Aluminum is a popular material for car wheels because it can shine like chrome when it is properly treated. Aluminum is a softer metal than steel (which is the other material common in vehicle wheels) so it is considerably easier to clean and responds well to polishing. This metal is also considered to be far more long-lasting and withstands corrosion longer, which is why they are often a pricier investment. If you take proper care of your aluminum wheels, they can last forever – unlike steel tires which will corrode eventually no matter what (which is why most people paint them black and ignore them, as they’ll eventually need replacing). 

If you have OEM aluminum wheels they are likely treated with a protective coating to help prevent oxidation. If that’s the case, you’ll need to take special care of your wheels. When you drive every day, your car will acquire a certain amount of dust and dirt. Your wheels get the roughest treatment of all, as they get driven through dirt, mud, rocky roads, salt, and all sorts of terrain. If you take good care of your aluminum wheels, you won’t have to replace them any time soon.

How to Clean Aluminum Wheels

You should regularly take your vehicle to the car wash to remove any build-up of dust, dirt, pollen, or salt, all of which can corrode your car’s paint job. The wheels may require some extra attention to keep them functioning properly! Here are a few tips for cleaning your aluminum wheels:

  • Clean your wheels first! Whether you’re washing your car at home or planning on taking it to the car wash, you should use a hose with good pressure to blast any loose dirt and debris from your wheels. This will prevent dirty water, while washing the rest of the car, from staining your wheels. Rinse all parts of the wheel including the spokes and brake calipers. 
  • Use an aluminum-cleaning spray to clean the wheels. Make sure it is non-acidic to prevent spotting. Spray one wheel down at a time and clean it using a soft-bristle brush for abrasiveness. 
  • Don’t use a hard-bristle brush or anything too abrasive as it can scratch the aluminum and compromise it. Use something soft and put in the extra effort to scrub out dirt from all the crevices on the tire. Check around lug nuts and wheel wells – anywhere mud, dust, and salt can hide.
  • Once you’re done spraying and scrubbing a wheel you can blast it with the hose again and take the time to dry each wheel after washing. This will prevent water stains, which are unattractive on your shiny aluminum wheels. 
  • If you don’t want to do any of this process yourself or simply don’t have the time, you should take your car to a local place like Flagstop Car Wash for proper cleaning. With experienced experts, you can have your car’s aluminum wheels looking like new quickly and without any fuss. You can even keep it cheap and simple by signing up for a membership program like the RVA Wash Club and get your car through the wash quickly, any time you need! You can let us know if you want special care or services for your tires. 

Aluminum tires can be expensive, but they are often worth the investment – if you keep them clean and well taken care of. 

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