How To Polish Alloy Wheels

If you have alloy wheels, it is important to clean and polish them in order to prevent corrosion and prolong their life. Alloy wheels can be cleaned from simple soap and water, but alloy-specific products will render much better results. Below, we take a look at how to properly clean and polish alloy wheels.

Step #1: Cleaning

Before polishing your alloy wheels, you must clean them. It is best to rinse the wheels with water and rub them with a soft sponge before applying any cleaning solution to wash away any dust or dirt on the wheel, which can scratch the surface when scrubbing if not removed first. Now, take an alloy wheel cleaning solution and mix it with a bucket of water, following the directions on the cleaning solution bottle for the right ratio of water to solution. Soak a fresh sponge in the bucket of solution, squeeze out the excess liquid over the bucket, then scrub the alloy wheels with the sponge. Since you already rinsed off the wheels with water and a sponge, you can scrub harder if need be for problem areas. Using an old toothbrush soaked in the solution can help clean small crevices, corners and problem areas in the wheel that the sponge can’t get to.

Once you are done scrubbing the wheel, rinse it off with water and dry it with a microfiber cloth or chamois towel. Now, you are ready to apply the alloy wheel polish and start polishing for a professional-grade look.

Step #2: Polishing

Choosing a polish for your alloy wheel depends on what kind it is. For instance, a clear-coated alloy wheel will require a less aggressive polish than a bare aluminum alloy wheel. For clear-coated alloy wheels, choose a polish that is safe on coated materials so that it will not scratch or dull the finish. For polished alloy wheels, a highly concentrated aluminum alloy polish is best. Since aluminum alloy wheels can tarnish and rust, these types of polishes are specially made to remove oxidation. Once you have your polish, it is time to apply it.

First, wipe the metal alloy polish that you chose onto one of your wheels (it is important to polish only one wheel at a time). Using an electric polisher with a cylindrical or spherical polishing head, slowly start spreading the polish all over the wheel. Gradually increase the speed of your electric polisher and keep moving the polishing head over the wheel evenly until the polish starts to dry or diminish. It is important to note that if you are polishing clear-coated alloy wheels, avoid polishing heads that are made out of wool as they can irritate and scratch the finish. Once you are done buffing the polish onto the wheels, use a clean microfiber towel to wipe the wheel clean and free of any excess polish. Once you apply these steps to all four alloy wheels, they will be in much better condition for driving.

To learn more about auto body polishing and for more DIY car tutorials, be sure to visit

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