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3Fitty
Mar 24th, 2008, 04:39 AM
Admittedly, I'm very confused about how to clean my rims/wheels. I have a full stock 2008 IS350 (OEM rims). Lexus says the rims are "Aluminum Alloy" and I have NO IDEA if they are coated or not coated (heck, I have no idea what either means).

Although I don't know if it will help, here is a picture of the rim:

http://i83.photobucket.com/albums/j316/srose1389/PICT0007.jpg

So, my question is, how to clean, car and protect the rims, but before I ask, let me explain a few things.

The IS350 front brakes emit the most brake dust I've ever seen from any car I've ever owned. I pretty much have to wipe them down after any drive more than 20 minutes (in fact Lexus offers a free replacement of your pads to a less "grippy" ceramic brake bad that doesn't emit as much dust).

In any event, if they are really dirty I use the Gold Class all wheel cleaner, followed by a hose and a good scrubbing with a sponge (and a special brush for the lug nuts).

I have read that some people clay there rims and wax them or use the Hot Rims Mag and Aluminum Polish. This is where I start to get confused. I have (in the past) used a "Mag and Aluminum" type polish from Mothers and it said on the label to test the rim to see if it was coated or not. If black comes off, then ok, if not, then not ok (sort of thing).

Well, I tried it this weekend on a small portion (after I had thoroughly cleaned the rim) and nothing came off (I assumed because it was already clean). What should I be doing? I really am confused.

ozSS
Mar 24th, 2008, 07:27 AM
they look painted to me buddy, as in alloy rims painted silver and probably clear coat as well. im not familiar with gold class wheel cleaner but ive used Hot Rims all wheel cleaner on my own "hyper-silver" painted wheels for years without a problem, occasionally polishing with colour X and/or UQD. AWC is quite harsh (contains acid) but does an amazing job of removing brake dust and water spots, as i have aftermarket pads on my car which create heaps of dust.

what theyre referring to with the mothers polish is oxidization, if black comes off that is oxidized aluminium youre removing. i doubt youve hurt them trying the metal polish but relegate that stuff to chrome/brightwork duties and use a wheel cleaner (maybe the new alloy wheel cleaner spray)and wheel wax, or normal sealant, for your rims.

CosmoTiki
Mar 24th, 2008, 07:53 AM
I have a lot of experience with Nissan/Infiniti products, and suspect your Lexus' wheels are the same, that is, painted and clear-coated as ozSS says. With my 350Z and G35 Sedans, which have clear-coated OE wheels, I use All Wheel Cleaner and now follow the directions to the letter. That is, make sure the wheel is cool (not sitting in direct sun on an 80 degree day), and then I wash/dry one wheel at a time allowing the product to soak on the wheel for only the recommended time. I keep them cleaned (most of the time) between washes with Quik Wheel Detailer.

As ozSS says, AWC is moderately aggressive (same as Gold Class wheel cleaner). It has acid which helps remove the brake dust. I did notice, however, that AWC ate away at my brake caliper finish, which I found out was painted. This was before I read the directions and began following them. Since then, no problems at all (repainting the calipers are on the to-do list - I'm a bit of a whack-job on stuff like this).

Note: If you're concerned about the cleaner's agressiveness, Aluminum Wheel Cleaner, which is safe for polished aluminum (won't etch, little to no acid), is very safe but will require more agitation with a brush, wash-mitt, etc. DO NOT USE ANYONE'S CHROME WHEEL CLEANER, though. These formulas are highly caustic and will potentially damage a clear-coated wheel.

Finally, any metal polish, be it Mothers, Meguiars, Flitz, Wenol, etc. only works on raw metals (aluminum, magnesium, etc.) and removes oxidation... that's the black residue that appears on the polishing cloth after using it on a metal surface. If your wheels produced no black on the cloth, then it's reasonable to assume they're clear-coated - the metal polish will have no positive affect on the surface.

Hope this helps.

Murr1525
Mar 24th, 2008, 07:54 AM
Painted wheels can be treated like paint. You can wash with either soap/water, or one of the dedicated wheel cleaners like Hot Rims All-Wheel or the Aluminum Wheel Cleaner (formerly Multi-Piece Wheel Wash, which I use).

Then you can clay them if wanted (dont re-use that clay on the paint, but could go for mufflers/exhaust tips as well), and then can use a paint cleaner and wax, or a cleaner/wax as mentioned above.

Being a harsh environment, wax wont last as long as on paint, but some folks seem to get reasonable durability at least, and that would help with wiping off brake dust. Remember that the dedicated wheel cleaners would also remove wax.

EDIT:

Also, Nxt Metal Polysh is safe for clear/coated wheels, as it is a mild polish, but best to stick with paint products on paint. The Mag and Aluminum polish is for metal only.

3Fitty
Mar 24th, 2008, 07:56 AM
Thanks ozSS.

Tom MacDonald
Mar 24th, 2008, 11:55 AM
Hi Guys,

Just my 2 cents worth on this topic. These wheels should be clearcoated, My recommendation for care of the wheels. I always like to air on the side of caution with regards to wheel care. Plus, it looks like they have some type of anodized or paint on the calipers, so you want to preserve the nice cosmetic look of those as well.

Two options here:
1. Any of Meguiar's car wash soaps used with a dedicated wash mit or wheel brush. I also recommend applying a good coat of wax to the rims to keep the brake dust from bonding as easily. By using the car wash soap and not a wheel cleaner the wax protection will hold up longer on the wheel surface.

2. Hot Rims Aluminum Wheel Cleaner along with a wheel brush. This is our mildest wheel cleaner and will work well on wheels that are not left too long in between washes. If wheels are dirty, aggitation with a good brush maybe needed. You can still use the wax protection in between washes. However, was will not protect as well due to wheel cleaners being used.

Always remember that fast wheel care means aggressive cleaners!!! If you keep your wheels looking good in between washing then an aggressive wheel cleaner is really not needed.

Hope this helps.

Tom

3Fitty
Mar 24th, 2008, 12:07 PM
Awesome. Thanks.

jmitch8011
Jun 27th, 2008, 11:00 AM
Had a question that is kind of related. I have a neighbor who has a dodge 1500 ram with what he stated were clear coated rims. he said he couldn't get them back to the shine because they are kind of hazy. I don't know what product they tried but they mentioned mg's but not the mg awc directly. Does anyone know if these wheels are coated or not? The wheels look to be chrome.:help1

Tom MacDonald
Jun 27th, 2008, 11:55 AM
The best way to tell would be to do a test on a small area with a metal polish. Gently rub it into a clean surface using a white towel or microfiber towel. Check the towel for color. If the wheel is chrome it will come back with slight coloring or none at all. If the wheel is uncoated aluminum, it will come back very dark/ black where you rubbed.

Manufactures do not clear coat chrome wheels. Many of todays metals for wheels (polished aluminum, anodized) are so well done that they look like chrome.

That is why you need to be 100% certain prior to using any product on your rims what type of metal it is.

So, if the wheel is chrome our Hot Rims Chrome Polish is the perfect product to keep it looking "Mirror Like."
If they are Aluminum I would recommend the H/R Mag and Aluminum Polish.

I hope this helps.

Tom Mac Donald
Manager- Quality Assurance/ Customer Retention
Meguiar's Inc

jmitch8011
Jun 27th, 2008, 12:30 PM
Thanks! If they are aluminum, where can I get H/R Mag and Aluminum Polish? I'm in MO and I haven't seen that product before.

Tom MacDonald
Jun 27th, 2008, 12:36 PM
Yes, the HR Mag and Aluminum is what I would recommend if they are aluminum. Most major auto parts should car the product. The part number is G13508, if you can find it you are welcome to order it from our on-line store.

Regards,

Tom

akimel
Sep 7th, 2008, 11:40 AM
Hi Guys,

Just my 2 cents worth on this topic. These wheels should be clearcoated, My recommendation for care of the wheels. I always like to air on the side of caution with regards to wheel care. Plus, it looks like they have some type of anodized or paint on the calipers, so you want to preserve the nice cosmetic look of those as well.

Two options here:
1. Any of Meguiar's car wash soaps used with a dedicated wash mit or wheel brush. I also recommend applying a good coat of wax to the rims to keep the brake dust from bonding as easily. By using the car wash soap and not a wheel cleaner the wax protection will hold up longer on the wheel surface.

Would Meguiar's Cleaner Wax work well on aluminum clear-coated wheels?

Also, how about Quik Detailer in-between washings? TIA.

Dj's Detailing
Sep 7th, 2008, 02:14 PM
I have a weekly client with those same rims, and the amount of brake dust is unbelievable! I have found a quick solution just using a simple diluted degreaser. It is harmless to the rim. I make sure to rinse the rim out REALLY well or the degreaser dries on and that is NOT FUN!! Just go back once they are dry and do a quick job with the Quick Detailer. Works like a charm, Good Luck!

akimel
Sep 7th, 2008, 06:49 PM
I have a Honda S2000 and the front brakes generate a great deal of dirt. Cleaning the front rims is a chore--the rear rims are much easier. At first I tried some wheel cleaning solutions (e.g., ArmorAll), not realizing how much damage they could do to the clear-coated alloy aluminum wheels. Now I simply wash the wheels with ordinary car wash and brush and wipe them out with a rag. Not the most elegant solution, I suppose. If there is a product out there that will make the job easier--and NOT damage the wheels--I'm willing to give it a try.

PorscheGuy997
Sep 7th, 2008, 07:05 PM
Sure, there are a some products that are very safe for all wheels.

Hot Rims All Wheel Cleaner is perfectly safe for use on coated wheels. If you'd like something a bit milder, Hot Rims Aluminum Wheel Cleaner is the mildest.


Lately, I've had to deal with clearcoated rims that weren't even touched by All Wheel Cleaner and some scrubbing. In that case, I pulled out the Wheel Brightener and it worked great. But, Wheel Brightener is the most powerful wheel cleaner that Meguiar's makes and is not for aluminum.

On our family vehicles, I usually wax the rims using a cleaner wax like M66. The wheels look better and the brake dust comes off easier.