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How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels #4544237
10/15/17 04:58 PM
10/15/17 04:58 PM
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 1,842
Tinton Falls NJ
gofast182 Offline OP
gofast182  Offline OP

Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 1,842
Tinton Falls NJ
This came up because I found out a coworker was using the same wash mitt he uses for his wheels to wash the finish on the car. Big no-no when we consider what brake dust is composed of and all of the water, sand, dirt, gravel, and other abrasive things the tire and wheel see that don't necessarily make it on to the finish. I took a couple photos to help him out and then I figured, what the heck, I'll make a thread here. This won't be a revelation for many of the regular viewers but hopefully it will help some folks.

Preface: this is to clean a mild to moderately dirty wheel. If there were severe brake dust, etc. we'd break out the Sonax Full Effect and do a couple things differently (maybe even remove the wheel if it was super bad).

Here's everything you will see me use: A bucket of wash water (Meguiar's D111 and a grit guard), various brushes (Scrub brush from Lowes**, Speedmaster wheel brush, Autozone mitt**, Clean Wheel Lug Nut Brush), The Absorber chamois, Adam's Tire shine & foam applicator. Also note that other than the obvious things, the mitt and chamois I use for this are only used on wheels, door jambs, or the engine bay. The goal is to keep things used on parts of the car that typically have more concentrated or abrasive dirt from being used on the finish.
**No need to get fancy for these items to use on the wheels



1. Scrub the tire and wheel face with the scrub brush to loosen any big dirt. This will also cover a lot of surface area with minimal effort.



2. Clean the barrel with the wheel brush making sure to agitate both back and forth and side to side (note the dirty suds dripping out).



3. Clean the sides of the spokes and any concave areas with the [dedicated] wash mitt.



4. Clean the inner fender liner (this can contribute to the perception of a very clean car). I also like to do the rotor hat for the same reason.



5. Use the lug nut brush to clean around the lugs, the valve stem, and any severely concave areas (I learned this after seeing little spots I missed in inside corners at the base of the spokes the next day).




6. Rinse the inner fender and wheel with a moderately hard stream of water. I also like to stick the nozzle in above/behind the rotor to rinse the suspension components and dust shield as they accumulate dirt that can drip onto the wheel making the next cleaning harder.



(This is where I wash the car, including blowing off excess water with the leaf blower; the following steps come after that's done)


7. Lately I've been giving the wheel a quick shot of Meguiar's D156 detail spray, just because. From there I immediately dry any extra water on the surface with my [dedicated] chamois.



8. Apply tire shine. I strongly prefer using an applicator to control the application and avoid mess/excess. After the shine is applied I take a dirty microfiber and go around the rim/lip of the wheel in case the applicator deposited some dirty product on the wheel edge.



9. Admire your work!



I know others have their own techniques so keep doing whatever works best for you, but that's how I do it in case it helps anyone. At a minimum, keep a dedicated wheel mitt around!

Last edited by gofast182; 10/15/17 05:02 PM.

2006 S2000 - Berlina Black - PU 10w30, PCX-004
2017 340i xDrive - Black Sapphire - Dlr Fill, 114...898
2019 X5 xDrive 40i - Mineral White - Dlr Fill, 114...898
Re: How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels [Re: gofast182] #4544254
10/15/17 05:16 PM
10/15/17 05:16 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3,462
Where the wind comes sweepin'
Reddy45 Online shocked
Reddy45  Online Shocked

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3,462
Where the wind comes sweepin'
Looks good! I recently used the Autogeek Friday 13th sale to pick up those $40 wheel brushes. I really need some proper brushes that can get between the barrel and the brake assembly.

Re: How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels [Re: gofast182] #4544260
10/15/17 05:20 PM
10/15/17 05:20 PM
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 1,842
Tinton Falls NJ
gofast182 Offline OP
gofast182  Offline OP

Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 1,842
Tinton Falls NJ
Thanks! If I had to I could leave out the tire shine and make do without the lug nut brush but, after having one, the Speedmaster wheel brush is something I'd never be without. Enjoy your new brushes and note they can be used for door jambs and they work great in the engine bay, too.


2006 S2000 - Berlina Black - PU 10w30, PCX-004
2017 340i xDrive - Black Sapphire - Dlr Fill, 114...898
2019 X5 xDrive 40i - Mineral White - Dlr Fill, 114...898
Re: How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels [Re: gofast182] #4544263
10/15/17 05:22 PM
10/15/17 05:22 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 7,485
S California
OneEyeJack Offline
OneEyeJack  Offline

Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 7,485
S California
You're going to have to show me on my 03 4Runner if I'm going to believe your system works.

Nice job.

Re: How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels [Re: gofast182] #4544279
10/15/17 05:36 PM
10/15/17 05:36 PM
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,218
British Columbia, Canada
ecotourist Offline
ecotourist  Offline

Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,218
British Columbia, Canada
I very much approve of cleaning the inside of the rear fenders. I've noticed that many vehicles (half ton trucks especially) rust out there. Preventable in my opinion. But maybe not if you only roll through a car wash or strictly use only a wand wash.

I wash that area at the same time as I'm hosing off the underside, hosing out the under-body clean outs, etc. It's amazing what c**p comes out of there. I use a pail, brushes and cloths whenever possible.


2000 BMW 528i 5MT
2007 Honda Accord EX-L 4Door V6 6MT
Re: How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels [Re: OneEyeJack] #4544301
10/15/17 06:05 PM
10/15/17 06:05 PM
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 1,842
Tinton Falls NJ
gofast182 Offline OP
gofast182  Offline OP

Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 1,842
Tinton Falls NJ
Originally Posted By: OneEyeJack
You're going to have to show me on my 03 4Runner if I'm going to believe your system works.

Nice job.

Uh-oh...I know how some people use their 4Runners. Are you setting me up for wheel removal? grin


2006 S2000 - Berlina Black - PU 10w30, PCX-004
2017 340i xDrive - Black Sapphire - Dlr Fill, 114...898
2019 X5 xDrive 40i - Mineral White - Dlr Fill, 114...898
Re: How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels [Re: gofast182] #4544319
10/15/17 06:26 PM
10/15/17 06:26 PM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 13,296
Canyon County Idaho
CT8 Online content
CT8  Online Content

Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 13,296
Canyon County Idaho
I go to the car wash.


2015 Ford F150 2.7
2018 Ford F350 6.2
Re: How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels [Re: CT8] #4544413
10/15/17 08:42 PM
10/15/17 08:42 PM
Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3,462
Where the wind comes sweepin'
Reddy45 Online shocked
Reddy45  Online Shocked

Joined: Aug 2008
Posts: 3,462
Where the wind comes sweepin'
Originally Posted By: CT8
I go to the car wash.


Unless there is a guy at the car wash who does the same thing as the OP, your wheels really aren't clean.

Re: How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels [Re: gofast182] #4544421
10/15/17 08:49 PM
10/15/17 08:49 PM
Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 1,260
CA
CharlieBauer Offline
CharlieBauer  Offline

Joined: Mar 2016
Posts: 1,260
CA
After all that great work, you want to apply a long lasting sealant. Ideally after claying.

To clean wheels, I use a pressure washer followed up by a dedicated wash mitt. Very little effort required on waxed / sealed wheels.

I could spend a little more time and effort on the lug nut area but maybe I'll do that area properly next time I take the tires off.

After washing, I also pressure wash the wash mitts.


It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that ain't so.

- mistakenly attributed to Mark Twain
Re: How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels [Re: gofast182] #4544462
10/15/17 09:31 PM
10/15/17 09:31 PM
Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 42,625
New Jersey
JHZR2 Offline
Global Moderator
JHZR2  Offline
Global Moderator

Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 42,625
New Jersey
Looks good. Agree 100% on dedicated stuff. I'm very careful to have dedicated mitts for upper half and lower half of the car, and generally just use a tire brush plus wheel woolies for the wheels. Works great.

Recently Ive been using meguiars waterless wash and wax spray over wet wheels to lift dirt and leave some protection. Works well so far!

Re: How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels [Re: gofast182] #4544511
10/15/17 10:37 PM
10/15/17 10:37 PM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 583
Al
cashmoney Offline
cashmoney  Offline

Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 583
Al
Looks great! Glad to see there are folks out there that like to do a job right. Very nice work.

Re: How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels [Re: gofast182] #4544589
10/16/17 02:31 AM
10/16/17 02:31 AM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 590
Under the hood
Carmudgeon Offline
Carmudgeon  Offline

Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 590
Under the hood
8a) Index the center cap so that the Roundel is properly aligned with the M badge.

wink

Re: How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels [Re: CharlieBauer] #4544638
10/16/17 05:34 AM
10/16/17 05:34 AM
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 1,842
Tinton Falls NJ
gofast182 Offline OP
gofast182  Offline OP

Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 1,842
Tinton Falls NJ
Originally Posted By: CharlieBauer
After all that great work, you want to apply a long lasting sealant. Ideally after claying.

...

After washing, I also pressure wash the wash mitts.

I removed the wheels and applied Menzerna Power Lock right after I got the car. That's about 10 months ago, though. Maybe before the winter slop starts I'll do it again.

Good call washing the mitts after everything is done.


2006 S2000 - Berlina Black - PU 10w30, PCX-004
2017 340i xDrive - Black Sapphire - Dlr Fill, 114...898
2019 X5 xDrive 40i - Mineral White - Dlr Fill, 114...898
Re: How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels [Re: Carmudgeon] #4544643
10/16/17 05:37 AM
10/16/17 05:37 AM
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 1,842
Tinton Falls NJ
gofast182 Offline OP
gofast182  Offline OP

Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 1,842
Tinton Falls NJ
Originally Posted By: Carmudgeon
8a) Index the center cap so that the Roundel is properly aligned with the M badge.

wink

HAHA that was on my mind, believe me! I lined them up when I had the wheels off but they moved; kind of surprising because they snap in kind of firmly.


2006 S2000 - Berlina Black - PU 10w30, PCX-004
2017 340i xDrive - Black Sapphire - Dlr Fill, 114...898
2019 X5 xDrive 40i - Mineral White - Dlr Fill, 114...898
Re: How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels [Re: gofast182] #4544692
10/16/17 06:45 AM
10/16/17 06:45 AM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,212
GA.
ChrisD46 Offline
ChrisD46  Offline

Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,212
GA.
I love the brushes !!


2017 Hyundai Sonata 2.4L GDI 4 cylinder
2010 Hyundai Elantra 2.0L 4 cylinder
2007 Kia Sedona 3.8L 6 cylinder
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