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How to Polish Aluminum Wheels

Nicks J
Polishing aluminum wheels can be cumbersome if you don't know the best method to go about it. Read on to know how to eliminate grime and polish aluminum surfaces.
Aluminum polish can transform a used aluminum wheel into a brand new piece. To polish aluminum wheels, you won't need professional help as it is not a difficult job, but can be a bit time-consuming, depending upon the amount of dirt accumulated.
Polished aluminum looks great and leaves the metal with a unique shine. Polishing your car wheels at regular intervals is essential to prevent it from staining and oxidation.

Aluminum Polish

In case you are using a liquid polish or paste, ensure that it does not contain strong acids, anhydrous chemicals or ammonia as they can damage your wheels. These chemicals can tarnish the metal, which often leads to premature aging of metals.
Such polishes fade away easily and do not protect against oxidation. In other words, an acid-based polish has to be strictly avoided if one is serious about maintaining longevity of aluminum wheels.

Polishing Aluminum Wheels

Firstly, remove the wheels from your car. This is essential so that you can access and polish each and every part of the wheel. After that, you have to remove components like valve stem covers and center caps from the wheels, to achieve a cleaner finished product.
Before you start polishing, wash them thoroughly with water. You can take the help of a hose for removing dirt from the wheels. Many use regular car soap to clean the wheels as it does not leave any scratches.
Once it is done, spray 'Easy-Off' oven cleaner on the wheels. Do not immediately rinse your wheels with water. Let the cleaner sprayed remain for about 20 minutes. This will help get rid of the tough stains. Now, take a Teflon-safe dish scrubber and scrub the wheels properly and then rinse.
If there is still some dirt left on the wheels, apply a second coat of 'Easy-Off'. For stubborn areas where grease and tar get collected, you can use grease remover and wax. Take a soft rag, apply wax and then rub the cloth vigorously on the wheel. Now wash the wheel to clean the stubborn areas.


Once the wheels become dry, use a 400 grit sandpaper to sand your wheels. Sanding should be used only if indentations are prominent on the metal. Sanding is commonly used to eliminate pitting in wheels, and this method will consume a considerable amount of time.
In case the indentations cover large portions of the wheel, you will have to use a drill that comes with a rounded sanding bit. After completion of the sanding process, rinse your wheels again with water. Immediately dry them using a clean rag.
'Aluminum Bright', a product made up of detergents and cleaners is also useful to remove stains from aluminum surfaces.
Just wet the surface and then spray 'Aluminum Bright' on the wheels. After a few minutes, wash the surface thoroughly. Now, apply a car polish to your wheels. Applying 2 coats of polish is advised as it increases the durability of the wheels and also leaves a long-lasting shine.
Avoid touching the wheels while polishing as it can leave marks that may be difficult to remove. You are advised to use a latex glove while applying the polish to avoid skin contact. Mothers Mag and Aluminum Polish is one of the top aluminum polish brands recommended for this purpose.
A polishing tool called 'Mothers PowerBall', is often used to polish the wheels. The small openings and the deep recesses in the wheels can be easily polished using this tool.
The tool comes with a 10 inch extension rod that allows you to polish every nook and corner of the wheel. Just attach the foam ball to your electric drill for faster polishing. This method of polishing aluminum wheels completely removes the oxidation within a short time.