How to Clean Mag Wheels

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How to Clean Mag Wheels

A nice-looking car makes you feel good as you drive down the road. It’s shiny, clean and ready to roll at a moment’s notice. But what are you rolling on? A dirty set of wheels. The rest of the car will look shabby if the wheels do not shine like new. Making sure that you have a mirror-like set of wheels to go with the clean and snappy body is important to keeping you feeling on top of the world.

What cleaners to avoid

Most commercial liquid polishes and pastes on the market today contain ammonia or anhydrous chemicals and acids. These compounds will make the wheels look fine immediately after you have cleaned them, but they will make the wheel look dull a week or two down the road. These chemicals contain zinc, which reacts with the wheel metal. The chemicals will also continue to work after the shine is gone and could begin to corrode the wheel, not to a dangerous point, but enough so that it will not look its best.

You may also find that many commercial shops that clean cars and wheels use these products. They make for great repeat business, as you will likely be coming back after the wheels stop shining brightly. Be sure to read the label for these types of agents.

Cleaning and preparation

Any good grease cleaner will do, but make sure you are thorough. If need be, try using a popsicle stick or toothbrush for those tight spots, and be sure to wrap them with a soft cloth so you do not get any scratches. Scratches are bad! They magnify later on.

Pot marks

If you have some pot marks on the wheel, try using a 400 grit foam painters abrasive pad. You can start with 600 grit, but never use anything less then the 400 grit. This yields scratches that you won’t be able to get out.


Apply the compound with a stiff buff pad. You are looking for a pad that can hold a decent amount of compound. As you work it in, be aware of where the excess is going. You want to make sure that nothing is wasted. In some cases, you can even use the excess to get the most out of your cleaner.


There are a few tips that you will want to remember as you go about cleaning your wheels. Clean your hands and the surface you are using whenever you get a chance, particularly between steps. Try to use straight lines as you buff and apply the cleaning compound. Work on small sections at a time.



  1. on March 2nd, 2012 at 12:08 pm

    [...] For more information on cleaning the car’s wheels, learn how to clean mag wheels. [...]