Car Care: Wheeling in some unalloyed remedies

Keeping the mags sparkling clean is easy when you know how

Keep your wheels clean to prolong their appearance. Photo / Getty Images
Keep your wheels clean to prolong their appearance. Photo / Getty Images

Alloy or mag wheels look great on cars and give them real street appeal but, if they are not cleaned and maintained regularly, they can succumb to corrosion.

Here, in part one of a two-part wheel maintenance guide, we give you tips on the best way to clean and maintain the condition of your alloy wheels.

1. Rinse
As you drive, there is gradual build-up of dirt, grime and brake dust so rinse the alloys with a hose often.

2. Rub
The next step is to soak a sponge in water and use it to rub the alloys gently to remove any brake dust or dirt. This will also prevent you from scratching the wheels when you scrub the surface.

3. Scrub
Use a mixture of alloy wheel cleaner, available from automotive specialist stores, and water. Avoid acid-based cleaners for they may take the lacquer off the wheel. Soak the sponge and scrub the alloys, making sure to get into every corner.

If necessary, use an old toothbrush to get at the corners of the spokes.

4. Hose
Next step is to hose off the alloy wheel cleaner. For the best results, adjust the nozzle of your hose to spray in order to get as much of the wheel and spokes as possible. Do this and you should start to notice a change in their appearance.

5. Dry
Using a chamois or microfibre cloth, wipe them dry. These items can be bought from The Warehouse, K Mart, and some supermarkets.

6. Remove
If you find some stains and grease will not come off, there are a number of ways in which to get rid of them. Remove grease by using vinegar applied to some newspaper and using aluminum foil soaked in some soft drink will help remove stains.

7. Wax
The final step of the cleaning process is to apply wheel wax to the alloys. To keep them in good shape, remember to apply a new coat of wax at least every three months.

However, if the alloy wheel itself has been curbed, scrapped or damaged in anyway, no amount of cleaning can remedy things.

If the damage to the wheel is small or light and does not affect the rotation, then it is possible to repair the damage yourself as we will explain next week in Driven.

- NZ Herald

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