Do alloy wheels rust

This blog post will answer the question, “do alloy wheels rust” and cover topics like how to remove alloy wheels corrosion and frequently asked questions.

Do alloy wheels rust?

No, alloy wheels do not rust. They do, however, corrode, which is similar to rusting but differs somewhat. Corrosion generates white areas on the alloy wheel, while rust gives a brownish-orange tint. Alloy wheels may rust as a result of a scratch.

What is Alloy Wheel Corrosion Symptoms?

Alloy wheel corrosion symptoms are whitish patches formation on the alloy wheels. Early indicators of clear coat deterioration often show around lug holes. Tipoffs include discolored coatings and “bubbling” around the apertures. When a lug wrench scrapes the surface during tire replacements or rotations, the regions are commonly weakened. Clearcoat damage is likely if you come into touch with a curb or road debris from a pothole. Take a look at it. Any moisture, filth, salt, or chemical that gets into these places hastens the process.

Damage is covered by the tire or on the inside of the wheel in certain places, making it difficult to identify. By the time rust appears on the wheel’s face, it has most likely established a firm grip on an interior surface. The only way to be certain is to remove the wheel and tire and check them.

You’d use it if there was a simple method to prevent alloy wheel rust, wouldn’t you? Wheel cleaning solutions marketed as safe for alloy wheels exist. However, some aren’t, so be cautious about what you put on those high-priced rims.

If corrosion has created pitting after the winter muck has washed away, washing isn’t the solution. Only flat surfaces are suitable for polishing. The first option is to have the rim professionally reconditioned. In the worst-case scenario, you’ll have to replace it.

What Causes Alloy Wheel Corrosion?

There are three major causes of corrosion-related wheel damage:

  • Surface pitting
  • Iron contamination
  • Wheel cleaner

Now I will elaborate on them:

  • Surface pitting — when the factory-applied clear layer is pierced, steel and alloy wheels rust as the coating peels away. Weather, driving conditions, or a collision with broken curb damage the “skin,” and the process starts. The underneath metal is exposed to the atmosphere, water, and pollutants once the transparent covering is damaged, even if just slightly. Pitting not only looks awful, but it may also lead to severe tire leaks if left unchecked.
  • Rust of aluminum alloy and steel wheels may be caused by iron contamination from brake pads. When brake discs and pads collide, heat is generated, and sections of the pads are worn away. These scorching coatings adhere to the rim. Metal and adhesive particles not only discolor the rim but also permeate the clear coat. The easiest method to prevent serious pitting and extend the life of your precious wheels is to have them professionally cleaned to eliminate iron from the rims.
  • Wheel cleaners can also cause them to rust. Why highlight the necessity for “professional cleaning” when there are potentially hazardous cleansers? Because utilizing incorrect cleaning products might create more damage than good. If acid-based cleaners are kept in the wheel for too long, they will remove the factory clear finish and cause rusting. It requires practice and talent to know what to use and how to utilize it.

Protect Your Investment by Learning About Alloy Wheel Corrosion

According to national data, drivers in the United States spend roughly $3 billion each year on corrosion-related repairs. The expense of fixing or replacing several rusted wheels quickly mounts up.

Knowing what your wheels are built of might help you anticipate what to expect from adverse road conditions. Some materials are more resistant to road salts and corrosives than others. In today’s cars, there are two fundamental types of wheels:

  • Steel wheels — steel wheels are the most basic and low-cost alternative. They’re on a lot of older models as well as a lot of low-cost new ones. Steel rims are more substantial than aluminum alloy or other kinds of rims. When scraped or otherwise damaged, they are susceptible to oxidation, or rust.
  • Aluminum alloy wheels – Aluminum alloy wheels are standard on most new automobiles. They’re a lot lighter than steel and don’t oxidize.

Magnesium wheels are a third alternative that is often offered as an aftermarket add-on. They are lightweight, durable, and corrosion-resistant, and were made famous in the 1960s and 1970s when everyone desired “mag wheels.” They’re also on the more expensive side of things.

When creating a strategy to maintain high-end wheels and custom wheels looking nice and working, keep the following three procedures in mind:

  • Cleaning on a regular basis – if you’re cautious, you can handle this on your own. Remove brake dust as quickly as possible – a hose with adequate pressure is an excellent place to start. Always rinse thoroughly after using a low-pH or pH-balanced (non-acid) cleaner.
  • Polishing – apply a polish designed exclusively for your wheels and rims.
  • Electroplating – a skilled plating service can apply exotic metals like chrome, zinc, and nickel to your wheels and rims. The new metal coating adds value to the piece while also protecting it from corrosion.

How to Clean Alloy Wheels Corrosion?

If left uncontrolled, corrosion on alloy wheels is both unsightly and possibly dangerous. There are three easy techniques to eliminate rust off rims that don’t need any special equipment or a lot of work.

Following techniques are used to remove alloy wheel corrosion:

  • The Water and Brush Technique
  • The Method of White Vinegar
  • The Magica Technique

The Water and Brush Technique

If the rust isn’t too heavy and entrenched, it may be able to remove with only water, disinfecting soap, and a brush. Eggleston suggests first cleaning the whole rim with soap and hot water, then scrubbing the oxidation away with the brush.

A wire brush or scouring pad may be useful if the corrosion is more difficult to remove. Keep in mind that this is a delicate scouring pad, not a hard and aggressive one. After the oxidation has been removed, polish the rim with a soft microfiber to restore its luster.

The Method of White Vinegar

Tammi Clements recommends using white vinegar as an alternate technique of elimination. Only 12 ounces of white vinegar, a spray bottle to administer the vinegar, a fine-grade pad of steel wool, and a towel are required for her do-it-yourself procedure. 


  • To eliminate corrosion, spray the vinegar all over the corroded section of the rim and scrape it in. 
  • After that, sprinkle the rim with extra vinegar and set it aside for half an hour. 
  • After the time has gone, wash the vinegar away using a garden hose. 
  • The oxidation should be gone by now, but if the white vinegar still needs a boost, try adding some sodium bicarbonate. 
  • The last step is to dry the rims with a towel.
Materials Needed
Spray bottle
Steel wool

The Magica Technique

If the first two approaches don’t work, you don’t have to give up. Instead, treat your rims with Magica corrosion removing spray. Magica can cure oxidation spots fast and effectively, preventing them from spreading. Furthermore, its effects are limited to rust. 

Magica is often used in the vehicle repair business since it contains no corrosive elements, which means it won’t damage other components. Even if other rust-removal treatments have failed, Magica has a strong possibility of safely restoring your rims to like-new condition.

Method of removing corrosion from alloy wheels

Here are the 5 actions you may follow to eliminate the rust from your vehicle’s alloy wheels.

  • Use soap and water to clean the wheels
  • Remove large particles with wheel clay:
  • Polish the wheel
  • Wrap the wheel in wheel wax

Use soap and water to clean the wheels


  • You’ll need to properly clean your car’s wheels with freshwater and an all-purpose cleanser before you can start eliminating rust.
  • Start by using a power washer to clean the wheels. If you don’t have access to a power washer, a standard hose with a spray nozzle would suffice. Your goal is to get rid of as much dirt, grime, and other debris as you can.
  • After you’ve finished spraying, use a clean cloth to apply soap to the tires. Make sure you go into all of the nooks and crannies you can. 
  • Sprinkle the wheels one more when you’ve finished with the soap. You may keep doing this until you’re satisfied that the tires are clean enough.
  • Wash the wheels well and dry them with a clean microfiber towel after you’re through with the initial round of cleaning. You’re now ready to go on to a more thorough cleaning.
Materials Needed
Spraying bottle
Microfiber Cloth

Remove large particles with wheel clay:

This step is optional, but I strongly suggest it if your car’s wheels are very dirty or heavily pitted. You can do it by following the steps given below:

  • Begin by lubricating your car’s wheels with wheel clay lubricant. 
  • Then, using a huge block of clay, form a flat patty, similar to a little hamburger. 
  • Rub the clay all over the wheel, folding it to a clean part as soon as it becomes too filthy.
  • Simply rinse the wheel with water to remove any leftover clay or grease after you’ve removed the more obstinate pieces of dirt. 
  • As usual, use a clean microfiber towel to completely dry the wheel.

Polish the wheel

The most crucial step in eliminating rust from alloy wheels is polishing – and it’s also the most time-consuming! Despite how tiresome this process may seem, it is critical that you do not speed through it.

Steps of polishing the wheel:

  • Start by putting your wheel polish to a wool polishing head if you’re using a power sander. 
  • Then, adjust your sander’s power to a low level – approximately 1000 RPM should suffice. Apply the polish on the wheel slowly and evenly.
  • Start gradually increasing the RPM once you’ve polished the wheel. You won’t need to go faster than 3000 RPM. Buff the wheel until there are no more indications of rust visible.
  • You’ll have a lot more work to do if you want to utilize sandpaper instead of a power sander.
  • To begin, moisten the wheel with water before adding any polish. Then begin rubbing away any corrosion with the coarsest grain sandpaper. 
  • As the rust fades, gradually finer grits should be used, and the wheel should be kept moist with water. After sanding, use a clean microfiber cloth to apply wheel polish to the wheel.
  • You’ll need to wipe away any residual polish with a clean cloth, regardless of whatever approach you employ. Your aluminum wheels should not only be corrosion-free at this time, but they should also appear like new!
Materials Needed
Microfiber cloth
Wheel polish

Wrap the wheel in wheel wax

This step, like step 3, is optional, but I strongly advise you to take it! Your car’s wheels may be brighter than the sun right now, but that doesn’t mean they’re safe from additional harm.

Even though your wheel polish promises to prevent aluminum wheels from corrosion, using wheel wax now will save you a lot of work later. It adds an additional layer of protection to your car’s wheels, preventing moisture, dirt, oil, and other damaging factors from eating away at them. You won’t need to reapply wax for a long time after applying it – your tires will be protected for a long time!

Steps of applying wax:

  • Apply the wheel wax using a clean cloth, ensuring that it is uniformly distributed and that no residue is left behind. 
  • Then you should wait for it to dry. 
  • Wipe it down with a clean towel after it’s completely dry. 

It’s that easy, and you won’t have to worry about removing corrosion from your radiant aluminum wheels for years.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs), “Do alloy wheels rust?”

Are alloy wheels rust-proof?

Performance: Alloy wheels transfer less weight to the coil spring owing to their lightweight design, resulting in superior grip and traction. Additionally, there is a notable change in steering and cornering ability. Another thumbs up for Rust Proof. Alloys are corrosion-resistant!

How do you stop alloy wheels from rusting?

Spend time cleaning the filth and grime with soap and water on a cool wheel, giving special attention to the hard-to-reach areas. By keeping the wheel clean, you may avoid sealing any possible sources of future corrosion.

What are the disadvantages of alloy wheels?


With alloy wheels, endurance is a crucial consideration. In the event of a collision, alloy wheels flex and even shatter more readily than steel wheels.

The cost of alloy wheels is higher.

Are alloy wheels good for off-road?

Alloy wheels are fantastic; they’re robust, durable, and ideal for tubeless tires. However, all of this comes at a cost: they are not as flexible as spoke wheels, which are suggested for off-roading. If you don’t want it to happen, getting the tires tubed is a preferable alternative.

Do alloy wheels scratch easily?

Scrapes and dents may diminish the appearance of your alloy wheels. However, if the damage to your alloy rim is minor, you may typically fix it yourself. Then, to repair their quality and keep them looking excellent, sand, fill and paint your alloy rims.

Why are my alloy wheels rusting?

Alloy wheels may rust as a result of a scrape. This is because, although alloy wheels have a particular protective coating meant to prevent corrosion, a scrape may breach this finish, enabling rust to enter the gap and destroy the alloy.


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