Once you have your new car, chances are it will have a snazzy set of alloy wheels as standard. But these shiny (often) silver rims can soon start look grubby, mainly due to the fact they’re perfectly positioned to collect more dirt than the rest of a car. Not only does an alloy wheel have to deal with everyday grime from the road and air, these drab brown deposits are mixed with dust from the brakes and can soon get baked on to your wheels.
So how do you clean your wheels? You can use the same cleaner that you wash the rest of your car with, but it will only remove the surface dirt. To get rid of the baked-on dirt, you need a specialist alloy wheel cleaner. A dedicated wheel cleaner is the best option if you want really clean wheels, as these products shift the dirt with just one application, and simply rinse off when they’re done.
If you’re cleaning your wheels, you’re probably doing the rest of the car at the same time. A pressure washer is a great way to blast most of the dirt off your car, including the wheels, but it won’t take the baked-on brake dust with it. But an alloy wheel cleaner will deep-clean the wheel, getting into all the narrow gaps and penetrating the dirt. They can do this without damaging the lacquer or paint, too, saving you an expensive refurbishment in the future.
We’d recommend wearing rubber or latex gloves while cleaning your wheels, so you don’t get covered in dust or cleaning product – some can cause skin irritation, while the fine dust particles can easily get ingrained in your fingers and under your nails.
Our favourite wheel cleaners simply spray on, and you leave them to do their work before rinsing off. The best cleaners also change colour to show you exactly how much dirt is being lifted, while the ingredients they use mean they don’t damage your tyres, and can simply be washed down the drain once finished.
Once spotlessly clean, you could treat your wheels to a specialist wheel wax. This will add a protective layer that will help prevent brake dust from building up. Once you’re done with your wheels, give your tyres a coat of tyre shine to get them back to their lustrous best.
Now your wheels will be looking good, hopefully for a long time, while regular washing will help prevent the brake dust from baking on.
Simoniz Ultra Care Alloy Cleaner
Price: Around £5
Rating: 4.5 stars
A Keen price helps this alloy cleaner, This old-school but acid-free version promises not to corrode alloys while removing the grime. It works well, Add in that cracking price, and it’s easy to recommend.
Mer Wheel Wax
Price £7.99 500ml
RECOMMENDED – Mer’s Wheel Wax is one of the most durable products, and yet also one of the best value.