Today's car enthusiast personalizes his or her ride by installing an awesome set of rims and tires. It is not unheard of for the price of these custom add-ons to cost upwards of $1,500 dollars for EACH TIRE! It doesn't take a math genius to see that times four, putting personalized wheels on your car can be a pricey investment and one that you will want to take care of. When you take your car in for detailing, you should have already cleaned your tires, at least cursorily.
You may find that washing your cars tires will become a common task. This is because they are so close to the asphalt, much closer than the car's body itself, so they tend to get far dirtier, far grimier, and far faster. Tires suffer the brunt of the abuse that comes from driving, the scum that is caked on the road, dusts from brakes, and good old fashioned tar all combine and cake onto them. Cleaning and caring for your tires and wheels follows much the same pattern that caring and cleaning for the rest of your car does. You have to wash first, clean, polish, and then protect from future dirt. As you wash your wheels, you will need to use detergent, wheel cleaner, a suitable polish, and then the right sort of wheel protectant.
As you are going through this process, it is most times easiest to break the cleaning down into different stages. First do the left rear rim and its tire, and then move forward to the left front wheel and tire, etc. This saves time as you concentrate your efforts at one location, and then move on. There is a bit of disagreement about what to do after cleaning both wheels and tires has been done. Some people claim that it is better to detail the tire first, and some people insist that it is better to do the wheel. Our experience tells us, however, that it is best to perform a thorough cleaning of the wheel, and then one of the tires, then polish and add protectant to the tire, before finishing up by polishing and protecting the wheel.
This order is the most efficient, we think, because it wipes away any run-off from the polishing of the tire that dripped onto the wheel when you are finishing the wheel up. No matter how you decide what works best for you, there is a consensus among professionals that it is best to work on one tire at a time. This keeps any of the chemical cleaners or polishes from drying on your tires or wheels, which can cause stains or other damages.
Likewise, if your car has been driven recently, make sure that the wheels are cool enough so that they will not cause cleaners or polishes to heat up. Heat makes these chemicals react more violently, which can cause damage to your rims. Magnesium and aluminum rims are especially vulnerable.
Gregg Hall is an author living in Navarre Beach, Florida. Find more about this as well as vintage wheels at http://www.vintagewheelsplus.com