Light alloy wheels are more durable and easier to maintain than their old stamped metal counterparts, but like everything else in your car, they also need to be cleaned regularly to avoid corrosion.
The wheels can be dirty and corroded from brake dust, and even road salt and slag used to treat ice roads. Even very started wheels can be returned to their perfect radiance.
What are cast rims?
You may be curious as to what exactly a “light alloy rim” or otherwise a “cast rim” is. An alloy is a combination of two or more metals, aluminum and magnesium. Such disks look beautiful, well balanced and have high strength.
There are different types of cast discs with different coatings. Let’s learn the difference to know how to clean light alloy wheels properly and easily.
Types of cast discs and shine difference
Most cars manufactured today come with standard cast wheels. They are also called aluminium wheels, which are made from a mixture of aluminium and nickel.
They are more eye-catching than steel wheels, but are much lighter and yet sturdy and durable. Less weight means lighter suspension for your car, better acceleration and greater fuel economy.
There are two types of cast aluminium wheels: cast aluminium wheels and cast aluminium billet wheels. The wheels of cast aluminum are made by casting molten aluminum into a mold, and the wheels of aluminum billet are made of a solid piece of aluminum.
Light alloy rims
Of course, the wheels on cast wheels are very beautiful, but not everyone knows that they get dirty very quickly. You don’t have to go to the car wash every day because of that. Every car owner should know how to clean the wheels from accumulated dirt and how to take care of the wheels. No acidic cleaning solutions should be used with polished light alloy rims, as they corrode the surface.
Alloy wheels vs. steel wheels
The light alloy wheels have been improved to become more and more durable, but in terms of strength and durability, steel wheels still have the advantage: the steel is rigid and extremely difficult to bend.
The main enemy of molded disks
Besides the usual dust, dirt, water and mineral stains, the worst enemy of cast discs is actually black or brown deposits from brake pads.
These brake deposits are formed every time you use the brakes. When you use the brakes, a component called calipers clamps the rotors to slow down the wheels. To reduce wear, the calipers have gaskets that come in contact with the rotors.
When semi-metal brake pads are ground on cast iron rotors, this creates brake dust, which consists of iron particles from the rotors as well as carbon residue and metal elements from the brake pads.
How to Clean Cast Drives – Cleaners
- Vinegar and hot water
Vinegar is a universal detergent solution with natural acids, which can affect many substances, it is harmless, smell and touch safe. Dissolve some vinegar in a hot water bucket as a cleaning solution.
If your alloy wheels are not too dirty, you may want to try this simple household remedy. However, do not use vinegar on coated and polished alloy wheels. As noted above, do not use acidic cleaning products on these types of cast rims.
- Oven Cleaner
If you need something more efficient than vinegar, you can bring with you oven cleaner, which is probably available in your home. An oven cleaner can destroy persistent mineral stains, grease and rust within minutes.
- Special Cleaners for Cast Discs
The best way to clean alloy wheels is to buy specialty cleaners in a supermarket or auto parts store and any hardest stains will be worthless to you.
How to clean molded discs – step by step:
First flush the wheels with a hose to remove dirt and brake dust. Be sure to flush every part, including the inside surface around the axle. It is best to use an adjustable nozzle to remove stuck debris with a high pressure jet. If you do not have an adjustable nozzle or pressure nozzle, clamp the hose port to create a stronger and more concentrated flow.
2. Apply the product
If your wheels have plastic hub covers, remove them before performing this task. Spray enough of the cleaning agent you have selected onto the entire wheel, additionally spraying on hard-to-reach areas. Allow the cleaner to stand for at least 2-3 minutes to penetrate the dried out substances. This will make cleaning much easier later.
After soaking, first take the least dirty places, then take the most problematic ones. This will give you more time to soak more dirty spots. Use a brush with soft bristles and a flexible rod to easily wipe every corner of the wheel without scratching the surface. Pull through the spokes to clean the entire surface from front to back. Do not forget the rim screws, where brake dust accumulates. You can use an old toothbrush to do a more accurate job.
4. Rinse and Wipe
Thoroughly rinse with a wide nozzle for greater coverage. Make sure there is no cleaning agent left to dry out the residue and avoid possible corrosion. Then wipe the wheels dry with a soft microfiber cloth to avoid water stains and tiny scratches on the wheels.
The use of sealants will give your wheels a glossy, shiny look. More importantly, sealants designed specifically for light alloy wheels will provide an additional protective layer that will make it difficult for dirt, dust and debris to stick to your wheels.
How to Clean Cast Discs
Now you know how to clean light alloy rims at home. Remember to take care of your wheels when operating your favourite car. It is not only about making your car look clean and new, regular cleaning of cast wheels will protect it from corrosive brake dust that accumulates while driving.