Cleaning/polishing Aluminum Rims
Q. I have some polished aluminum rims on a 4 wheel drive truck. They were "cleaned" with an acid base compound and are now dull and discolored. How can I restore them to the original shine?Steven Talbot
- Destrehan, Louisiana
A. Try a product called Blue Magic Metal Polish =>
If that doesn't work, you can use a product called Mothers Metal Polish (more abrasive) =>
... then go back over the rims with the Blue Magic Metal Polish for a final shine.
If the rims are really bad, you may have to have them repolished ($80-$100/rim). I am assuming that they are not clear coated? If they are clear coated, before you get them polished you will have to strip the clear coat with a product called Tal-Strip [linked by editor to product info at Amazon], it is aircraft stripper. I think it runs about $30 a gallon. You use a paint brush to brush the stripper on the rims and leave the stripper work for about a half an hour and then you just hose them off with a garden hose.
Hope this helps,Brian Giller
- Bloomington, Illinois
A. Extreme metal polish has worked the best for me. I too have aluminum rims on a off-road truck and polish often. Just use a small piece of cloth and rub it on. Once it turns black (from Oxidation) take it off with another clean cloth. Then Polish with soft rag. It will look like you just had them professionally done!Glenn Merg
- Los Angeles, California
Q. I HAVE SOME MICKEY THOMPSON RIMS THAT ARE IN GOOD CONDITION BUT HAVE CALCIUM DEPOSITS ON IT FROM THE HARD WATER IN THIS AREA. I CANNOT FIND THE RIGHT CLEANER. I HAVE TRIED A FEW DIFFERENT THINGS IN AREAS THAT WILL NOT SHOW IF IT DOESN'T WORK. THE ONLY RESULTS I HAVE FOUND IS THAT EVERYTHING I HAVE TRIED FORMS A CLOUDY COAT ON MY RIMS AND IT TAKES FOREVER TO GET IT OFF. DOES ANYONE KNOW OF A SOLUTION THAT WILL REMOVE CALCIUM DEPOSITS OFF OF BRAND NEW RIMS. I HAVE TRIED ALMOST EVERYTHING BUT NOTHING SEEMS TO GET ME THE RESULTS I WANT. I WANT MY RIMS LOOKING LIKE THEY JUST CAME OUT OF THE BOX THEY ARE ONLY ABOUT 3 MONTHS OLD STILL SHINE BUT IF YOU LOOK CLOSE YOU CAN SEE THE CIRCLES OF CALCIUM AND IT DRIVES ME NUTS I AM A NEAT FREAK. IF ANYONE KNOWS OF A SOLUTION THAT WORKS THAT DEFINITELY WORKS PLEASE LET ME KNOW. THANKS FOR YOUR TIME. JUST A REMINDER THEY ARE POLISHED ALUMINUM AND I DON'T WANT THEM RUINED. THANKS AGAIN.
- JACKSONVILLE North Carolina
Q. Hey Guys! Us Girls have the same problem. I bought A nice truck which had a great set of tires but the rims were never taken care. I use Mothers but it takes forever. I was told that there is a polish or spray that Kenworth Trucks makes; it's their own brand do you know what it is?Liz Phillips
- Okeechobee, Florida
June 23, 2008
A. Steven: Brian's advice is probably good (thanks Brian!), but study up on the aircraft stripper before using it. This is really noxious methylene chloride based stuff, and goggles [linked by editor to product info at Amazon], protective gloves [linked by editor to product info at Amazon], and excellent ventilation (working outdoors, upwind) are essential.
Hi, Liz. Sorry, I haven't heard of Kenworth polish, but we have an informative and amusing thread on Making "Moonshine" Aluminum Polish.
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey
December 16, 2014 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread
Q. I am looking to purchase a new Chevrolet that has 18" Factory/OEM Aluminum Wheels. They seem a little on the dull side. Is there anything that can be done to make them shine to look more like chrome?Paul Piazza
Buyer - Brentwood, California
December 20, 2014
A. Hello Paul,
I don't think you are able to shine up Aluminum alloy rims to match chrome. They are usually a semi-bright to a matte finish. I have seen cases where a dealership detailer will mistakenly use a harsh detergent (highly alkaline in nature) on rims that altered the finish. You could try a good aluminum polish available at an auto parts store. Good Luck with your new vehicle!
Process Engineer - Phoenix, Arizona USA
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