Removing rust from aluminum wheels

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

Removing rust from aluminum wheels?

Steps of removing rust from aluminum wheels:

  • Scrub the wheel with a steel wool pad and enough water until all of the corrosion has disappeared. 
  • Using clean water, wash the area. 
  • Spray the wheel with WD-40 and use a dry clean cloth to remove the corrosion. 
  • A little layer of WD-40 will assist prevent rust from forming again, but it won’t help much with the shine.

Corrosion on aluminum wheels: How to remove it?

Here are the 5 actions you may follow to eliminate the rust from your vehicle’s aluminum wheels now that you’re acquainted with the supplies you’ll need.

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

Use soap and water to clean the wheels

Steps of cleaning  aluminum 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

Use a wheel cleaner to clean wheels:

It’s time to apply the tire cleaner after you’ve finished cleaning your vehicle’s wheels with soap and water. While you should always read and follow the directions that came with your tire cleaner, the procedure is typically the same regardless of whatever cleaner you use.

Note: The subsequent stages should be completed one tire at a time!

Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when applying the wheel cleaner to your vehicle’s wheel. You’ll need to massage it in with a soft wheel brush once you’ve applied it. There’s no need to brush too hard; too much elbow grease may cause the wheel to scrape!

The wheel should already be brighter and less rusted at this point. After brushing the wheel, wash it with water and dry it with a clean towel.

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.

Steps of using wheel clay on aluminum wheels:

  • 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 aluminum 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 wheels:

  • 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!

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.

What’s the biggest deal with corrosion on aluminum wheels?

Let’s face it: many automobile owners fail to maintain their vehicle’s wheels. I can see your point of view. Cleaning your car’s wheels entails going down on your hands and knees and scrubbing the dirtiest portion of your vehicle with your wrists. This isn’t the most thrilling way to spend your weekend!

However, neglecting to maintain your wheels might result in unattractive rust. When dirt, water, brake fluid, and other foreign elements gather on wheels, corrosion occurs. Aluminum oxidizes as a result of these materials, which is similar to iron or steel rusting.

Corrosion on aluminum wheels is unsightly, making your car appear old and cheap. More importantly, if corrosion is not addressed, it can permanently damage your car’s wheels. It can be costly to replace corroded wheels, so why let it get to that point?

Fortunately, aluminum wheels that show signs of corrosion can be salvaged. You may preserve your car’s wheels before it’s too late if you have a little know-how and determination.

Coated or uncoated Aluminum wheels?

Aluminum wheels aren’t all made equal. Some aluminum wheels have a special protective coating, while others do not.

Obviously, the procedure of eliminating rust from coated and uncoated aluminum wheels differs. As a result, knowing what sort of wheels your automobile has is crucial! If you put the incorrect product on the wrong kind of wheel, you risk exacerbating any existing damage.

Fortunately, determining whether aluminum wheels are coated or uncoated is simple. Using a clean cloth, apply a little amount of aluminum polish. If there is a black residue on the cloth after rubbing the polish on the wheel’s most corroded region, the wheel is uncoated. This should only be done after the wheel has been completely cleaned.

How to Clean Steel Wheels of Rust?

If left uncontrolled, corrosion on steel 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.

  • 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 it 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 let 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.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs), “Removing rust from aluminum wheels?”

Does vinegar remove rust from aluminum?

Another method for removing corrosion is to use a piece of aluminum foil bathed in vinegar to wipe the corrosion away from the item. Soak the item in ordinary vinegar for 24 hours to reduce the quantity of cleaning that will be required.

Does WD-40 remove rust from aluminum?

By entering the porous layer of rust and employing its lubricating characteristics to remove it, WD-40 is meant to loosen the bonds between corrosion and the metal surface it has clung to. To eliminate surface rust, just spray it on the corroded surface, wait 10 minutes, and it will begin to act on the rust.

Does baking soda harm aluminum?

Aluminum. It’s OK to use sodium bicarbonate to clean metal pots and pans; just remember to rinse them well afterward. “Baking soda may cause the metal to rust,” said Chore Bliss creator Jack Prenter.

What is the best chemical to clean aluminum?

Vinegar is an excellent cleaner for metal. To make an acidic solution, combine one part white vinegar with one part water. Depending on the item to be cleaned, the solution may subsequently be utilized in a variety of ways. Immerse a cloth into the liquid and scrub the item thoroughly to clean and shine it.

Can vinegar clean aluminum rims?

Vinegar may be used to clean metal in a variety of ways. Pour vinegar on the aluminum wheels and polish or clean them with a sponge or clean cloth in a circular motion. As needed, repeat the process.

How do you remove stains from aluminum rims?

  • Combine 2 cups non-bleach dish soap and 4 cups boiling water in a large mixing bowl. 
  • Combine the cleaning solution. 
  • Scrape each wheel well with a scrub brush before rinsing with water.


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