Autoglym Australia & New Zealand blog

Safely cleaning all aftermarket wheels

When buying custom aftermarket wheels, the choice of finish and build can leave many stuck knowing how best to safely clean them.

Aftermarket wheels are always on the top of the list for modifications. The scale of choice in colours, material from alloy, lacquered alloy, steel – brushed and polished, chrome, painted and anodized as well as the type of construction is immense, making sure any taste is satisfied.

We buy these wheels with our hearts, not with our heads and thinking about how to clean them never comes into mind before we are happily cruising.

Let’s be honest, cleaning wheels properly is back braking work. It’s dirty, time consuming that is tricky at the best of times and scary for some. Knowing how to look after an investment that can run into four figures each is essential in looking good and keeping their value.

Grabbing any wheel cleaner off the shelf and expecting it to safely clean is gambling your very nice set of rims on a few dollars and a bit of research time.


Many aftermarket wheels are split rims which means they are made from two pieces. These two pieces are then screwed together to form one piece.


What happens when an aggressive wheel cleaner is used on these types of rims is that where the wheels are connected don’t get rinsed enough and leave behind elements of the cleaner. Over time corrosive wheels cleaner can slowly eat away at the wheel unseen until it’s too late.


Normal OEM alloys can usually be cleaned with a variety of cleaners with no visible side effects on the face of the wheel. Painted and anodized wheels are a different story. Cleaning with an aggressive wheel cleaner will remove the dirt and grime quickly however the finish will often be marred straight after rinsing. This can range from a white coating seen on dark finishes to over longer periods of time fading the finish colour.



Something that can happen to any car is getting the wheel seized to the hub. Usually not known until the wheel needs to be removed for a flat tyre or rotation, aggressive wheel cleaners can often rust the wheel hub to the wheel.



In some cases a soft safe wheel cleaner can mean the dirt isn’t shifted. The trick is to get a wheel cleaner that cleans the dirt quickly, while still being safe for all types of wheels.


If you think spraying all the wheels and leaving is the right way to go then think again. Wheel cleaners are designed to be sprayed, agitated and rinsed in quick succession. Tackling those three stages one wheel at a time will ensure you focus on the wheel, clean it properly and don’t leave the solution on too long.



Tackling your wheels may sound scary now but it shouldn’t be. Autoglym Custom Wheel Kit Cleaner has everything needed to clean any wheel safely and quickly.

The kit includes the larger 1L Custom Wheel Cleaner so you can either go crazy or get multiple washes from it. The formulation is designed solely for the different types of wheels on the market and also to be safe for all OEM wheels and car hubs.

The kits also comes with two soft bristled wheel brushes that can be used to get around any multi-spoked wheel, screws and joins of a split rim without scratching or damaging the finish. Having these brushes allows proper agitation of the cleaner and helps remove stubborn brake dust easier.



Having great looking rims sets off any car and a set of clean custom wheels is the envy of most enthusiasts. Just remember to have the right product for the job and your rims will look great for the life of the vehicle.

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