Everyone knows that gleaming, shiny alloy wheels are the finishing touch to the overall beauty and appearance of their vehicle. No matter how hard you work washing and waxing your car or truck, if you neglect to clean the alloy wheels, why did you bother with the rest of the vehicle? Like it not, keeping your alloy wheels clean is an integral part of the appearance and maintenance of your vehicle.
At least once a year, probably to coincide with your annual tire rotation, you need to remove each alloy wheel and thoroughly clean both sides of it. The main reason for this is to remove the generally heavy brake dust build-up which accumulates on all alloy wheels. It is especially important to use soap and water applied with a soft cloth when cleaning the out facing portion in order to avoid scratching the clear plastic coating finish. It is also a good time to inspect the plastic-coating and make any repairs so as to avoid continued damage to the alloy wheels. A quick touch-up with clear fingernail polish will offer an emergency protection for the marred plastic coating.
Once the alloy wheels are thoroughly washed, use a glass cleaning product to bring out the luster and shine. Towel off the glass cleaner with a clean, dry soft cloth or paper towels. Make sure you clean the lug nuts as well; clean alloy wheels and dirty lug nuts do not make a good combination.
Besides the annual "spring cleaning", you need to clean your alloy wheels, with a proper wheel cleaning product, every time you wash your vehicle. If you do not know the composition of your alloy wheels (aluminum, steel, cast iron, etc), you need to find out as using the incorrect cleaning product will damage your rims. Generally speaking, alloy wheels are aluminum, but it never hurts to double check with your service department before spraying off your alloy wheels.
Besides brake dust, mud, sand, salt and gravel are the major culprits to damage your alloy alloys. If you encounter these minerals, you need to immediately (if not sooner) remove any debris on the alloy wheels or damage caused to them. The better care you take of your alloy wheels, the longer they offer years of dependability and shine.