How To Protect Your Aluminum Wheels

A good looking set of alloy wheels can transform the appearance of your car, as can a back looking set of alloy wheels. So, if you want your car to look great, you want to protect your wheels from damage. Here are five ways to keep your wheels looking great.

1. Clean Your Wheels, Especially In Winter

Most alloy wheels are more similar to your car’s body panels than you might believe. Typically, alloy wheels are painted and then clear coated, just like the rest of your car. So, if you want the wheels to look great, you need to wash them regularly.

Washing wheels

Keeping them clean, via Spangdahlem Air Base

It’s important to note that your wheels are much more exposed to corrosive elements than the rest of your car. Namely:

  • Brake dust, which collects on wheels and can eat away at the clear coat
  • Road salt and (in states where it’s used) magnesium chloride, which are both bad for your wheels for different reasons

So, it’s arguably more important to wash your wheels than it is to wash your pain, especially in winter. Also, avoid using steel wool and acid-based cleaners on your wheels because they will strip away the clear coating. Here’s a great tutorial on cleaning your wheels the right way.

2. Wheel Waxing Is Never A Bad Idea

Wax is beneficial for any painted or clear-coated surface because it protects the surface from dirt and grime. OEM aluminum wheels are usually painted and clear-coated, so waxing them will definitely help keep them spotless.

While there are waxes available specifically for wheels, any kind of wax will work. However, since wheels can be very hard to wax (lots of nooks and crannies), many people ‘cheat’ and use a spray-on wax rather than using a dedicated wheel wax. We don’t have any strong opinions here, but we will say that removing the wheel makes it much easier to wax.

3. RimBlades And RimSavers

Not only do scratched-up wheels look bad, but they’re also pretty costly to fix. The most common way to scrape your wheels is parallel parking, so the best way to protect them from scrapes is to get a set of wheel protectors, like RimBlades or RimSavers.

red Rim blades protect

Wheel protectors snazz up your already polished aluminum wheels, and they’re much cheaper than repairing curb rash. Win-win.

NOTE: Be sure to apply RimBlades or RimSavers before you wax your wheels, as the adhesive must bond with the clearcoat surface.

4. Good Driving Habits

Last but not least, you can reduce the risk of wheel damage by adopting some good driving habits, such as:

  • Parallel parking a few inches away from the curb, rather than snugging right up to it
  • Avoiding potholes
  • Taking your time in parking lots to avoid curbs (which are easy to miss while turning)

5. Get Some Take-Offs For Winter

Last but not least, check out our blog post about take-off wheels for winter tires. By removing your “good” wheels during the winter months and replacing them with a temporary set of used wheels (at least until the snow is done flying), you reduce the odds of damage from road salt, magnesium chloride, and gravel.

Not to mention, your vehicle is much more likely to slide or skid into a curb during the winter seeing how potholes and other obstacles can be harder to see in the roadway. Not to mention, parking next to the curb is a bit risky when the road is covered in snow.

Good luck!