Gleaming Wheels Take Your Rig From OK to ‘Wow!’

A gleaming, sparkling set of wheels is hard to ignore. And it’s easier to achieve than you may think.

Beyond aesthetics, a pair of well-maintained wheels can also help your vehicle maintain its value. Wheels that are left to flake, chip and corrode can pose safety threats as they deteriorate.

“Keeping your wheels clean is about making sure rust and corrosion don’t set in,” said Adam Bateman, the sales and marketing director for Wizards Products, a Minnesota-based polish and wax company.

Whether chrome, ceramic or steel, your wheels can have that showroom shine with the right products and a few minutes of elbow grease. But Bateman said there’s one thing you have to remember when buying wheel polish.

“Make sure the product you use to clean your wheels doesn’t have an acidic base,” Bateman said. “A general rule to remember is if it’s safe to use on the vehicle’s paint, it’s safe to use on the wheels.”

As with any other aspect of maintenance, routine cleaning prevents the task from becoming too intense, Bateman said.

“If you stay on top of maintenance you will be better off,” he said.

Below, Bateman offers advice for getting those wheels looking like they belong in the showroom.

  • Clean wheels when they are cold. Wheels heat up when driven, so allow them to cool before washing to avoid thermal cracking or other complications.
  • Choose a cleaner that is acid-free. A general rule: If it is safe to use on vehicle paint, it is safe to use on wheels.
  • A layer of polish or traditional auto wax provides protection against dusty roads.
  • Clean the wheels every time you wash the vehicle. Routine maintenance is always the best option.