All you need are the right tools and know-how to cleaning aluminum rims that are in these types of conditions.
Just by following these simple procedures you can quickly learn how to clean aluminum rims easily.
Corroded or oxidized aluminum rims can mean anything from just some sticky road grime and brake dust all the way to much more harsh damage such as pitting. The amount of time and effort that will be needed to clean them is primarily based on how severe the condition is. You need to be aware that oxygen is definitely one of the worst enemies for aluminum. Just by allowing your rims to be exposed to the air will result in them turning dull coloured, old and weathered. Moreover, people who live in colder climates and expose them to road salts damage them even quicker. Other culprits are grime, brake dust and other pollution contaminants. All these external factors can greatly affect the shine and lustre of your rim. So if you have invested into a brand new, or gently used, set of shiny rims you need to protect them from the air as much as possible.
To begin with, park your vehicle in a shaded area and take a garden hose and spray your rims with a strong steady stream of water. Then fill a bucket with lukewarm water and add a generous amount of liquid dish soap or other gentle rim cleaning liquid and mix thoroughly. Apply this mixture to each rim and let it soak for approximately five minutes and then hose it off with a pressurized stream of water. Take a good soft microfiber cloth or chamois and wipe them dry. This initial step alone should remove the majority of the surface grime and allow you to get closer to the actual corrosion and/or oxidization.
Mask off surrounding painted areas of your vehicle by utilizing some painter’s masking tape and large sheets of plastic. After that, spray a layer of regular household oven cleaner on them and let it to soak in for about a half hour. Now take a pot and pan scrubber and scrub the entire rim thoroughly. When that is completed, take a hose and rinse it off right afterwards and then buff it dry with a clean cloth. For numerous types of corrosion and oxidization it is important that you repeat this process. A good point to know here is that sometimes that is all that is necessary to complete your cleaning job. If that is the case then all you need to do now is polish them with a professional aluminum brightener, which can be bought at any automotive store, and also polish them with regular car wax. However, if you find that it still does not completely fix the problem you will need to take more drastic steps.
This step will require you to apply a 400 grit sandpaper to all the pitted areas on your aluminum rims. For the majority of types of pitting this is basically the only do-it-yourself solution. Sanding can be accomplished by hand or, for much bigger areas, a motorized sanding wheel installed onto a drill can be used. If you do use this make sure you don’t apply too much pressure and also be mindful to keep the wheel constantly moving in a circular motion so that you do not scrape too deeply into any one spot.
After they have been meticulously sanded to an even brightness you will then need to rinse them with a pressurized spray of water and polish them with aluminum brightener. Again you will need to wax your rims with some basic car wax to prevent further oxidation or corrosion.
Remember that you will need to clean aluminum rims on a consistent and frequent basis to keep corrosion and oxidization damage to an absolute minimum. When cleaning aluminum rims you will need to reapply a clear coat of wax after each time, or alternatively, rub on a mild coating of oil on them to also prevent future oxidation or corrosion. The final most important thing to remember on how to clean aluminum rims properly is to always rinse them off and wipe them clean after driving in salted road conditions.