Cleaning alloy wheels

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My BMW 530i is fitted with the original standard alloys which have now become badly ingrained with brake dust etc which will not come off with brush, sponge, power water jet etc.
I purchased some CarPlan 'Wonderwheels' and read the instructions which say (amongst other things):
"This product is not suitable for use on the following surface types: unlaquered, forged, anodised, chrome plated, polished"
This seems to cover most surface types!! Does anyone know what surface type my original standard BMW alloys might have? and whether 'WonderWheels' might damage them? ('WonderWheels' is alleged to contain hydrochloric acid).
Has anyone got alternative suggestions for cleaning these wheels?
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Your wheels are lacquered - so you should be OK. Most proprietary alloy wheel cleaners are useless though at the job they are sold for, you need to buy one that contains phosphoric acid or similar (often these are sold as atomisers). You must clean wheels regularly and remove all traces of dirt or (depending on where you live) they will soon become beyond any quick clean up. Not many folks like sitting by a wheel with a toothbrush but that's often what it takes. Also, every time that you take a wheel off you should thoroughly clean the inside whilst you have the chance.
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And wax them as well, makes them easier to clean next time.
--
Dan



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Wipe them with cooking oil, I was told.
--
Regards, Vince.

www.TruckDrivingInRussia.co.uk
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Dilute hydrochloric Acid - talk to your local pharmacist or better still ask your kids science teacher at school the Science dept carry gallons of the stuff.
You can mix a bit of Sugar soap or washing up liquid with it and get a stiff brush. Use an old kitchen cleaner spray bottle and spray the solution on the wheels then wait about 10 mins and scrub. then wash off.
Better to remove the wheel and really SCRAPE the stuck on brake dust on the inside of the wheel then spray the inner wheel and scrub then turn it over and do the same to the outside.
Be careful with the HCL as it is corrosive in concentrated form and can play havoc with dogs and cats feet let alone your own skin if hypersensitive.
If you use the expensive wheel cleaners you will find they use diluted HCL
Sir Hugh of Bognor
The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys. Intelligence is not knowing the answer but knowing where and how to find it!
Hugh Gundersen snipped-for-privacy@h-gee.co.uk Bognor Regis, W.Sussex, England, UK
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In my experience, pharmacists will not sell Hydrochloric Acid, but old-fashioned hardware shops of the type where the proprieter wears a brown coat will.
It is sold as "Spirit of Salts" at 35% concentration and is generally used as a toilet descaler and to clean brickwork.
Never heard of it used to clean alloy wheels. I suppose it is feasible but wouldn't it damage the lacquer?
--
Regards, Vince.

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[snip]

Can't help but get an image of Ronnie Barker in "Open all hours" wearing a brown coat ;)

not harm factory baked lacquer.
I tried all kinds of chemical and solvent cleaners to remove the baked on brake dust from my lacquered Escort alloy wheels to no avail, I found the only product that removed it easily and quickly was a rubbing down compound like Farecla G3.
Stephen.
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Except those that use sodium hydroxide. ("P21S" iirc).
--
Need Mercedes parts? http://parts.mbz.org
Richard Sexton | Mercedes stuff: http://mbz.org
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Why not use sulfuric or fluorhydric with, in addition, sand paper plus a chisel and a hammer ????????? HCl etches the aluminum. Don't use it at all, even in a very diluted solution. If your rims are bolted, the risk is not negligeable because the acid might remain within the small intervals or below the bolt heads. It will ruin slowly and slyly the metal the rims are made of.
Dedicated cleaners, recommended by BMW wouldn't hurt your rims as far you are quick enough. The rest of the job being done with elbow grease !
I never used such agents on my Z3 rims. They're 5-year old. No deposit, no dust. A regular washing with the BMW Wash'n Wax plus a quarterly waxing perfectly did the job.
Now you're aware of the old wives' remedies. It's up to you to prefer playing Russian roulette !

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We know that but BMW wheels - don't know what other crap we are talking about as this is x-posted to Merc and others - are lacquered so no aluminium to corrode unless you are in the habit of kerbing your wheels...

Agree
Yes SIR! But arse-holes like me that use their cars for transport instead of art objects DON'T do the spit and polish daily routine.........

Some folk win some folk lose but if you know the rules you can always win.
Russian Roulette --- must be played with a six chamer revolver. Ratchet disconnected and held with the barrel horizontal to the floor and the trigger guard pointing to the ground (normal use position.) - the single bullit will always fall to the lowest point therefore whether it be a colt or Smith&Wesson (righ or left index) the next trigger pull will always be empty. Be careful there are other variations on this and some folk play with all six chambers full-?

Bognor Regis, W.Sussex, England, UK
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Personally I prefer playing with the six chambers _empty_ ! The reason I replied :-)) Bye

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Try Rimjuice www.rimjuice.com
I have used it for a year and it works really well. You may need several treatments if the rims are really bad.
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Malcolm H wrote on 03/02/2007 :

The stuff sold by the 5L container for cleaning the external parts of air conditioning systems is suggested to work well and is cheap.
--

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Harry (M1BYT) (L)
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"Wonderwheels" will work, clean as much off as poss. first, follow instructions on box. Then... clean again, I use a citrus degreaser with a 1/2" paintbrush with the bristles cut to half original length. Then claybar, then polish with normal car polish then wax, you can get wheel wax but I just use normal stuff.
In theory they should come up like new. In practice you might have to repeat several steps to get all the welded on brake dust off.
Worst part of a car to clean by far!
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Many thanks for all your good advice guys, very helpful indeed!
Malcolm
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Visit www.detailingworld.co.uk The best way to keep wheels good is to stay on top of a regular cleaning regime, use a session of WW then a strong TFR , some soiling will diminish in acid solutions some in alkali, however you will then have to avert to a brush, once clean cover the wheels with autoglym wheel shine and they will be easier to clean after that. It's probably worth waiting until the warmer weather now and taking the wheels off to clean them.
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wrote:

Bognor Regis, W.Sussex, England, UK
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I used a product called BARKEEPERS FRIEND. It is a powder that you sprinkle on, like Comet, and it cleans stainless steel cookware and kitchen appliances. It is not a chlorine based product, like Comet is, but you apply and use it in a similar way.
My brother and I used some to clean the wheels on his truck that had become encrusted with brake dust.

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and the result was = no brake dust and no wheels...

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???
The result was clean wheels. I thought that was pretty clear.

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