Wheels are arguably the most important parts of the car. While thousands of components join together to make a car, it is the wheels that are exposed to the roughest conditions of them all. The second you begin accelerating, turning and stopping, grease, dirt and brake dust all start to make friends with the veneers of your wheels.
In most cases, the wheels of a vehicle get so filthy because they tend to pick up tar, grime and other harmful contaminants on the road. In addition, shavings from the brake pads and small particulates of iron from the brake discs also affect the performance of the vehicle. Normally, the heat from the brakes causes this to take place since it bakes all the heat into the surface of the wheel. So in this post, we look at a selection of the best wheel cleaner products on the market today.
Taking good care of the wheels of your car can be a delicate and demanding task, so an excellent grime-busting plan is essential. While it is true that you can take your car to a wash, doing it every now and then could cost hundreds on your part with how often wheels get dirty. Cleaning them in the right way using the right products is vital to getting not only the perfect finish but also achieving the best overall performance of your vehicle.
Best Practices in Using The Best Wheel Cleaners
- It is advisable to clean the wheels when they are cool to touch. This is an excellent way of preventing cleaners from drying to the wheel and avoiding water spotting. In addition, it also averts the possibility of damaging the brakes and rotors.
- Always remember to never let wheel cleaners dry on tires as it could result in permanent discoloration.
- Perform a spot test on the new wheel cleaner to see to it that it won’t create damage on the vehicle.
- It is most important to remember that all wheels are not created equal and require a special approach to cleaning.
- Never forget to clean and remove the dirt on the wheel barrel and the lug nut holes.
- Choose the right wheel cleaner for the wheels of your car. The two most popular wheel cleaners are acid-based and non-acid wheel cleaners.
- Thoroughly rinse the wheel with water before spraying your cleaner product. By means of this process, the wheel cleaning product can efficaciously penetrate on the tight spots and remote areas of the wheels.
- While it is not required, it is best to wax your wheels after using a wheel cleaning product to help protect the shine and give the brake dust an exquisite place to settle in to.
- Be patient and clean your wheels one at a time to prevent having the product dry on the surface.
- Give your wheels a good final rinse before wiping it with a dry towel to prevent water spots from forming in your wheels.
Types of Wheel Cleaners
Car wheel cleaners have come a long way thanks to chemical engineering. There are a wide range of wheel cleaners in the market today which include pH-balanced cleaners, acid wheel cleaners, and iron contaminant removers. Each variation can be effective as long as you follow the instructions of the product.
1. Acid Wheel Cleaners
Acid wheel cleaners can be very effective but it needs to be used with circumspection. Typically, these types of wheel cleaners can be used on warm and semi-hot wheels. It is, however, essential to note that you need to work faster to prevent the cleaner to dry since this will stop the chemical reaction procedure. When that happens, you have to reapply the cleaner to reactivate the chemical process.
Nonetheless, it is important to remember that wheels with chromed and anodized coatings specifically the ones which are diamond cut should not be cleaned with acid cleaners. In addition, it is also appropriate to go for high-end brands when using an acid cleaner.
2. Iron Contaminant Removers
Iron contaminant removers are highly recommended for extremely dirty wheels since it is most useful for cleaning away iron and brake dust filings that are welded to the wheel. Dissimilar to acid cleaners, contaminant removers are left a little longer to effectively work. Ordinarily, they often change color when applied on the wheels as it dissolves iron-rich contaminants and brake dust upon contact. It is, however, important to always follow the manufacturer’s direction to get the best results.
3. Non-Acid Based Wheel Cleaners
Finding a wheel cleaner that does not contain dangerous acids is a challenge since wheel cleaners with an acid formula are used by the majority. Normally, non-acid based wheel cleaners are ideal for wheels that are washed on a regular basis. These types of cleaners have the ability to efficiently extinguish a significant amount of light dirt and dust to reveal the clean surface below.
By the same token, non-acid wheel cleaners should be diluted based on the instructions of the manufacturer and should be avoided when cleaning bare minimum wheels. Likewise, it is also imperative to remember that non-acid cleaners might not work as good as acid cleaners on any wheels or heavy brake dust that have enormous brake dust build-up.
10 Best Wheel Cleaner Reviews
Amazon Rating: 4.8
Developed by Adam’s Polishes, the Adam’s Deep Wheel Cleaner is chemically designed and specifically formulated to counter heavy dust and leave wheels squeaky clean. It comes in a variety of sizes which include one gallon, five gallon and bundle variants. It works splendidly on powder-coated, clear-coated, painted and alloy wheels as it has the capability to dissolve stubborn metallic contamination in less than no time.
- Perfect for cleaning brake calipers and deep wheel openings
- Works well on cleaning dusty pads and performance brakes
- Removes iron deposits efficiently
- The smell is absolutely awful
Amazon Rating: 4.2
This easy-to-use wheel cleaner from Sonax is safe for use on vehicles with aluminum, painted, clear-coated, anodized and alloy wheels. It sprays on as green and fluorescent foam and subsequently turns red as dirt and grime are being removed. In addition to that, it is also acid-free and PH-balanced which means that the formulation of the product is entirely environment-friendly.
- Can clean the brake dust of every wheel
- Perfect for light wheel cleaning
- More cost-efficient compared to other products in the market
- Not scrub-free
- Smells a bit noxious
Amazon Rating: 5.0
This 2-in-1 cleaner from Kuwan exhibits strong decontamination and advanced chemical technology properties which have the capability to not only remove rust spot and brake dust but also penetrate grime and dirt at the source to make the cleaning of wheels significantly shorter. Moreover, it is also consists of chromium compounds, emulsifier, and osmotic agents which all work conjointly to remove the wheel hub yellowing and road dirt in the lowest possible time.
- Smells like a regular soap with a taste of an extract from lemon
- Cuts all the grease and dirt easily after spraying on the wheels
- Quickly dissolves dust and stains off the wheels
- Only comes in one size
Amazon Rating: 4.4
The Poorboy’s World Spray and Rinse Wheel Cleaner is one of the best wheel cleaning products in the market today. It is strong enough to break up brake dust and road grime without demanding so much time. On top of that, it is also versatile and can be utilized on painted, chrome, plastic and clear-coated wheels.
- Requires no scrubbing or rubbing
- Spray-head does not leak when using bleach-based products
- Cleans wheels but some spots and runs are being left out sometimes
- Not good for black wheels
- Discolors painted wheels
Amazon Rating: 5.0
This aluminum wheel cleaner produced by Detail King is an effective cleaner for all types of wheels. It has the capability to remove and loosen up stubborn grime such as grease, burnt-on brake dust, oil and other road dirt. Addedly, it comes in three different sizes such as the 16 Oz, the 32 Oz, and the one-gallon variations.
- Changes color when it’s time to rinse off
- pH-balanced and touch-free wheel cleaner
- Perfect for steel, alloy, chrome, painted, powder coated, uncoated and anodized aluminum wheels
- A little expensive compared to other products in the market
Amazon Rating: 4.6
The heavy-duty wheel cleaner by Shine Society is designed to eliminate tough brake dust and road grime from alloy and chrome wheels. In addition, it also has the ability to prevent the future build-up of grime, dust, and dirt. Typically, this wheel cleaner can be utilized to enhance your wheels in between car washes. It also comes with a micro-fiber towel which can be used to wipe off the remaining spots and stains.
- Can be used without the need for water
- Great for cleaning severe brake dust on alloys
- Easy to apply on the wheels
- Swirls dirt when using a power wheel brush
- Needs a pressure washer to dissolve solvents
Amazon Rating: 4.6
Launched by Biotech Industries, the Biotech Acid Wheel Cleaner is made up of highly-concentrated acid that has the potential to remove the stain, clean metal and most importantly eliminate dust on chrome wheels. Likewise, it can also be used on stainless steel and all acid-resistant metals. What makes Biotech stand out from its competitors is its uncanny ability to effectively penetrate and extinguish beer stone, milk stone, hard water scale and protein scale from surfaces that are resistant to acid.
- Can be applied on the sponge or directly to acid-resistant surfaces
- Cleans grimy and rusty chrome as well as wired wheels
- Comes in various sizes such as the 6 Oz, 128 Oz, and 5 Gallon variations
- Acid is extremely strong and needs to be diluted before using
Amazon Rating: 4.9
The Quwei Tire and Wheel Cleaner is an all-around cleaning product that can safely eliminate the toughest road grime and brake dust on any wheel. It also cleans away corrosive road salts which are the primary reason for rust spots and the damage in the protective clear coats on the wheels. Additionally, it also works on various types of wheels such as painted, clear-coated, polished, chrome, anodized, aluminum and alloy.
- Cleans away harmful salt and winter grime
- Product is cheap compared to other big brands
- Removes the dirt easily and does not smell bad
- Easy to apply
- Instructions that are found on the bottle are a bit complicated
Amazon Rating: 4.7
This ready-to-use acid wheel cleaner from Quality Chemical is scientifically designed to get rid of brake dust and dirt on wheels. It is phosphate-free and requires absolutely no scrubbing. It is, however, important to take note that allowing the hot wheel to cool off before the application is highly recommended for excellent results.
- Cleans rim and grease on wheels
- Can remove brake dust that has been sitting for at least a year
- Not suitable for untreated aluminum wheels
Amazon Rating: 4.6
Nanolex is an acid-free yet powerful wheel cleaning product. It is guaranteed to safely clean any wheel including clear-coated, aluminum, painted and chrome rims. By the same token, the Nanolex Wheel Cleaner and Iron Remover can also remove iron particles and dust with the use of your go-to cleaning brush.
- Neutralizes iron particles and safely rinses them away
- Has an innovative color change mechanism
- Reduces the need to agitate treated surfaces
- Does not work well on dirty wheels
- Wheels need to be wiped immediately after cleaning since it would leave spots and unnecessary marks