Car wheels are one of the trickiest parts to clean and keep clean for any stretch of time. The intricacies of the rim design mean you have to dedicate that extra effort to scrubbing every angle in search of perfection. Naturally, the wheels accumulate dirt far more quickly than any other noticeable car parts and they are often the deciding factor in getting around to washing your car.

The team here at Espresso Car Wash are experts in hand-washing wheels as part of our car detailing packages. We carry out a thorough and efficient service to give you that new car feeling. Find an Espresso Car Wash near you or call us on 092713410.

 Why clean your car’s wheels?

The wheels and rims are some of the visible and eye-catching parts of a car. Leaving them unwashed for weeks on end will make your vehicle look unloved and dejected. As a rule of thumb, you should be washing your wheels along with the rest of your car’s bodywork every two weeks to keep them looking shiny and new. That way you will always take pride in your car’s appearance.

There are performance and safety benefits to keeping your car wheels clean, too. Dirt and debris build-up in and among the brake discs may reduce their responsiveness and increase stopping distance. Cleaning them regularly helps to avert these issues and gives you a chance to identify any other problems that could arise, such as cracks and bends in the discs or rims, or damage to the tyre.

A clean wheel is a more durable wheel. Dirt and brake dust does damage over time and the effects may not be apparent at first. Your wheels will last longer, retain their condition and prevent further damage with a regular and thorough clean.

Equipment you need to Clean Car Wheels and Tyres

To wash your car wheels, first set aside a good amount of time to complete the process as there is no point in doing half the job! It can take up to 15 minutes to wash a wheel depending on how dirty it is and how large or intricate its design is.

The equipment you will need includes:

  • A bucket – any large bucket to mix water and cleaning solution will do.
  • A wheel brush – specially designed brushes will get into the nooks and crannies of a wheel.
  • Tyre cleaner – used to make the tyres look brand new and give them a protective coating.
  • Wheel cleaner – dirt on the rims can be tough to clean. This solution will remove stubborn grime.
  • Hose or pressure washer – use to rinse off the wheels and remove remaining dirt.
  • Microfibre towels – use to dry the wheels and prevent water spots.

How to clean car wheels, step-by-step

Make sure the tires are cool – Turn off the car engine before you go near the tyres. Car tyres can get extremely hot, especially after long drives or prolonged exposure to the sun and can prove to be a safety hazard. Hot tyres might also dry up the cleaning solution faster than intended and leave you with poor results.

 Spray off as much loose dirt as possible – Remove the loose dirt and larger clumps of debris. It will also soften the dirt that would otherwise cling even harder to the wheel.

Apply wheel cleaner – Cleaning solutions come in spray, mousse and classic bottle cap variations. Follow the instructions on the bottle. Some will require you to mix with water or apply directly onto the surface. Wheel cleaners are often made specifically for the rims or the rubber of the wheel itself. Having both at your disposal will give you the most complete results.

Scrub wheel and rims in circular motions – Use a wheel brush to clean the wheel, paying special attention to the areas around the lug nuts and between the spokes. These areas will be the trickiest to clean completely, so have patience during this process.

Rinse cleaning solution – Wash the wheel thoroughly once again with your hose or pressure washer to remove the cleaning solution and any remaining dirt.

Dry – Use your microfibre towel to dry up the water and cleaning solution, making sure to remove any potential water spots.

Apply protective layer – A wheel-protecting solution provides a tough barrier against dirt, keeping your wheels cleaner for longer. They may also have the added benefit of making cleaning the wheels next time far easier.

Mistakes to Avoid when Washing Car Wheels

It’s not uncommon for car owners to make basic mistakes when washing their car’s wheels. The most time-consuming error is washing the car’s body before the wheels. Always wash the wheels first. Cleaning the wheels is a particularly dirty job, and if you wash the body first, it is almost certain that you will spray a lot of grimy water back onto the clean paint.

Secondly, try to avoid over-scrubbing. Let the cleaning products do the work and instead scrub as little as possible to reduce the chance of micro scratches. Many other guides will also tell you to use a toothbrush – and you really do not need to, as it’s too small to do any meaningful work and will simply waste your time.

Always begin the wash with clean tools and cloth. Remove the dirt from your equipment from the last wash if you want the best possible results. And finally, stick to drying off the wheels with a microfibre towel rather than a kitchen or bath towel. You need a towel that will absorb the water rather than smear dirty water around, and that is exactly why we use microfibre cloths.

Espresso Care Wheel and Tyre Wash

At Espresso Car Wash we are experts in all manners of car detailing – from the wheels to the body and everything under the hood. We’ve been washing cars in New Zealand for over 16 years across 18 locations.

If you would like a professional-level car wheel clean and to save yourself some hard work, we will handle it as part of our many car detailing services based on price and the extent of the interior and exterior cleaning.

Contact Us

Book your wheel clean today with an expert Espresso Car Wash team near you, or call us on 0800 927 433.


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