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#4544237 - 10/15/17 04:58 PM How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels
gofast182 Offline


Registered: 04/30/13
Posts: 1692
Loc: 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!


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
2011 MDX Tech - Aspen White - Dlr Fill, PLM-A01

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#4544254 - 10/15/17 05:16 PM Re: How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels [Re: gofast182]
Reddy45 Offline


Registered: 08/15/08
Posts: 2963
Loc: USA
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.

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#4544260 - 10/15/17 05:20 PM Re: How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels [Re: gofast182]
gofast182 Offline


Registered: 04/30/13
Posts: 1692
Loc: 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
2011 MDX Tech - Aspen White - Dlr Fill, PLM-A01

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#4544263 - 10/15/17 05:22 PM Re: How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels [Re: gofast182]
OneEyeJack Offline


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 7475
Loc: 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.

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#4544279 - 10/15/17 05:36 PM Re: How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels [Re: gofast182]
ecotourist Offline


Registered: 07/09/08
Posts: 1067
Loc: 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.
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2000 BMW 528i 5MT
2007 Honda Accord EX-L 4Door V6 6MT

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#4544301 - 10/15/17 06:05 PM Re: How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels [Re: OneEyeJack]
gofast182 Offline


Registered: 04/30/13
Posts: 1692
Loc: 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
2011 MDX Tech - Aspen White - Dlr Fill, PLM-A01

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#4544319 - 10/15/17 06:26 PM Re: How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels [Re: gofast182]
CT8 Offline


Registered: 10/09/14
Posts: 10925
Loc: Idaho
I go to the car wash.
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"Don't let your preconceived notions get in the way of facts."
Geoff Metcalf

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#4544413 - 10/15/17 08:42 PM Re: How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels [Re: CT8]
Reddy45 Offline


Registered: 08/15/08
Posts: 2963
Loc: USA
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.

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#4544421 - 10/15/17 08:49 PM Re: How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels [Re: gofast182]
CharlieBauer Offline


Registered: 03/29/16
Posts: 1177
Loc: 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.
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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

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#4544462 - 10/15/17 09:31 PM Re: How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels [Re: gofast182]
JHZR2 Offline



Registered: 12/14/02
Posts: 41767
Loc: 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!

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#4544511 - 10/15/17 10:37 PM Re: How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels [Re: gofast182]
cashmoney Offline


Registered: 03/23/13
Posts: 576
Loc: Al
Looks great! Glad to see there are folks out there that like to do a job right. Very nice work.

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#4544589 - 10/16/17 02:31 AM Re: How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels [Re: gofast182]
Carmudgeon Offline


Registered: 04/26/05
Posts: 533
Loc: Under the hood
8a) Index the center cap so that the Roundel is properly aligned with the M badge.

wink

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#4544638 - 10/16/17 05:34 AM Re: How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels [Re: CharlieBauer]
gofast182 Offline


Registered: 04/30/13
Posts: 1692
Loc: 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
2011 MDX Tech - Aspen White - Dlr Fill, PLM-A01

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#4544643 - 10/16/17 05:37 AM Re: How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels [Re: Carmudgeon]
gofast182 Offline


Registered: 04/30/13
Posts: 1692
Loc: 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
2011 MDX Tech - Aspen White - Dlr Fill, PLM-A01

Top
#4544692 - 10/16/17 06:45 AM Re: How to Clean Mild-Moderately Dirty Wheels [Re: gofast182]
ChrisD46 Offline


Registered: 09/10/10
Posts: 1895
Loc: 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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