How to Clean Chrome Rims
Chrome rims are one of the various ways to give your otherwise humdrum car a more sleek-looking, sporty appearance. While they are a glamorous addition to a vehicle, they require careful and consistent upkeep.
If they aren't properly maintained, chrome wheels can corrode at the bead and valve stem causing air leaks, develop pitting from corrosion, lose shine, and even peel away from the metal structure underneath.
Chrome is a very soft metal, which makes it easier for brake dust to penetrate and pit chrome wheels so easily. Brake dust is made of adhesive and carbon fibers that come off the brake pad and tiny metal shavings from the rotor. The intense heat and friction generated when braking makes this mixture highly corrosive. Since you're regularly braking when driving, brake dust is constantly being made.
Frequent cleaning with an appropriate cleaner is the only way to keep your wheels safe. Cleaning with soap and water isn't recommended, as certain soaps contain harsh chemicals like oxalic or hydrofluoric acid. Soaps and cleaners with these ingredients can permanently stain the chrome finish and cause spotting.
Simple Green All Wheel & Tire Cleaner delivers residue-free cleaning without caustic fumes.The non-corrosive, non-abrasive and non-flammable formula cuts through caked-on brake dust, grease, dirt and road grime on all wheel and tire types. The foaming spray clings to vertical surfaces and sinks into tight crevices to dissolve grease for a superior clean. The formula is also overspray safe, so it will not harm your car's paint or surrounding hardware.
We recommend cleaning your wheels before washing your vehicle so brake dust and dirty water don't splash onto your clean car. Only clean wheels when they are completely cool.
- Rinse. Rinse wheels one at a time with a garden hose or pressure washer to remove loose dirt and brake dust. It's important that you rinse and clean one wheel at a time so the water doesn't have the chance to dry on the surface and leave water spots behind.
- Spray. Thoroughly coat the surface with Simple Green All Wheel & Tire Cleaner. Let the cleaner sit for 1-2 minutes.
- Scrub. Use a soft bristled wheel brush to agitate any brake dust buildup or road grime on the rim. Soft, synthetic bristles loosen grime and brake dust without scratching the chrome. Reach through the spokes to clean each rim from front to back. Use a lug nut brush to clean around the lug nuts and inside the lug nut holes.
- Rinse again with clean water. Be sure to thoroughly rinse the lug nut holes and between the spokes.
- Dry. It's best to allow each wheel to air dry, rather than hand dry with a chamois or soft cloth. If you'd prefer to hand dry, be sure to use a microfiber cloth to reduce the likelihood of scratching the chrome surface.
- Repeat. Move onto the next wheel until all four are clean.
- Polish. For best results, apply your chrome polish of choice to seal the surface. Apply the polish to the first wheel using a soft cloth or wax applicator. Work it into the surface slowly and liberally in a circular motion until the entire rim is covered. Let the polish sit for a few minutes until it has dried. Rub it away with a clean, soft cotton cloth, a polishing ball, or a similar tool. Polish at least twice a month, depending on how often you drive. This helps your wheels to look cleaner and maintain their shine for a longer period of time.