Wheels - The things we roll on.
The round hoops that we roll on can be manufactured from a variety of materials, whether this is steel, alloy, magnesium or even carbon. Wheels are generally considered one of, if not, the most important aesthetic features of a car, and can make or break the appeal of a vehicle.
It just so happens that due to constantly being in use whilst driving, wheels are also arguably the dirtiest part of any vehicle. Whilst there are many pro's of alloy wheels, (improved braking, acceleration, steering and overall handling characteristics) there are also con's. The gloss, satin or matt finish that complete the look of the vehicle will need regular care to ensure it maintains its eye-catching finish.
20 years ago, the vast majority of cars that rolled off the production line included alloy wheels (steel on basic entry grade models), largely finished in a bright silver paint. Fast forward to 2021 and not only generic painted finishes are possible, but powder-coated, diamond cut, polished, and even chrome, with a wide variety of colours and 2-tone combinations to choose from.
Every finish requires a certain amount of respect with regards to what products are used to maintain them, and how. Alloy wheels from the manufacturer are finished to prevent corrosion and rust, albeit a lack of care can easily see the appearance diminish rapidly. Regardless of finish, wheels have a topcoat, just like the lacquer on your cars paintwork. When this topcoat heats up it becomes penetrable. One thing every car generates despite age, model or manufacturer, is carbon brake dust. This is caused by abrasion of the cast iron brake rotor and the brake pad, causing friction every time the brake pedal is compressed. In many cases there will also be metallic fibres from the pad also contributing to the discoloured dull appearance.
Rather than merely taking a bucket of water, sponge and pressure washing to rinse away the dirt, several steps should be taken to ensure damage isn't inflicted to the wheel whilst safely removing iron contaminates.
An iron fallout remover is an essential part of treating a wheel that is caked in brake dust. This chemical will slowly dissolve the iron particles once spritzed onto then wheel, in turn seemingly making the wheel 'bleed'. It looks dramatic, however this is an indication that the fallout product has successfully dissolved the iron particles, which can now be safely rinsed off. This alone can remove around 70% of dirt on the face and spokes of the wheel. However it doesn't stop at this point to achieve the desired finish.
A bucket of water (ideally pure to prevent water spotting), a grit guard and soapy suds is essential. Depending on the wheel design in front of you will depend on what wheel cleaning brushes to reach for. We have at least one for every potential scenario and wheel design, but the essentials are as follows:
Stiff bristled tyre brush - Ensuring the tyres are free of dirt ready for tyre dressing application at the end of the detail.
Barrel brush (small and large) - To successfully rid the magnitude of dirt built up in the wheel barrels.
Wheel nut brush - Design specifically to fit around the wheel nuts and clean efficiently.
Spoke brush - For agitating the soapy suds in-between the spokes.
Spoke Mitt - An alternative to the brush ensuring you can reach every crevice.
These items in your detailing kit should enable you to come to a perfectly clean wheel upon completion.
After carefully bathing and agitating your wheels, if you still see signs of dirt that simply won't wash off, there is a likelihood that the wheels really should have been washed sooner.
Brakes can generate heat part 200 degrees Celsius with normal use. Aggressive, spirited driving can see temperatures soar beyond 540 degrees celsius! Now consider the topcoat becomes softer and penetrable when heated up, and solidifies when cooled down. If this is repeated over time without washing, the carbon brake dust and metallic filings can embed themselves into our topcoat, and be buried under further daily brake dust as the car is used. This unfortunately, is an irreversible process which can only be rectified by professional refurbishment or respraying of the wheels. Easily avoidable however, if the correct processes and regular maintenance are carried out.
On average Dynax Detailing Co. spend over an hour carefully treating your wheels to a lovely soft soak that they deserve. We appreciate time is a luxury, and many of us don't have it to merely wash our much loved wheels. As a professional mobile outfit, Dynax Detailing Co. is here to help. All of our services, from a Dynax Mini Valet through to our Dynax Ultimate Detail, carry out the correct processes, ensuring we achieve the very best results within the timeframe and budget. Ceramic brakes? No problem. Huge callipers that you cannot clean behind? No problem. Whether it's a high end supercar or daily driven family wagon, we've got you covered.
Need our help to keep you rolling in style? Get in touch here.
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