How to Polish Wheels

If you want your car to look great, you probably put a lot of care in learning how to polish wheels, windows, and every other part of your vehicle. Some people put hours into their cars, but you don’t have to in order to make your rims look great. 

How to Polish Wheels

How to Polish Aluminum Wheels

What you will need:

  • Hose
  • Soap (for vehicle use)
  • Heavy-duty scouring pads
  • Terrycloth rags
  • Oven Cleaner spray (optional)
  • Aluminum polish/rim polish
  • Toothbrush (optional)
  1. You’re going to have to take the whole wheel off of your car. This will only take a few minutes. Some people will try to polish their aluminum wheels without taking the wheel off, but in all honesty, it makes it a lot more difficult to do so. So jack your car up and dismantle all of the wheels before you even get started. You’ll save a lot of time and energy if you take the tires off first.
  2. Next, take the hose and rinse off the wheel, and then start to clean the wheel up. Use the vehicle soap and the scouring pads and scrub at the rim. If you don’t do this part, it will make polishing the wheels much more difficult because you will be dealing with the bits of dirt and grime that are stuck on your wheel while trying to polish it.
  3. Rinse and dry the wheel well. 
  4. This step is optional, but many people who regularly polish their wheels will recommend this step. Take the oven cleaner spray and apply it to the wheels. Why oven cleaner spray? Well, think about how it works in your oven. It eats away at grease and food that is stuck in your oven. So why wouldn’t it work on muck and grime on your wheels?
  5. Rinse and dry the wheel again.
  6. Now, the polishing part. Take your aluminum polish and gently apply it all over the wheel by rubbing it. The strokes need to go in even circular motions in the same direction. If there are small parts of your tire that you can’t reach, use a toothbrush, wrap it in cloth, and polish those areas gently. 

Other Wheel Care and Maintenance Tips

If you are taking care of your custom wheels, there are a variety of other things that you should know when taking care of your wheels. It will make it easier to polish them if you follow some of these care tips on a regular basis as well.

  • Wipe down your wheels regularly. Some people even suggest wiping them down every day that you drive, because various materials and residue can get built up over time. Even if you don’t polish them all of the time, a quick rub down with a cloth every week or so is a great way to keep your rims looking great.
  • Make sure to keep an eye out for brake dust as well; this can really wear down your wheels if you don’t rub it off regularly.
  • Don’t go to automatic car washes unless you absolutely cannot wash your car on your own or if it’s in desperate need for a quick wash. The high alkaline in these washes can actually hurt the finish on your wheels and on other parts of your car.
  • Wait until your wheels are cool to wash and polish them. Hot wheels can dry the soap that you’re using before you can rinse it off, which will leave soap scum and streaks on your wheels.
  • Don’t use steam cleaners for your wheels either. The steam can eat away at the finish and make it look messy and streaked, which no one wants.