Quick Wheel Cleaning Basics – Show Prep Without Breaking the Bank


You asked for my wheel cleaning process…

I use a set of 12″ long 2 x 6 planks or double (side by side) 2 x 4s that I drive up on to get my tires off the ground so I can easily scrub all the way around. I’m not brand focused or sponsored I use all different products because it’s just what works best for me at the best cost.

It is very important you repeat the steps below every time you wash your car. If you don’t remove the old product before you apply new you wind up layering tire gel and brake dust resulting in a shiny brown tire.


1. Super light spray of water on the tires. Don’t to do an initial rinse yet. The best product I have used to date is Adam’s tire and rubber cleaner . Spray the tires liberally with the product then agitate and spread with a stiff bristle brush right away. Let it sit for 2 minutes then spray and scrub well.


2. Rinse and repeat step 1 then after your last scrub take a coarse microfiber rag I use Kirkland Yellow Microfiber specifically for this task as they don’t disintegrate when you scrub rubber. using the dry microfiber scrub the tires still wet with the Adams product good and hard. The microfiber really picks up the left over tire shine. don’t forget to do the bead between the tire and wheel this area really holds the tire shine. If your tires are really gooped up you can repeat step 2 one more time

3. Now I hose off the wheel and tires really well, then scrub my wheels and calipers by hand using Meguiar’s G17748 Wash and Wax. I avoid chemicals on the wheels, just my personal preference. I use Fresh Kirkland Yellow Microfiber (same as the ones I use to scrub tires just new ones) and also 3 piece Detail brushes to get in all the tight spaces. Rear wheel first, then front, after one side I empty the bucket, refill with Fresh suds and a new rag and do the other side. If your wheels are very dirty you should rinse and refill the suds with every wheel.

4. I blow dry the tires and wheels with my WORX mini blower it has enough power to dry the wheels and when I wash the car all the badges, grills and other crevices. it also has a flexible hose attachment so you can focus the air like when cleaning the engine bay.

At this point my tires are really clean and have a nice satin finish. for the most part I do not dress the tires I like the satin clean look  (fresh from a wash) but I do understand some people really enjoy a shiny tires, especially car show judges so when I need to dress my tires like this I use Meguiar’s G7516 Endurance Tire Gel and apply with a cheap tire gel applicator like these.  I used to buy nice ones with handles, but they get so nasty so the cheap ones are better and can fit into a small zip lock back for storage.

5. I use a pair of Nitrile gloves for this because it gets messy. I spread a good amount of tire gel on the applicator and rub it into the tire, add more as necessary to coat the tire well. Don’t worry about spreading it perfectly just make sure the entire tire is covered then let it sit for 10 –20 minutes. go back with a fresh Kirkland Yellow Microfiber and rub off the excess to prevent sling while driving.

if you are showing the car and want super gloss. When you get to the show wipe down the tire with a microfiber to clean off any road dirt, then re apply the gel evenly and don’t wipe off. Before you leave the show rub off the excess with a microfiber to prevent sling.


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