Cleaning your tyres and wheels isn’t only a cosmetic measure. Of course, your car will be more imposing with freshly shined rims and black tyres, but as with many instances of car care there is a deeper reason for ensuring your wheels are grime free. Brake dust can damage your wheels and should be regularly removed to prevent fatigue, and cleaning protects your tyres from weathering and cracking.
It is advisable to clean your wheels at least every other time you wash your car or every two weeks. Follow our step by step guide to not only get the cleanest and shiniest look for your wheels but to also give them that long term protection.
Here’s how to clean your car tires:
What You’ll Need
Assemble the following list of items to help you with your cleaning duties:
- Dish soap or car shampoo
- Hose or pressure washer
- Wash mitt and a water source
- Applicator pads
- Clean, lint-free cloths
- Wheel brush and cleaner
- Wheel sealant
- Tyre dressing or conditioner
- Step 1
Start at the bottom of the wheels and clean these first, otherwise you could be caught out splashing dirty water on the car surfaces you have already cleaned. Rinse your wheels with water and if possible use a hose or pressure water to remove dirt on both the inner rim surface and the sides of the tyres.
- Step 2
Mix water with a dish soap or car shampoo and liberally apply to the tyre and the rim, taking time to scrub the face properly with the wash mitt. This process should remove most of the dirt and road contaminants. Get the wash mitt into all the nooks and crannies to ensure you remove every last piece of dirt.
Sometimes you may find that brake dust is a persistent adversary and can be tough to shift. Use a soft bristled wheel cleaning brush to remove every last trace with an intense and powerful cleaning action. These brushes are a great tool when it comes to removing the most hard-dried wheel deposits and are specially shaped to get into those difficult areas.
- Step 3
Rinse all the soap and water off your wheels, making sure to get into all the tough and tight regions to really check that all the soap has been washed away. Leaving soapy suds on the wheels can turn into unsightly white marks.
- Step 4
Choose a wheel cleaner that comes with a de-greaser and avoid using detergents as these may contain chemicals that may remove the paint from the bodywork of your car.
Take the time to coat your wheel with the cleaner, gently spraying the whole surface. Let it sit for a minute and a half to break up all the build-up on the wheel. Next scrub the surface with a wheel brush, getting into all the gaps in between the spokes and the rim, which should loosen all the brake dust and grime, helping it come off the wheel.
- Step 5
Carefully rinse the wheel with clean water. If there is any remaining dirt then a high pressure hose or washer could be the key to cleaning off the last pieces of dirt that may still be stuck in place. When you are satisfied that all the dirt is gone, dry the wheel completely with a lint free cloth until the surface of the wheel is as good as new.
- Step 6
Add a wheel sealant to an applicator pad and wipe the liquid onto the rim liberally to complete coat the face of the wheel. Let it dry, leaving a cloudy haze. This is a sign that the sealant has done its job, leaving you to wipe off the excess sealant with a clean cloth, giving you a shiny and clean wheel. Repeat the process for all your wheels.
- Step 7
What good are sparkling alloys if you don’t have the tyres to match? When your tyres look worn and faded due to weeks of dirt, water and heat, they can lose their glossy appeal. Like dirty carpets can ruin the look of the tidiest room, filthy tyres can make your shiny automobile appear ordinary. However, it’s not too much trouble to restore the rich black appearance of your car’s rubber.
Choose a tyre dressing to re-black your tyres but avoid those that contain silicone as these can turn your tyre brown and cause rubber to degrade. Try to find a dressing that is mainly water based and check with the manufacturer’s instructions that it is suitable for your wheel type.
First you need to dry down your tyre before adding some tyre dressing to an applicator pad. Alternatively you can apply the dressing directly to the tyre in a circle around the side. Several complete passes will give you the best covering, but you will need to take extra care to avoid getting dressing onto the rim.
Now you have managed to get your tyres clean and your rims looking awesome, put the pedal to the metal and drive around town. What else is there left to do, but make sure that you have somewhere to go… And with the holiday season around the corner, why not check out our blog article on taking the kids on a road trip?