How to Clean Your Alloy Wheels

If you drive your car for any length of time then sooner or later your alloy wheels will collect grime. The front wheels will be worse because of the brake dust. That is, as you brake, most of the work is being done by your front brakes, as obviously the weight transfers to the front of the car as you brake.

With normal carwash it does not come off very easily, and is very greasy in nature. Even if you go to one of those DIY carwashes and use the foaming brush even then it doesn’t come off very well.

So use oven cleaner. Spray oven cleaner onto it, leave it for a couple of minutes, and it will just wipe straight off. At the DIY carwash, it will just blast off with the high pressure water cleaner

14150cookie-checkHow to Clean Your Alloy Wheels

5 thoughts on “How to Clean Your Alloy Wheels

  1. Hi Dr, just a word of caution, I used BAM oven cleaner on my alloys and it seems to have removed some kind of coating resulting in dull patches that are no longer shiny. Perhaps my rims were not real alloy? Regards

  2. Your chemistry is quite correct but oven cleaner won’t dull the alloy. It’s mechanism of action is desorption and is remarkably effective for general road grime, brake dust and even diesel soot. And for polishing you can’t go past Brasso. Those acidic products you suggest aren’t required – they’re a classic case of products whose formulas are unnecessarily complex. Alloy is quite soft and Brasso has just the right coarseness of grit to do a very good job of lifting off the dulled surface and exposing the pristine alloy beneath. And it’s easier to rub off too – I’ve tried those acidic pastes and it can be very hard to get it all off

  3. One of the problems with using oven cleaner is that it has the tendency to “dull” the alloy and it’s not highly effective against certain types of dirt (particularly those that have bonded to the alloy through corrosive attachment). Most commercial alloy cleaners are either acidic (usually with a small amount of hydrofluoric acid [<1%] in the mix to cut through the aluminium oxide on the alloy) or based on ammoniated thioglycollic acid to complex any iron (the major contaminant in brake dust) combined with a commercial waterborne solvent – usually butoxyethanol, Acid cleaners usually have a "brightening" agent in the mix to ensure the alloy doesn't dull, thioglycollic cleaners rely on complexation which is more selective and less aggressive to the rest of the alloy.

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