Wash, Wax, and Don’t Forget the Details

car washDear Tracy,
My mom is going to be going away on business for a few days, and I would like to surprise her by washing and waxing her car, including detailing the tires and wheels. She is so proud of  her “baby” but she has been working so much, she hasn’t had time to do the washing or tire detailing herself. Do you have any tips or suggestions for me?
– Ethan M.

Dear Ethan,
What a great surprise – your mom will really appreciate that! Wheel and tire detailing is not a difficult job – it just takes a little time and investment in the right cleaning products.

When you wash the car, have two wash buckets – one for the car and one for the wheels. Since tires tend to have more abrasive dirt on them, it is important not to use that cleaning water on your car’s painted surface. Clean the wheels and tires first, scrubbing  with a sturdy, soft-bristle brush to prevent scratching. Finish and rinse each tire before moving on to the next  so that the cleaning product doesn’t dry on the surface. After washing the entire car, dry it with a chamois, then towel dry each wheel. As with the water, designate a separate towel just for wheels and tires. After waxing the car, you should apply a wheel wax and tire dressing. Give your mom’s tire dealer or mechanic a call to find out the best product for her particular tires.

Although you may have a wide selection of cleaning products at home, but not all of those may be safe for cleaning wheels and tires. Non-petroleum based products should be used to clean tires.
A cleaner that has no abrasive detergents or harsh acids is the best option for your wheels. Look for products that are specifically designed for tires and wheels. There are many good ones on the market, including environmentally friendly formulas.

Clean tires and wheels not only make a car look great, it is an important step in good vehicle maintenance. Brake dust accumulates on your wheels and tires, and includes abrasive elements such as metal, adhesive, and carbon residue from your brake pads and rotor. Driving creates heat and friction that makes this dust extremely corrosive. Regular wheel cleaning removes the dusts and contributes to longer tire and wheel life as well as an awesome looking ride.