Let’s face it. Nothing looks better than a set of shiny chrome wheels. Gleaming Fuel Saber D743 chrome wheels are real head turners. A set of muddy, dirty, pitted, or spotted chrome wheels just isn’t the same. There’s a misconception that chrome wheels are high maintenance. It’s not true. Just keep on top of the cleaning, use the right tools, and you can clean your chrome wheels and enjoy that original shine in no time. Whether you purchase your chrome wheels from WheelHero.com or another seller, here’s how to care for your chrome wheels.
What is Chrome?
Chrome is a short-hand way of referring to the natural occurring element, Chromium. Chromium is a mouthful to say, but chrome just rolls off the tongue. Chrome may be a metal, but that doesn’t make it incredibly strong. You must admit, a clean chrome finished wheel is gorgeous. But don’t be fooled. All that glitters isn’t always chrome. For example, you can polish an aluminum wheel to an incredible shine and think, “hey that looks like chrome”. That is until you sit that aluminum wheel next to a polished chrome wheel. There’s just no comparison. Chrome is more reflective, and the reflection is less distorted.
Chrome is always applied using an electroplating process. It isn’t drizzled on your wheels like hot fudge onto a sundae.
That chrome plating is very thin, often measured in millionths of an inch. The plating goes on over a layer of nickel. Because chrome is a soft metal, you need to take care when cleaning your chrome plated wheels. It’s also important to regularly clean and wax your chrome wheels to protect them from road debris, salt, and brake dust.
Step by Step Instructions for Cleaning Chrome Wheels
No matter what kind of wheels you have, you always want to clean and dry each wheel individually. Once you have one wheel clean and dry, then you can move on to polishing the wheels.
- PREPARE. To clean chrome wheels, you’ll need to get your bucket, garden hose with a high-power sprayer attached, mild detergent, a soft rag, a soft bristle brush, and microfiber cloths or a chamois. It’s important that you keep the rags, microfiber cloths, and chamois that you use on your wheels separate from the ones you use on the painted surfaces of your car. Even after washing, your wheel rags may contain small bits of brake dust that will mar your paint.
- SOAK. Start by getting the wheel really wet. This loosens road debris, salt, and brake dust. Use the garden hose and the most powerful setting on your hand sprayer.
- LATHER. Mix one tablespoon of dish washing liquid into a gallon of hot water. If you buy a wheel cleaner online or at a store, read the label first to make sure it is okay for use on chrome wheels. Wash the wet wheel with a soft cloth or microfiber cloth and your soapy water to remove brake dust.
- BRUSH. Once you have most of the debris removed, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty. Use the soft bristle brush with a long handle to clean between spokes and to get in any groves in the wheel barrel – don’t forget to clean lug nut holes too. A soft brush is essential for cleaning spokes and the fine drum detail like that found on the American Muscle 57 Rally chrome wheel.
- RINSE. Once the wheel is clean, rinse it thoroughly to remove soap residue and any brake dust or dirt that might have survived the cleaning.
- DRY. Next, dry the chrome wheel immediately with a microfiber cloth or chamois to prevent spotting.
- REPEAT. Now move to the next wheel and repeat the process until all four wheels are clean.
Polishing Chrome Wheels to Perfection
Polishing chrome wheels doesn’t need to be hard work. Save yourself some elbow grease. Get a foam polishing cone for your drill and put the power of the RPM to work. These polishing or detailing cones are available online or at the auto parts store. You don’t have to work hard to polish chrome wheels to perfection when you just work smart. So, get yourself a cone when you buy your chrome wheel polish.
Make sure the polish you use is made for chrome wheels. Many polishes that are made for steel or aluminum wheels may be used for chrome, just read the label carefully.
Now that your chrome wheels are clean and polished, it’s time to apply a thin wax coating. The wax protects the chrome and will keep brake dust from sticking. Apply wheel wax just as you would car wax. After it dries to a haze, buff to a shine.
Waxing your chrome wheels helps keep the wheel clean longer, so you don’t have to repeat this process as often.
Chrome Wheels We Love
Now that you see how easy it is to care for chrome wheels, shop the complete collection of chrome wheels as well as other popular wheel finishes at WheelHero.com.