What are you suppose to do with corroded and “dirty” aluminum wheels? You might be disgusted when those wheels become eyesore rather than admirable parts of your car. But don’t be intimated by what you see, polishing aluminum wheels to appear brand new and in mirror finish, you guess it right, is quite easy to do. But quite undeniably, if you know the trick. An Aluminum wheel is an alloy of aluminum and magnesium which are combined to form a stronger alloy. Aluminum is a soft metal, but interestingly light.
Know more about Aluminum Wheels
Aluminum is primarily rust-proof, the rust-like spots you see on the surface of the wheels are not actually rust. It is the product of corrosion or the chemical reaction of aluminum with its environment, called aluminum oxide.
The addition of magnesium makes aluminum alloy stronger and durable. There are also other “dirt” that adheres to the wheels, such as grime, soot, dust, and other solid stains. On this article, we will show you how to polish aluminum wheels in just 7 easy steps. The tools that you would need and any other information that is vital to your success are listed here. Continue reading, car lovers!
What you would need
Step by step instructions
1. Take out the wheels from your car
It is easier to clean and polish the wheels while they are out of the car, so better take them out. You can take them out one after the other. Clean them in this manner as car owners usually have only one jack lifter in their possession. But if you have the ways and tools to take them all out together, it is much better.
2. Clean dirt and grime
Using soap or detergent, sponge and high-pressure water, clean the grime and other dirt from the wheels. Use heavy-duty scouring pad for those that are hard to clean. Rinse it thoroughly with pressurized water, making sure grime and soap are totally gone. Remember that any leftover grime and other debris will spoil your polishing.
3. Check for “curb rash”
Check the rims for curb rash. Curb rash is the scrape on the wheel resulting from touching against the curb while parking. This may also be caused by hitting the wheels by a hard object like a bull hammer during installation. Make this disappear by carefully filing it with a flat file. Use a fine flat file and never remove too much material as this may also cause unbalance wheel.
4. Eliminate pitting, if any
If you find any pitting (small holes on the wheel resulting from corrosion), you can buff them using a 400-grit sandpaper. Starts with this grit and go to a finer 600-grit to smooth out the scratches. Remember not to use coarser abrasive (like a 200 grit or higher) in buffing, it may only unbalance or scrape the wheel deeper and might form an arc. Buffing strokes should be evenly in one direction only.
5. Wash out and rinse the wheels
If everything is A-okay at this time, rinse the wheel thoroughly to flush out the adhering metal bits from your buffing. You can also repeat washing and scrub it with detergent and scouring pad before rinsing so that you are assured that nothing unwanted is left on the wheel.
After a thorough rinsing, dry the wheel with a clean terrycloth towel or a clean rag. Make sure your hands are also free from dirt and any other material that may spoil your polishing.
6. Application of aluminum brightening cleaner
You are now a step closer to accomplishing your task. Make sure that the wheel is totally dry. Apply enough amount of aluminum brightening cleaner to the metal wheel which will allow the restoration of the aluminum and consequently minimize oxidation in the future. Wipe the wheels with another cloth repeatedly, until you notice a clear reflection on the wheel.
7. Finally, apply cleaning polish
Next is the application of cleaning polish which comes either in paste or liquid form. Carefully rub the polish into the wheel evenly and smoothly in the same direction to give the wheel its shiny tone. Use an old toothbrush with soft bristles (wrap a soft cloth around the bristles so as not to blemish the finish) to rub hard-to-reach parts on the wheel.
Letting you polish the small areas of the wheel will allow you to have a uniform outcome. Do not forget also to apply cleaning polish to the rims. Replace the cloth occasionally to avoid transferring foreign matters to the wheel. Continue rubbing the wheels with cleaning polish until you attain the mirror-finish you have been dreaming of.
Did you enjoy this tutorial? It is really so easy and convenient how to polish aluminum wheels and certainly much enjoyable when you know the tricks. You are now a proud owner of shiny and clean wheels, which was really an eyesore moment ago.
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