to eliminate this before using new wheels or tyres.