Cleaning Wheels & Tyres

Cleaning your wheels can be a hard, time consuming job, usually the one you look forward to least. The reason being is that brake dust is ultra fine and sticks to the rim surface very well. This is then baked on by the heat generated from the brakes, add some road grime, sun and removing all this is not easy.

However with the correct tools, products and techniques producing gleaming rims is fairly effortless.

Tips before starting:

Always try to work in the shade or inside and ensure the car and wheels are cool. Most people will like to clean their wheels before washing the car, so that any splashes during the process do not waste previous hard work.

What you need:

A good quality wheel cleaner, such as Duragloss, GYEON quartz, Nextzett or Autoglym. A soft microfibre mitt and a wheel brush or two, such as Vikan, Wheel Woolies or Swissvax. A hose or preferably Pressure Washer.


Always clean and rinse one wheel at a time.

Firstly rinse off your wheel, tyre and arch. A hose with spray nozzle is ok for this job, but a pressure washer makes cleaning rims it a lot easier.

Next take a safe Wheel Cleaner, especially if you are cleaning chrome or polished rims, and spray it over the entire rim and tyre.

Quality Wheel Brushes make life easy. For example the Vikan wheel and arch brush has rubber sides so it does not mark and is excellent for cleaning the face of the rim, the tyre and inside your arches. If you want perfection the long bristled brush has rubber coated wire, so again it does not scratch the wheel, and is perfect for cleaning behind the spokes and right into the rims.

So after agitating all the areas of your wheel, tyre and wheel if required, simply rinse the solution off well from different angles, ensuring all of the cleaning product is removed.

After this the wheel can be dried with a waffle weave drying towel, and the tyre can be coated with your choice of dressing to really make the wheels stand out.

Ongoing Tips & Troubleshooting:

Brake dust is a problem and sometimes hard to clean off, but to keep your wheels cleaner and stop dirt accumulating – protect them with a synthetic rim sealant. This will cut the time needed for cleaning in half, save on wheel cleaning solutions as regular car wash shampoo can be used and keep your wheels looking shinier for longer.

Most modern wheels are clear-coated in a similar way to the paint on your car, so can be protected in a similar way. One application of a high quality Rim Sealant such as Nanolex can last up to 6 months, making your cleaning your car much quicker and easier.

Sometimes people will ask what all those ‘little dots’ are that occur behind the wheels on the paintwork and arches. Generally that is call ‘sling’ and this is caused mostly from overly-glossy tyre shines that contain a large amount of silicone. The spray or gel cannot bond to the tyre and hence when you drive, slings or sprays off onto your paintwork. One of the other reasons is that your tyres are not clean, so again a dressing cannot stick properly and again slings off, so remember to wash these when you wash your wheels.

You have cleaned your wheels but they still have baked on brake dust or old deposits that seem impossible to remove. For this you will probably need a more powerful cleaner and good brush, give us a call or email and let us know the exact issue and type of wheels you have and we can recommend something specific for your needs. There are some very powerful cleaners out there and they are not all suited for every type of wheel.