Once the new wheels you bought from L.A. Wheel and Tire are installed, take note of how sexy they look. And like anything sexy, time and care must be spent to ensure it's a lasting relationship. With wheels, however, there's always the chance of getting a little dirt or other elements caked on, so you have to make sure you truly show your rims some love. The best way to do that is by keeping them clean.
Your brakes can cause dirt or brake dust to essentially cook onto the clear coating of the wheel's finish due to heat generated from friction. If you allow this to happen often or for long periods of time, refinishing the wheel is the only thing you can do, and that's expensive. Instead, you should spend time every week or every two weeks -- at the most! -- lovin' those wheels. Keeping them clean is your chance to protect your investment, and also spend a little quality time with your shiny new purchase!
The DO's of Wheel Care:
Apply a coat of wax before you install your new wheels. It not only protects them, it also makes them easier to clean! No-brainer, right there.
Most wheels come with a clear coat or painted finish; wheels from us are either chromed, powder coated, or have PVD finishes that act much like a clear coat. Washing your wheels with a mild soap and water solution is one of the best ways to protect the finish, and we've even got instructions on how to do it! Tar and bug removers can also be applied to prevent staining, and waxing the wheels after installation protects them further.
Clean wheels when they are cool. If soap is applied to a warm (or worse yet, an outright hot) wheel, it could dry on and become resistant to washing off.
Clean your tires and wheels first, one at a time. Focus on the wheels separately from the rest of the vehicle to avoid over-spraying them or having some set longer than others with soap or wax on them.
You need to clean your wheels on a regular (weekly or bi-weekly) basis. Wheels are often the dirtiest part of your car because they are exposed to the elements and brake dust, so don't be all lazy about it. True love requires a little work, man!
The DON'Ts of Wheel Care:
NEVER allow your wheels and tires to be steam-cleaned. You could ruin your finish entirely, or cause color-shifting and dullness to set in.
DON'T clean hot wheels; wait until they cool. Dry soap can create film or streaking, and there's nothing cool about that.
DON'T use household cleaners, detergents, or abrasive cleansers, abrasive cleaning cloths, steel wool pads, or polishing compounds. There is one exception: some chrome care kits (such as one that L.A. Wheel and Tire sells) contain metal polishes and metal protector compounds that can be applied to chrome wheels, but you still don't want to use those on other finishes (WinterChrome™, Powder Coat, Hybrid, etc.).
DON'T use any tire cleaners on your wheels. Remember: wheels and tires may be in our company's name, but they are two TOTALLY different things.
BEWARE OF AUTOMATIC CAR WASHES. These guys use super-heated and sometimes even acid-based cleansers that can kill your wheels' finish. Ask the employees or a manager if the car wash is safe for your finish, but assume the answer is going to be "No" most of the time. Clean the wheels yourself; it's not that hard, and gives you some time alone to appreciate the new love of your life!
Looking to purchase wheels in custom finishes?
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