Have you ever wondered if there is a “best” or “right” way to clean your chrome wheels? While everyone has their own opinion on classic car care, we know there are certain techniques that can help you care for your car in the best way possible, and keep all the parts of your car in top condition so you not only have fewer maintenance issues, but you also have lower insurance rates, and a higher resale value!
Chrome is the most popular aftermarket addition to car wheels, because of its appearance and relatively affordable cost. But chrome is a very soft metal and can be damaged easily, especially without regular maintenance and care. The most dangerous threat to chrome wheels is the dust from brake pads. This dust holds metal shavings from the rotors, as well as adhesive bits and carbon fibers that come directly off the brake pad. When you mix those ingredients with the heat from the engine, this dust can be incredibly damaging to your chrome wheels.
So how do you clean your wheels without damaging the soft metal?
- Rinse them well: Before you begin to scrub or wash with any cleaning products, rinse off any excess dirt and grime. This is best done with a strong stream of water, but don’t use such high pressure that you damage the soft metal.
- Use a non-acidic chrome cleaner: Focus on one wheel at a time so the cleaner doesn’t sit on the surface of the metal for more than a minute or two.
- Use soft cleaning products: Whatever type of brush or rag you choose to scrub your wheels with the chrome cleaner, make sure it has soft bristles or a non-scratching surface. Purchasing a separate brush to use specifically for the lug nuts is a good idea, because dirt and dust often hides behind the lug nuts and can be easily missed.
- Don’t neglect the wheel wells. Don’t use the same products or brushes for these parts, because you can be a little tougher on the wheel wells. Scrub them and rinse thoroughly so the dirt and grime doesn’t recover your chrome as soon as you are done.
- Give all parts of the wheel well and chrome wheels a final rinse, and then dry them thoroughly. Leaving hard water spots on your chrome can continue to cause damage, and rust can set in quickly when water is left standing or sitting in any of these parts.
When it comes to polishing and waxing your chrome wheels, we recommend using a microfiber pad and a chrome-specific wheel protectant. The most important thing to remember is to not wait too long between cleanings. We recommend doing a detailed chrome clean at least once per month, if not more often. Keeping your wheels in top condition can not only protect the looks of your car, but it can also help you avoid dry rot, help your car perform better, and protect it when it goes into storage.
If you have questions, our specialists would love to help you! Give us a call today at 888-901-1338 for a free, instant classic car insurance quote on any new vintage vehicle purchase, or a car that has been in your collection for years. Give your cars the best protection with Classic Auto; let us help you keep them clean and safe!