Polished aluminum truck wheels not only look great, but they’re also an essential component of a wheel maintenance routine. Aluminum wheels will dull over time due to road dirt and other contaminants which means they need to be polished frequently to keep them shiny. These five tips on how to clean and polish aluminum truck wheels will make your wheels glisten brightly and better protect them from corrosion and brake dust buildup.
1. Prep or wash the wheels.
How to clean aluminum truck wheels. Cleaning aluminum truck wheels prior to polishing will remove superficial dirt to check the condition of the wheels. Using an aluminum wheel cleaner, rinsing with a hose, or pressure washing loosens dirt, grease, grime, and brake dust on the wheels. However, avoid using strong detergents as well as alkaline or acidic cleaners since they can damage the aluminum’s surface and leave dull areas. Make sure the wheel is at ambient temperature before applying cleaning chemicals.
Try cleaning inside the hand holes and around the stud holes for even better results. Use a soft-bristle brush (not a wire brush) while applying water to scrub the surface, hand holes, and stud holes. Then rinse the wheels off before moving to a sanding or polishing process. A thorough pre and/or pre-wash is crucial for successfully polishing aluminum truck wheels.
2. Remove oxidization.
If you discover oxidation, which happens when bare aluminum wheels are exposed to oxygen and water, then it will need to be removed from the truck wheels before polishing. One way to remove heavy oxidization is to run the aluminum truck wheels through the VIS-Polish, an automated wheel polishing machine The VIS-Polish system’s automated sanding cycles remove heavy oxidization quickly and easily to restore the wheel’s shine.
3. Use a machine to polish and buff.
How to polish aluminum truck wheels. Reduce time and labor spent polishing and buffing aluminum truck wheels by using a machine to do most of the hard work. Machine polished wheels can be done in a fraction of the time it takes to do it by hand. Also, polishing by hand presents many health hazards due to exposure to aluminum dust, continuous vibration, and exposure to moving parts. A machine can reduce or even eliminate these health hazards.
4. Dry the wheels.
Water spots are a quick way to ruin the shine on perfectly polished aluminum wheels. The process of cleaning aluminum wheels should always include a step where you gently dry them and wipe away any brake dust. Avoid cross-contamination by using a separate microfiber towel that is designated only for drying and wash it separately from other towels.
5. Maintain and inspect aluminum wheels between service times.
Once wheels have been sanded and polished, keeping them clean and shiny will allow for easier checks on the wheel condition. A portable on-wheel polishing machine like the VIS-Shine is a maintenance and upkeep tool that helps keep the shine of your polished wheels between maintenance service times. It is able to clean, polish, and buff a wheel in 10-15 minutes which is much less time than doing it by hand and allows for quicker, more thorough inspections.
For All Your Wheel Polishing Needs
VIS offers equipment for polishing and cleaning aluminum wheels for trucks with the purpose of extending their life and safety. We manufacture and distribute a wide range of products for the trucking and transportation industry such as the VIS-Polish: Automated Aluminum Wheel Polishing, VIS-Check: Undercarriage Diagnostic System, Squirrel: Wheel Safety Device, VIS-Shine: On-Truck Wheel Polishing, and BrakeMate™ brake maintenance system.