Ideas for Cleaning Car Rims

car tire with rim

If you're concerned about the appearance of your vehicle, these ideas for cleaning car rims can help you keep your car looking good as new.

What Are Rims?

The rim is the part of the car wheel that you see when looking at the vehicle. It adds a decorative touch to the appearance of your car and provides support for the tire. Rims are available in a variety of styles, and they are a popular way to give your car a custom look. They vary in price, but it's common to spend $200 or more for a set of rims.

Three Ideas for Cleaning Car Rims

Because they represent a significant investment and greatly enhance the appearance of your vehicle, it's important to take care of your car rims. One of the most important things you can do is to keep the rims free from grease, mud, and road salt. While you can often take care of these issues at the car wash, many car enthusiasts spend a little extra time on the wheels to make sure they get the dirt out of all the crevices.

Use a Toothbrush

It might seem like a painstaking level of detail, but if you really want to clean your car rims, a toothbrush can be a big help. That's because a soft toothbrush is gentle enough to avoid scratching the rims, but it's also maneuverable enough to get into all the little crevices in the decorative work. To clean your rims with a toothbrush, first wash the car and the rims with soap and water. Use a soft sponge to get most of the grime off of the rims, and then break out the toothbrush. Use a toothbrush that is brand new and made to be gentle; look for a model labeled "soft" or "extra soft." Dip the toothbrush in a soapy water solution and angle it to get the grease and dirt off of your wheels. When you're done, rinse the wheels with clean water.

Try a Spray Cleaner Made for Rims

Many auto parts stores and accessory shops sell spray cleaners that are made especially to clean car rims. Before using one of these cleaners, make sure it is safe for the materials used in your wheels. Follow the instructions on the bottle, which usually tell you to spray the cleaner on the rims, allow it to soak in for a minute or two, and then spray it off with pressurized water. It's a good idea to use a lint-free towel to dry off the rims when you're done.

Remove Rust with Acid Cleaner

If your rims are rusty, you don't necessarily need to go out and buy new ones. You may be able to use a concentrated cleaner to remove the oxidation. Look for a cleaner with a high acid content, which you can find at an auto parts store. Clean the rims thoroughly with soap and water, and dry them with a soft towel. Spray the cleaner on the rust, and use a stiff brush to scrub off the rusty areas. Use caution when removing rust from your rims, since this process may scratch the surface. It's always a good idea to test an unobtrusive area first to make sure you like the results.

Helpful Cleaning Tips

These tips can help you as you clean your wheels:

  • Always clean rims after you've cleaned the rest of your vehicle. Otherwise, the dirt from your car's exterior will wash down onto the clean rims.
  • Some rim cleaners can damage your tires, so be sure to read the instructions before you apply a product. If you have any concerns, simply keep the rim cleaning product off the rubber.
  • Don't use the same brush to clean your tires and your rims. Tire brushes have stiff bristles, which can scratch the rims.
  • Consider investing in a special wheel wax for your rims. You can apply this product just like car wax, and it provides a barrier between your rims and the dirt of the road.

More Car Care Tips

If you enjoyed these ideas for cleaning car rims, you'll also like these other car care articles from LoveToKnow Cars:

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Ideas for Cleaning Car Rims