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How to Polish Aluminum Wheels

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How to Polish Aluminum Wheels

Like our shoes that we trample on all day long as we go about our daily business, wheels also take a lot of pressure and stress from ferrying us around in all sorts of weather, environment and driving conditions. They are one of the most exposed parts of your vehicle and are naturally, the one of the dirtiest sections as well.

Corrosive elements like brake dust, salt, gravel, metal, intense heat and friction all add to the wear and tear of your wheels. Yet, if you clean and polish them every three months or so, it not only gives the whole vehicle a refreshed and pristine look, it adds mileage to its durability and performance.

Preparations to How to Polish Aluminum Wheels

Aluminum wheels come in two forms – coated or uncoated. They are oftentimes coated to prevent the aluminum from oxidizing, to which it is prone.

If you are not sure which type your wheels are, test it by using a bit of polish on a small test section of the wheel. When wiping it off with a clean rag, if black stains appear, it is uncoated or clear. For that, you can use a stronger cleaner and polisher. Otherwise, you will have to use the products that are recommended for its specific type of coated finish.

Before you get started you need to make sure the work area is set up for a good cleaning. Listed below is a perfect setup: make sure you have a clear workspace, that the wheels are properly cooled down before you start, protective hand gloves and eyewear ready, the right type of cleaner and polish, a tire brush to help you remove any oxidation, garden hose and water, terry cloths, paper towels, a buffing wheel to polish the aluminum into a bright, clean and shiny finish.

Challenges in Learning How to Polish Aluminum Wheels

In cases where the oxidation is really bad, you should consider using an aluminum pre-cleaner to help remove oxidation prior to polishing it. One more thing, be prepared to use some elbow grease to reach the tight areas your brush and buffer cannot reach.

The 3-stage process in how to polish aluminum wheels is clean, rinse and finish off with a polish. The cleaning involves removing the build-up of dust, dirt, grime and the most stubborn of all, corrosion. The longer it has been neglected, the more there is to “un-do”. After spraying the cleaner on the wheel, let it soak in for a few minutes before using a utility or tire brush to loosen up and remove the muck. Work swiftly and never leave the cleaner to dry out on the surface before brushing it.

After you are done with the brush down, give it a few good rinses with your garden hose. By the time you are done, your aluminum wheel should look smooth and much cleaner to the touch. You will need to dry it thoroughly as oppose to letting the cleaner dry on its own causing it to leave marks.

The final stage in how to polish aluminum wheels will be the polishing. Apply the polish onto the clean surface by using a buffing wheel at moderate speed to make an even coat onto the wheel. Having new polished wheels will incrementally increase the car’s speed up to two-three thousand rpm’s and go over the entire wheel until the polish starts to disappear, leaving a lustrous sheen instead.

Alternatively, if you do not have the time to mess around with what to get, what to do and how to how polish aluminum wheels, you may want to consider getting professional help with polishing your aluminum tires. As experts in the field, we handle a plethora of tire types using state of the art commercial equipment and sustainable techniques that your average car owner will probably not have access to. We are in the know as to what is best suited to preserve and extend the useful life of your tire.


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