What should I use to clean my wheels?
In order to keep your wheels looking new you will have to so some regular maintenance on them. Depending on the type of wheel you have will depend on the proper care you will need to do.
In general, regular cleaning with mild soap and water will do the trick. However, if you have chrome plated wheels, you will have to take it a step further. Chrome is easily corroded and pitted from weather and road grime. There are products on the market at your local auto parts store or online that are made especially for chrome wheels. Just be sure to read and follow the directions carefully. When storing chrome wheels for the winter, you may want to coat them with a thin layer of light oil.
If your wheels are aluminum, a regular thorough cleaning with mild soap and water should be sufficient. If your aluminum wheels are not clear coated, you may want to use a polish on them that you can purchase at your local auto parts store or online. If your aluminum wheels are clear coated, be sure the clear coating does not get damaged. Always use a polish designed for clear coated wheels. Clear coated wheels should be cleaned with a water-based wheel cleaner. Acidic wheel cleaners or spray-on, rinse-off wheel cleaners can damage clear coat. They are often just too aggressive for a coated surface.
How can you tell if you wheels have a clear coat? Apply a little polish in an inconspicuous spot. As you rub, if no black residue appears, there is a coating over the aluminum. Aluminum oxide comes off as a black residue if you’re working on uncoated aluminum.