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DIY: How to Clean & Polish Chrome Wheels

You upgraded your wheels to chrome. Congratulations! Now what? Stay tuned and i'll keep you posted on proper care and cleaning of your wheels.

What is Chrome?

Chrome wheels are a popular option to upgrade your wheels to they are especially popular with high end luxury brands such as Cadillac and Lexus. Chrome rims are usually alloy or steel wheels that are plated with chromium. Chromium is a hard and brittle metal that is sensitive to basic nature elements as well as the salt that is added to icy roads. Because chrome wheels have such an extensive plating process which include layers of copper, nickel, and chromium they are one of the more expensive rims on the market. This makes it a good reason to take proper care of your chrome wheels so you won't have to recondition or re-chrome the rims again in the future.

Types Of Chrome:

When you purchase a set of chrome wheels for your vehicle, be sure to ask questions and inquire about the type of chrome the rims are. There are three types of chrome wheels: chrome plated, PVD chrome and cladded chrome.

The most common of the three are the chrome-plated wheels, which consists of the chromium metal plated onto an aluminum alloy rim. The wheel if first stripped entirely to the raw metal. It is then followed by a process in which it is polished and prepped for copper plating. After the copper plating the wheel is polished and prepped for nickel plating. Finally the wheel is polished and prepped for chrome plating. Chrome plating creates the shiniest of the three finishes.

The second type of chrome is PVD. PVD chrome stands for Physical Vapor Deposition. The main difference between PVD chrome and chrome-plated is that PVD chrome creates a lighter wheel and is more durable. This gives the chrome look to your vehicle without the heavy weight of a regular chrome-plated rim. Also, PVD chrome is less shiny in comparison to chrome-plated rims.

Lastly, we have cladded chrome rims. Cladded chrome wheels can be either alloy or steel. Clad-chrome rims were developed to bypass the bead seat, if the rim has pitting or peeling it will not affect the tire seal . When a rim starts to pit and peel it can leave spaces in the wheel surface and thus resulting in air loss in the tire. The cladded chrome process is done by adhering a chrome cover to the alloy/steel wheel which is permanent and cannot be re-chromed, reconditioned, removed, or replaced. By adhering only a chrome cover to the wheel, it prevents the tire from loosing air incase the rim has slight damage.

Importance of Chrome Care:

Not only are chrome wheels an expensive option for your vehicle but they can be even more costly in the long run if not taken care of. The chromium metal is affected more by natural elements in comparison to other finishes. Once the chrome wheels has corrosion, it will peel and pit as a result. For those that live in a colder climate where it snows we recommend switching to a set of winter wheels.

Instructions on How to Clean and Polish your Chrome:

We discussed the importance of taking care of your chrome rims. Let's get started with the basics on how to clean and polish your chrome wheels.

1. Start off by Rinsing off your Wheels with Water.

2. Have a bucket ready with Soap, and Water, with a Soft brush start brushing the dirt away on the wheels

3. Rinse

4. Spray a Chrome Cleaner of your choice.

5. Rinse

6. Dry off your Wheels

7. Use a Chrome Polish of your choice and add product to the rims until it creates a haze. (We like Wizards Metal Polish

8. With a Microfiber Cloth remove the haze by buffing out the Wheels

9. Spray a Wheel Wax on the Rims for additional protection of debris collecting on the rim.

10. Buff the Wax on Rims until you cannot see a haze.

You're done! Now, you can stand back and admire your chrome wheels!





Do keep in mind that cleaning your wheels is basic car maintenance. If you keep them clean you are extending the life span of your rims. So be sure to keep up with the maintenance in order to preserve your wheels.

See you next time!


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