Top tips for keeping your car wheels sparkling


They’re often the filthiest and hardest part of your car to clean – so how can you get those wheels gleaming again? Ted Welford has the answers.

They attract brake dust like a magnet (particularly front alloys that typically have disk brakes), get splattered with mud and caked in grime – it’s little wonder the wheels tend to be the dirtiest part of your car.

Cleaning them properly – and safely – requires attention, but it’s a job that’s often overlooked.

With this in mind, we’ve put together a handy step-by-step guide to get your wheels sparkling again. It might seem a bit time-consuming, but it will definitely be worth it in the end.


To begin with, get the wheels their own bucket. As they are often the most fiddly, time-consuming and grimy area, it’s always best to get them out of the way first. You should also ideally spray them with a pre-wash or wheel-cleaner and then leave this to soak for a couple of minutes, before pressure washing/hosing the dirt away. It really does make a big difference.


After this, clean the wheels using a soft wash mitt – specialist wheel mitts are available if you really want to go the extra mile. It’s also important to not forget the wheel barrels, so use a range of specialist brushes to help clean these awkward-to-reach areas.


You might think your wheels look perfect already, but often bits of baked on brake dust can spoil the look. To remove these specs of burnt-on iron, use what’s known as a fallout remover. You can see the reaction taking place when these particles begin to turn red, although it shows up far better on neglected wheels. After this, fully hose down the wheel to remove any residue.


Next, it’s time to sort out the tyres and wheel arches. To do this, spray on an all-purpose cleaner (APC) to the rubber and arches, before leaving for a couple of minutes. To rid them fully of grime, scrub the tyre with a purpose-made tyre brush that can also be used on the inner arch.


One you’ve fully washed and rinsed the car, dry it off and don’t forget the wheels, tyres and wheel arches. Dry tyres leave a perfect base for you to apply tyre shine to, which can make a big difference to the final finish. It’s definitely worth applying some, even if you think it might be a waste of time, as the shiny black appearance finishes off the clean car look nicely.

And there you have it, one set of very clean wheels. While following these tips can’t transform your Skoda into a Porsche, it can make it just as shiny as one. And if you’re thinking about selling your motor, taking the extra care and attention to get the wheels looking as clean as the rest of the car could help you barter for a better deal.

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