A good set of wheels can make a huge difference to how your car looks. In fact many people choose alloy wheels and aftermarket wheels for the sole reason of making their car look a little better. Apart from the aesthetic advantages, there is a major difference between steel wheels and alloy wheels, which have implications for durability and performance. While most sub Rs 10 lakh cars in India today still come with steel wheels in their lower end variants, most manufacturers offer an alloy wheel upgrade or a model with them as standard fitments. Here are some tips on how to keep your wheels shiny and clean.
1. Wash regularly
A set of dirty wheels, especially alloy wheels, is a sheer put-off. Make sure you wash your wheels everyday to prevent brake dust and dirt buildup. One will often find front wheels to be much dirtier than the rear ones. This is primarily due to brake dust from the front discs sticking on the wheels. This brake dust, if not washed off every few days can cause damage to the wheel’s finish in the long run.
Also remember to wash each wheel individually either on or off the car to ensure the best results. Eash wheel should be washed with a warm water and detergent solution for the best results. Remember to use a soft cloth and never a harsh brush to wash your wheels since it might leave scratches on the surface. Use a bug and tar remover is necessary to remove harsher residues.
Never use hot steam cleaning, as this can also damage the finish on your wheels. Similarly, never clean your wheels when they are still hot from driving as the water will evaporate too quickly leaving soap streaking. Washing when the wheels are hot can also lead to rapid cooling in the metal, which in turn might effect the wheel’s life. Use a different sponge on your wheels to the one you use on your car’s bodywork since dirt and grime on your wheel may harm your car’s paint.
Another way of protecting a new set of wheels is to apply a layer of wax or an extra coat of clear on the wheel before installing the tyre. This, apart from protecting the wheel will also ensure a layer of defence against mud, grime and dirt in general.
2. Avoid scraping the wheels on the kerb
Once you have a set of new wheels, it is strongly advised to stay away from the kerb at all costs. Alloy wheels usually have a very low level of resistance against kerb contact and the smallest of contact can result in chipping or scratching your wheels. In recent years, there have been inserts one can buy that form a layer of defence against kerbing. That said, it is still advisable to be careful and avoid mistaken contact.
Following these simple tips will maintain the appearance of your car’s wheels as well as assist them in lasting longer. Since high-end wheels are often quite expensive and can be a highly personal statement that the owner makes, it is worth spending a little extra time on cleaning them. Just like the rest of your car, treat your wheels with respect, and they will continue to look great for a long time regardless of whether they are alloy wheels or steel rims.