How To Polish Aluminium Wheels?

Most of the vehicles have alloy wheels these days. Their maintenance may be time-consuming. But once they are subjected to proper cleaning and polishing, it is worth the efforts made. In this article, we shall discuss how to polish aluminium wheels.

Before that, you should be aware why the aluminium wheels get shabby and dirty. The main reason for the alloy wheel getting dirty is the brake dust that comes off from the metal shavings from the rotor and the brake pad. The wheels generate friction and intense heat, make the peeled off mixture highly corrosive. Thus, they harm the aluminium wheels. It is necessary to get rid of such materials from the wheels to keep them in a good working condition.

How To Polish Aluminium Wheels?

How To Polish Aluminium Wheels?

Many of the aluminium wheels available in the market have a coating on them. According to professionals, bare aluminium wheels are better to work with, as they can be cleaned with fewer efforts and the result is shinier wheels. Here, we shall learn a step-by-step procedure to clean and polish the aluminium wheels:

  • Be ready with a large amount of towels of terrycloth or rags. They will be needed in different steps of cleaning. It is better to wash the hands after you finish with each stage of the process.
  • Remove the wheels from the car. This will let you reach and clean even the minute parts easily. It is advisable to take off any stickers, valve stem covers, wheel weights and centre caps, as they all might obstruct the cleaning and polishing of the aluminium wheels.
  • Use a water hose that releases water with a high pressure. Wash off the dirt and grime from the wheels with water and soap that is manufactured especially for vehicles and heavy duty scouring pads. Cleaning thoroughly prevents grime from rubbing to the aluminium surface in the coming stages.
  • For cleaner wheels, you can spray oven cleaner over the wheels and let it penetrate for about 20 minutes. Using a dish scrubber that can be used on Teflon surfaces, scrub the aluminium surfaces of the wheels. Rinse, thoroughly with water. You can repeat the oven cleaner spray process, if the desired results are not achieved.
  • Detect the pits on the wheels. Eliminate the pits using 400-grit sandpaper. You can also use a flexible foam sand pad of the finest grade, as an alternative. First, try to remove the pits in an unnoticeable spot, to be sure whether it leaves marks on the wheels or not.
  • Sometimes a scrape forms on the wheels while rubbing against the curb while parking. Eliminate the curb rashes on the wheels with the help of a flat file.
  • Rinse the wheels with water, thoroughly. Then, dry them with a towel.
  • Now, it is important to remove oxidation and restore aluminium on the wheels. So evenly spread aluminium brightening cleaner over the wheels. Then, wipe them with a clean towel.
  • Now, take aluminium polish and rub it over the rims of the wheels. Polishes are available in paste as well as liquid form. While shining the wheels, the strokes should be given in one single direction. For the regions that are hard to reach, you can use a toothbrush to polish. It is better to cover the bristles with a soft cloth, in order to prevent any kind of mar that may occur due to the bristles.
  • For uniform finish, all the small areas should be given concentration at one time, rather than alternating with large areas, frequently.
  • Lastly, apply a gentle amount of finishing polish to the rims.
  • Keep polishing the wheels until the cotton cloth has no soiling in it. More rubbing and wiping will give shinier wheels.
  • For more detailing of your wheels, you can use aluminium wax. The products specially designed as wax for wheels work in the same way as car waxes do. Applying a wax coating to the wheels protects the aluminium and prevents it from oxidation. It also prevents the adhesion of brake dust over the wheels. Use an applicator pad to apply the wax and then buff the wheels, thoroughly. The wax coating keeps your wheels cleaner for longer duration. Apply wax every week. Meanwhile, you can clean the wheels with just water.

Things That You Will Need For The Process

  • Rags or towels or terrycloth
  • Water hose pipe
  • Washing soap for vehicles
  • Scouring pads that are heavy-duty
  • Dish scrubber
  • Oven cleaner spray
  • Foam sand pad that is flexible
  • Sandpaper
  • Flat file
  • Brightening cleaner for aluminium
  • Toothbrush
  • Aluminium polish
  • Finishing polish
  • Cotton cleaning pad


Always read the labels before you buy aluminium polish to check the ingredient chemicals. Never buy polishes that contain ammonia, acids or anhydrous chemicals. Such type of chemicals will tarnish and age the aluminium rims and damage them, eventually.

How To Check Whether The Aluminium Wheel Is Coated Or Not?

Select an unnoticeable area on your aluminium wheel. Apply a little polish over it and rub with a cloth. If there is no black residue on the cloth, the wheel is coated. On uncoated aluminium, the aluminium oxide comes off as a black residue.

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Some Tips For Polishing Aluminium Wheels

  • Take off the labels from the cleaning cloths, as they may scratch the work that you have done.
  • Ask your kids to stay away from the working area, as they may have greasy or dirty fingers.
  • Carefully clean the wheels before each and every step.
  • In all the earlier steps, use only clothes that are made up of terrycloth.
  • After finishing with every step, clean your hands.
  • Clean and polish small areas at a time. It ensures more precision.
  • Apply polish in one single direction for a shinier finishing of the wheels.
  • To protect your skin from the harmful effects of the cleaning materials, you can use barrier creams on your hands. If you are power buffing your wheels, make sure to wear goggles too, so that your eyes remain protected.
  • Avoid the aluminium getting into your system through power buffing. Excess of aluminium can cause Alzheimer’s disease, brittleness of bones and loss of teeth.

We hope, by now you have learnt how to polish aluminium wheels and will do it in the most precise manner, by yourself. If you have any query or suggestion regarding this article, feel free to drop it in the comment box given below.

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