Just a few years ago, alloy wheels were a real luxury and only found on prestige vehicles. Now, however, they’ve become increasingly popular and often come as standard on new cars. Because of this surge in popularity, many people aren’t sure how to look after them, so we’ve collected some of our favourite tips to make sure you keep your alloys in perfect condition.
Back to basics
To make things easier when it comes to detailing your wheels, regularly wash your car to ensure dirt and debris don’t get a chance to stick to the metal work.
Brake dirt – an alloy wheel’s worst enemy
The dust that comes off the brakes is made of adhesive, carbon fibres and small metal shavings. This mixture is highly corrosive and although it’s impossible to stop, as it’s created every time you use the brakes, using a wheel brush and strong stream of water should help break it down enough to clean off. We like the Muc-Off Wheel & Component Brush, it’s a great all-rounder and even has a special loop for getting around wheel nuts.
Add a little shine
After rinsing off, use a specialist cleaner to make sure all residue is removed. The Bilt Hamber Auto Wheel can be used on all alloys and a little goes a long way too. Just spray on and wait until it turns dark red before wiping off with a cloth. To really make things sparkle, try using Meguir’s Finishing Metal Polish with a microfiber cloth for a shiny and streak-free finish. It will also help protect against further grime build-up.
Seal the deal
Make sure all your hard work doesn’t go to waste by using a sealant to lock in the shine and help build a protective barrier against brake dust. The Poorboy’s World Wheel Sealant can be used on all types of alloy including aluminium, coated, chrome and painted surfaces. This protection also makes the cleaning process quicker and easier which is great.
When polish just isn’t enough
If your alloys have gone head-to-head with a curb or two, it’s a good idea to get them fixed. Not only will it improve the overall appearance of your car, but it will help increase its value when you come to sell it. Full repairs at garages can cost around £70 per wheel. But there are a number of repair kits that can help with smaller scratches. The Planet Polish Alloy Repair Kit comes with everything you need to buff out and polish up abrasions and is really easy to use too.