How to Clean Your Car Rims: Here are some tips

How to Clean Your Car Rims: Here are some tips

The Circles

The rims are an important element for our car, over the years they have become more and more sophisticated with materials that can range from steel to carbon fiber and with an elaborate style, taking a big part in the appearance of the car. For this reason, it is always better to take care of them so as not to affect their design. Let us also remember that they are the supporting structure of the tires, the connection between the road surface and the car, so it is important to have an eye on them.

They are often covered with grease and metal powers deriving from the brakes, which over time end up creating a stubborn layer of dirt that sooner or later we will have to deal with.

Below you will find some tips for taking care of it.


Washing the rims periodically can help us keep their characteristics unchanged, like when we first saw the car. Furthermore, we will avoid the accumulation of stubborn residues, which will allow us to use less aggressive products and a considerable saving of time and work. If, on the other hand, we let the residues take place on the rims, and leave them there for months or years, we will have to deal with very stubborn dirt. Which will need more aggressive and expensive products, and more washes to be clean, therefore more time-consuming. It follows that:

Periodic washing = less aggressive products = rim free of aesthetic defect.

Occasional washing = More aggressive products = greater chance of corrosion

Recognize the material of the rims

If we know the material of the rims of our car, it will be easier to choose the right products and to use the right technique to get a good result. Let’s take the most common circles as an example:

Steel rims are Usually heavier and with an interlocking plastic cover (rim cover) which has the task of improving the aesthetics of this type of rim.

Alloy wheels Lighter than their steel cousin, often with more attractive designs and a glossy finish, they do not have any plastic “wheel covers”, except in the central part covering the hub, where the car brand usually houses of the rim manufacturer.

Choice of product

Once we have recognized the material of the car rims, we can devote ourselves to finding the right cleaning product. For steel rims, which usually do not have a glossy protective layer. It is advisable to use a slightly aggressive product, possibly free of acid substances. Which could attack the metal exposing it to corrosion and rust, making the rim not very nice to see and not very Safe.

For the alloy wheels, their glossy finish helps us a lot in the cleaning phase. In fact, their surface can be treated like bodywork (decontamination, polishing, etc.), with the possibility of using many products. We are always careful with products that contain acids and do not use them for every wash.

Washing (steel rims)

The washing can be carried out both with the wheel-mounted and with the wheel removed. Clearly with the wheel removed you have easier access to the hidden part of the rim, and the work will be more comfortable and accurate. But if we don’t have time, we can limit ourselves to washing with the wheel-mounted, taking care to let the wheels cool, and carry out the work in the shade. First, we go to remove the plastic wheel covers, even if painted are delicate and susceptible to aggressive degreasers. So we will use the less invasive ones. We will use a suitable and specific product for the surfaces of the rims/rim covers, Let’s consider this very versatile product that is valid for both steel rims and plastic rim covers :

The product is a spray, so let’s spray it both on the rims and on the rim covers, help us with a toothbrush to reach the most hidden points, and let it act for about 1 minute. After that, we proceed with rinsing the surfaces with a simple jet of water, or with a pressure washer.

Washing (Alloy wheels)

Also in this case the washing can be carried out both with the wheel-mounted and with the wheel removed. Before proceeding with the work we must be sure that the surface of the circles is cold (room temperature), and possibly in the shade. On this type of rim we can first proceed with a pre-wash, also using car shampoo or a detergent such as:

Let’s apply it with a glove or sponge over the entire circle, wait a few minutes and proceed with rinsing. Let’s dry them with a cloth or compressed air, and proceed with the second treatment, which will help us eliminate the ferrous residues that the brakes leave on our rims and any other stubborn dirt. The product we will use will be suitable for the removal of ferrous residues:

On the pre-washed and dry circle, we will spray this product, evenly between the spokes and at every point of the circle, without the help of gloves or brushes. Let it act for 5/10 minutes, you will notice that it will start to turn a purple color do not worry that is the reaction with ferrous residues. It will also have a strong smell similar to rotten eggs, for this reason. I recommend you operate in ventilated environments. After 5 minutes we can already rinse the rim with a simple jet of water, or with a pressure washer. Here are our rims are bright and fit.

It is advisable to carry out the treatment with iron removers every 3 months and keep the circle clean with simple shampoo every 2 weeks.