A vehicle’s tires are constantly in contact with dirty, oily road surfaces. Wheels, meanwhile, are getting spattered with this combination, and are collecting brake dust as well. Yet, when it comes to cleaning a vehicle, wheels and tires rarely receive the same level of care and attention that most people give the bodies of their cars.
Over time, dirt, oil, and brake dust can take a toll on your vehicle’s wheels and tires. Tires become drab and cracked, and wheels get grimy and scratched. You could take your car to a car wash regularly to have the wheels and tires professionally cleaned, but to save time and money (and make sure the job gets done right), you easily can do it yourself in your own driveway and get the best tire shine.
Best Practices and Helpful Tools
Any time you wash your car, wash your wheels and tires first to prevent spraying dirt from them right back onto your doors and fenders. Gather some cleaning tools first, such as a tire brush, a Wash Mitt, and The Absorber for drying. These should be dedicated for cleaning tires; use another set for cleaning the car’s painted surfaces.
If you are cleaning aluminum wheels, a Buffing Ball will help you polish them. When you select a wheel and tire cleaner, you should know that some tire cleaners are specially formulated to clean and rejuvenate rubber. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions if you use a cleaner made specifically for tires. Use two buckets at all times; one with your cleaning solution and water, and the other with water just for rinsing your tools before dipping them back into the solution.
You can use a Wash Mitt to give your tires a preliminary cleaning. After spraying the tires and letting the cleaner break down the buildup for a few minutes, use a stiffer brush to scrub the tires — being careful not to scratch the wheel surfaces as you do so.
Moving on to the wheels, be sure to choose an appropriate cleaner for the type of wheels on your car, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. After leaving the cleaner on for a few minutes, scrub away accumulated dirt and brake dust with a soft, feathered brush to prevent scratching. It’s important to remove accumulated brake dust because it includes tiny metal filings from the brake pads that can corrode and damage the surface of your wheels over time.
Once you’ve scrubbed the tire and the wheel, rinse the entire wheel with a strong jet from your hose. Clean only one wheel/tire set at a time. If the cleaner dries, all you’ve done is apply a thin coating that won’t simply rinse away. Use The Absorber specifically for drying your wheels and tires to prevent water spots. Its unique PVA material and sponge-like pore structure combine to ensure superior drying.
The Finishing Touches
Chrome and aluminum wheels can reflect an extra shine when polished with a Buffing Ball. Specifically designed for polishing chrome, aluminum, and painted surfaces, Buffing Balls’ Italian viscose fibers are safe at speeds up to 2,500 rpm, and they won’t tear the way foam buffers can. Applying wax to your wheels will make it easier to clean them the next time, and also help prevent dirt and brake dust from accumulating.
Knowing how to clean tires, using a little elbow grease, and having the right tools will enable you to give your wheels and tires a professional-grade look and protect them from road elements for a long time.