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Old 12-11-2017, 06:11 PM
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Polished Aluminum Wheels (First Set)

Hello, i am new to this forum. However, I have gotten a lot of useful information here before.

I recently just ordered myself a set of bare polished aluminum wheels. They are amazing looking! Anyways i have a couple of questions regarding maintenance to keep them looking like new for as long as possible since i have never had polished aluminum wheels or even bare aluminum wheels.

I recently went to the store and picked up some Mothers Mag and Alum polish, some pads to apply it, microfiber towels, and Some Mothers California Gold Wax to hopefully protect and maintain these wheels.

My first and most important question:
1. These are my only set of wheels, meaning ill be driving on winter roads with them (salt). How can i protect them the best? My idea is to wax them before i use them (as a layer of protectant) and then wash weekly and not drive in the freshly salted roads. will this be fine? taking them off isn't an option unfortunately.

2. Is the Mother's Cali Gold wax fine to use on wheels? I couldn't find a wax specific to wheels. Is their something better to use at a local auto parts store?

3. How will i remove this wax to repolish later without possibly hurting my wheels?

4. If i polish them now will i be able to achieve a better finish on them than what the factory did?

Thanks guys and i apologize if some of these questions are dumb but i have never had a vehicle i actually care about until now! I have Mickey Thompson Classic III wheels if you are wondering.

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Old 12-11-2017, 08:06 PM
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Everyone has what they consider the best, me have had raw/uncoated aluminum wheels for years, current car 17 years.

*To clean.... nothing beats:
Eagle one
pH neutral formula great for aluminum

*To polish

Tools: Buy a pack of white athletic socks from Wally World

Good polish:
Met-All Aluminum and Stainless Steel Polish - SkyGeek.com

* The method and the secret to polishing aluminum easily.

* The secret, do not use to much polish, do not let it stand, rub on/ rub off
1 pull a sock on your hand like a glove.
2 dip the sock into the polish, two fingers, bottom side, about the first joint
3 smear the wax around, start rubbing, and notice things start to turn black
4 go back to that area, with a clean sock, wipe off the wax, don't be concerned if some residue is left,
5 continue a little at at time, 1/4 or 1/2 of the wheel at a time, you will do larger areas as you learn.
6 once the wheel has been done, give the wheel a final buff, I like cotton T shirts for this.
The main objective at this stage is to remove any remaining polish, haze Any left will have had the time to dry out and comes off easily

Also applying the polish it does not take lots of pressure, more pressure does not mean or give a deeper shine.

Aluminum has its own luster, it is shinny, but unlike chrome.

It is also soft, taking care not to scratch the surface, is the goal. I would never and have ever use any fuzzBall on an electric drill around my wheels, an accident waiting to happen..

This my .02 I'm sure others will have their favorite wheel polishing dance and chime in.

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Old 12-11-2017, 08:38 PM
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Thanks for the advice on how to polish the wheels! i will try the sock/t-shirt method once i use my pads and microfiber towels.
Do you have any knowledge of using wax on your wheels? Ive read the aluminum is sensitive, and some products can stain the wheels. will normal car wax be just fine? ive read the whole package and it says nothing about not using it on wheels.
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Old 12-11-2017, 09:39 PM
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just use aluminum polish. that's what it's made for. Aluminum can absorb stuff and become discolored. Best to stick with polish.
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Old 12-11-2017, 11:05 PM
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Where are you located, as far as weather is concerned??

I know here is Michigan, a heavy salt use state, that there is NOTHING that will protect bare aluminum through the winter, at least not that I have found. I've heard that there is a spray-on coating the truckers use, but haven't searched further. Another idea I've seen posted was to Plasti-Dip spray coating, then peel them clean in the spring.

Traditionally, if you wanted polished aluminum wheels to stay nice in this area, you take them off and put a beater set of wheels on for the winter. That is still the best plan, throw some cheap tires on your original wheels, or don't install you new aluminums until next spring.
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Old 12-12-2017, 06:55 AM
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Currently I am located in Michigan. Plastidip might be the way to go actually. i've read that some people use cooking spray (PAM) with good luck. Unfortunately i dont have the momey for new tires/wheels. I will try to find some wheel wax and be religious about putting it on. I really only want to put stuff that is designed for wheels on my wheels unless i have read that some things are perfectly safe.
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Old 12-12-2017, 08:36 AM
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Its what our local fire dept uses to seal aluminum; it does alter the appearance slightly. Another option is a clear epoxy paint or clear powdercoat.
I'd prefer the clear powdercoat. Your problem is going to be the abraisiveness of salt, it will literally sand off most coatings. Pam, Wax, Sharkhyde...its just going to get ground off. And then the aluminum oxidizes.
For the price of these coatings and waxes...go to the junkyard and get 4 steel rims or buy them on craigs, FB, whatever.

I get all my polishing/buffing materials from Caswell Plating. I bought their aluminum polishing kit 10yrs ago and still have half a bar of fine polishing compound and several of their flannel buffing wheels and cones left. For simple stuff, Magic Mix sold by Valco is amazing stuff and its easy to buff off. Wax? I like Meguiars NXT Tech wax (liquid). Pam and things like it is mostly foodgrade silicone and butter flavoring.
However, a lot of painters will tell you that spraying silicone or using the silicone-laced touchup waxes can be an absolute bear with creating fish-eyes in fresh paint (I dont spray those products in my garage, always outside for that reason).

Eric's Plasti-dip suggestion is great if you can't get steel wheels (or junker aluminum ones).
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