Wheels and Tires

How Should I Clean The Wheels?

[GM] I use Simple Green diluted 1:1 with water. If you wax your wheels (I use a one step cleaner-wax) they will shed brake dust etc. much easier. Find a brush that fits between the spokes to clean the inner rim too.

 What About Removing Brake Dust?

[DG] Simple Green works very well. Wet the wheels first, spray on undiluted Simple Green (from a spray bottle), let sit for a few minutes, then brush with a soft synthetic paint brush to loosen the crud. Rinse with a hose, then finish the job with a regular sponge and car wash soap.

 What Is Recommended For Polishing Wheels?

[LL] I recently tested a dozen or so aluminum polishes and since I recieved queries about this when I posted about polishing wheels a while back, I’m posting a brief result.

I was looking for the best polish to return a very littly oxidized part back to it’s previous *perfectly* machined *highly* polished finish. If you need to polish dull aluminum, pick from the second group below. For test mediums, I used my 95 wheels, a sheet of highly polished 5052 alum, and for grins double checked those better examples on a kirby sweeper. Didn’t do longevity tests, just shine.

The first four are virtually identical in terms of shine, they do however vary in their ease of application and removal. They are all excellent IMO. If you polish a lot, I suggest you try all four.

   PPC "EASY" aluminum polish by PROTECTIVE PRODUCTS CORP-I only  put this first because it is by far the easiest to use of the four best. It is a very thin  chemical that removes mainly by chemistry instead of abrasive. It's cheap, goes a long way  and is relatively easy to remove. It states it has acrylic polymers for protection. You  won't find it at any outlets, you'll have to call 1-800-666-0772 (Johnston, IA) and have  it mailed to you. They offer other detailing products. I haven't tried any of them, but I  just might now.

BLUE MAJIC metal polishing creme by BLUE MAJIC INC, Cleveland, Oh.-This is a fairly thin cream that has a very large following. It is easy to remove for a cream and states a silicone protective film. The truckers love this one.It is an excellent hand product, but works especially well when used on small buffing wheels like those conical types available from Eastway and others. I got mine from TRUCKERS CHOICE DETAIL PRODUCTS, Thorton, Calif. 1-800-443-5347, don’t have the Cleveland no.

X-TREEM metal polish by Hulcher Enterprises, Denton TX.-This is a wadding type product that you tear off in small pieces. Works well, quite thin mostly chemical action, probably second easiest to remove. No phone no’s. I’ve never been crazy about the wadding concept because it messes up the hands, but it does work well and actually affords a little better control of application compared to the others. It’s available at Super Shops.

FLITZ (liquid) metal polish by Flitz int.ltd.-Milky like consistancy, cheap, easy to find, fairly easy to remove. I think it has some protectants. Can be found at many hardware stores.

I’m not going to go into detail on the rest, I’m just going to list them and state that they either don’t work *as* well, were too abrasive, or were difficult to work with:

  • CAM metal polish by the WAX SHOP-excellent choice if you let the aluminum go a little too long
  • NEVER DULL majic wadding polish
  • Flitz Paste (very good product but hard to remove)
  • Wenol Paste(ditto)
  • 3M Mag & Aluminum polish
  • SILOO mag wheel polish
  • Rutland brass & copper polish
  • International Silver Polish
  • Eagles (forget the name-gave it away)
  • Mothers (forget the name-gave it away)


    [HPA] Eastwood makes two wheel refinishing kits. The Wheel Smoothing kit smoothes rough or machine cut wheels to a satin or paint ready finish.  The Wheel Polishing kit restores the shine to satin finish and polished wheels. Both kits are $39.99 and will restore four or more wheels.

     What About Tires?

    [GM] Put tire "dressing" products onto a cloth, or better yet, a 2" paint brush. Apply the dressing using the applicators. Allow to sit then buff with a clean cloth.

    Reserve the 2" brush for this job only. Get some small (.5") foam triangular brushes and use these for applying rubber dressing to small trim pieces – antenna gasket, trunk and window trim etc. These work well and prevent the product from getting all over the car.

    My fave for tires is Black Again. It makes rubber look naturally new, NOT WET. For a deeper, wet-look shine I like 3M’s rubber dressing. I use this on my inner fender wells, resulting in a dark gray natural tire and a blacker, wetter look to the inner fender. I like the contrast and the fender being blacker than the tire.

    Car Care