Wheels can be a hassle. This article seeks to teach you some of the tools and techniques that we use as detailers to get a great finished product. If you like your wheels looking good, you are going to appreciate the information provided in this article. Let's get to it! Rule #1 Clean Them Often
We typically get an eye roll on this rule. "I don't have time to clean my wheels once a week." We understand that. But is also saves you an incredible amount of time. The more often you clean your wheels, the easier they are to clean. Contaminants bake into the surface of your wheels due to heat. The longer these contaminants sit, the harder they become to remove. If you follow this rule along with our other processes and tools, you'll be cleaning your wheels in under 5 minutes!
Rule #2 Use the Right Tools
Why does the right tool matter? When you use the right tool for the right job, it can make the job easy and enjoyable. There are actually many tools out there than can damage your wheels. Here are the best tools that we have found that help make cleaning the wheels less time consuming:
- Micro Mitt
- You want a dedicated mitt for your wheels. NOT the same one you use on the painted surfaces of your vehicle. More often than not, this will end in damaged paint. Your dedicated mitt will handle a bulk of the wheel facing and even the wheel barrel if the spokes are wide enough.
- Wheel Woolies
- These are absolutely life-changing. They are easy to find on Amazon (link here: https://www.amazon.com/Liquid-Original-Wheel-Woolies-Brushes/dp/B0779HTLD7/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?dchild=1&keywords=WHEEL+WOOLIES&qid=1612574070&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEyWTVMV1NLTFNQV0ZSJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMDQyNDYzMUY1NjlHWFgySFE3OCZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwMTA3ODI4MkxYM0pJMTQzRE5HNyZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU= ) These come in several different sizes to help you get in all the nooks and crannies of your wheels. It's important to get the bendable woolies so you can get behind the wheel spokes. This tool is a MUST if you like having clean barrels.
- Detail Brushes
-In general, detail brushes are a GREAT tool to have in your arsenal. However, you want to make sure you have a dedicated set for your wheels. This helps when it comes to the lug nut holes and overall wheel facing if it is overly dirty.
- Tire Brush
- What good is having a clean wheel if your tires still look dull? Having a quality tire brush helps you get the showroom result you are looking for.
Rule #3 Process
Why does the process matter so much? You could have the best tools and products on the market, but without a process you won't get your desired outcome. You must have a solid process if you ever expect to efficiently clean your wheels. Follow these simple steps to complete each wheel. Practice this process and before you know it, you will be cleaning each wheel in under 5 minutes. Try to do this entire process out of direct sunlight to avoid water-spotting.
1) Pre-Rinse the Wheel
This is a common practice before cleaning anything on the exterior of your vehicle. Pre-rinse the surface of the wheel to knock off all the larger contaminants.
2) Dwell Time Matters
Read the directions on your wheel cleaning product to make sure you know how long it should dwell on the surface. Spray your product on the surface and allow it to dwell for around 3 minutes. This gives the product time to break down any contaminants and free them from the surface of the wheel. This makes the wheel easier to clean.
3) Agitate Every Area
We like to start on the center and work our way out during the process. First, we start with the wheel barrel, then the center and lugs, working around the spokes, then scrub the tire. This systematic process creates muscle memory and makes the tasks very easy to complete.
Pro tip: Keep all of your wheel cleaning tools in a bucket right beside you so you don't have to keep reaching for products.
4) Rinse & Protect
The rinse is arguably the most important step in the process, because we can't leave those heavy cleaners on the surface. These products can actually cause damage over time. A thorough rinse followed by a wheel protector is a perfect finish. We will discuss protection more in the next section.
Rule #4 Protect the Wheels
What does protecting my wheels do for me? Protecting your wheel is what makes it easier to clean the next go-around. Wheel protection isn't all about looks - it's all about ease of maintenance. This protection provides a barrier between the debris and the surface of the wheel. This blocks the contaminants from deeply embedding and makes the wheels so much easier to clean.
Check out this video to see how we can help protect your wheels:
Rule #5 Protect the Tires
Why is protecting the tire important? For the same reason you protect your wheels, you want to protect your tire. There are many products out there to protect your tires - some have a high-shine finish and some have a matte finish. Pick whichever protectant you like the most. This will make your tire easier to clean the next time you go to clean your tires!