How to take care of your aftermarket wheels

A guide for care and maintenance of aftermarket rims.

So you purchased some wheels and want to learn how to get the most out them. Well, you’ve come to the right place.

Like paint on a vehicle, all wheel finishes require regular care and periodic maintenance depending on the specific finish to keep it looking like new. Wheels are in fact exposed to harsher conditions than most other finished surfaces of the vehicle due to additional heat and residual debris from the vehicles braking systems. As a generalization, all finishes should be washed regularly with a mild soap (ideally the same soap used to wash a vehicle’s painted surface) and water. All harsh & acidic cleaners should be avoided unless specifically directed to use by the wheel manufacturer as they may damage the wheel finish. Read the directions carefully on any commercially available product before use to determine what type of wheel / wheel finish it is intended for. NEVER clean wheels when they are hot! (recently driven on)

After washing, all painted, clear coated or PVD finished wheels should be treated for protection and lasting beauty with a traditional vehicle wax that indicates the product is “safe for clear coats” This will also keep the wheel looking cleaner longer by helping reduce brake dust and road dirt build up and make them easier to clean next time.

Chrome plated wheels require a great deal of care to insure the long lasting beauty of the original chrome plating. Chrome plating is particularly susceptible to damage from harsh chemicals, brake dust, salt air/water and winter snow & ice removal treatments. These elements will cause pitting and discoloration if exposure is prolonged without cleaning. Special Chrome polish or wax should be used to protect the surface of the wheel including the backside of the wheel where the finish damage usually occurs first.

(Note – in winter climate where roads are treated chemically for snow / ice removal it is strongly recommended to remove & store chrome during the winter period to avoid potential damage. There are several affordable winter wheel options to use during this time period)

Polished wheels that are not clear coated will require re-polishing to maintain or restore the original luster and shine of the wheel due to the natural oxidation process of the exposed aluminum. There are also special “Sealer polishes: to help protect the aluminum longer between polishing.

If you are not sure of the type of finish on your wheels, or are at all uncertain of the breast care and maintenance technique to use, contact the manufacturer or the store where the wheels were purchased to avoid damage to the wheels finish.

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