Where every weekly wash or detailing turn starts are the wheels and wheel arches! But why is this so? Why don't we start from the top of the car and work our way down and keep the wheels last? In this article, we are going to talk about all the points that have to do with the rims, tires, the wheel arches and calipers. Whether you are a novice detailer or an experienced detailer, you will definitely learn something in this post or remind yourself of why we detail with certain products in certain orders!
We will start at the beginning, why do we actually start cleaning the rims, the wheel arches and the calipers? This is for a fairly simple reason. The wheels come into contact with the road and because the wheels turn, they throw up a lot of dirt that ends up everywhere on the car. But the rims and the wheel arch and the tires are the hardest. These places often also contain a lot of brake dust, which is a very aggressive component, which is why we prefer to remove it as quickly and safely as possible. In addition, we also go with brushes through the rims and the wheel arch so that some dirt can splash on the paint. The high-pressure cleaner or the garden hose can also cause dirt to get on the paint. If we first cleaned the paint, it would be a waste of time and product and also more dangerous to take off again. It's all in the details!
But how do we start washing these places? Well, it is of course best to completely disassemble the wheel if possible. That way we can do everything well and we can work down to the smallest details and corners. To decide for yourself what you want to clean and how we are going to make a subdivision.
- Wheel arch
If you can disassemble the rim, this will help a lot to clean the wheel housing. If this does not work, you need a foam lance that works on a high-pressure cleaner or a garden hose. There are also foam guns that work on high pressure or with manual pumping. Small and large detailing brushes are also recommended, and an angled brush is especially useful if you cannot remove your wheel. We first start by treating the wheel arch with a strong degreaser or a pre-wash product.
Wheel arches often get very dirty and are hardly washed, so it is recommended to first spray a very strong degreaser on it. After this it is best to spray away all the excess product and dirt with plenty of water. A wheel cleaner that reacts to metal particles and brake dust such as Nanolex Wheel Cleaner also works perfectly here to get all the brake dust and metal particles loose. First make sure that the wheel housing is dry again by drying it with a microfibre cloth. This is because the water that is still on the wheel housing would dilute the product and counteract its effect. You can also work the product further with brushes to get as much dirt and brake dust as possible. When the product looks red / purple and has finished, it is ready to be hosed with plenty of water.
If there are still black / brown spots, these are most likely tar spots. First make sure that the wheel housing is dry again by drying it with a microfibre cloth. This is the same reason that we dry it before spraying the rim cleaner on it. Let the tar cleaner retract again until you see that the tar has dissolved. After this, you can use the brush to work the product in further and then rinse it off again. After this, the wheel arch should be clean.
The caliper is cleaned in much the same way as the wheel arch. If possible, it is of course very easy that we can remove the wheel. Also for this it would be useful to have a foam lance that works with a pressure washer or a garden hose. A foam lance that works on air pressure or a manual foam pump may also work.
We start with making the caliper as clean as possible before we touch it. We do this best by first spraying the caliper with degreaser or a pre-wash product. It doesn't hurt to use aggressive products on the brake caliper or pads so you don't have to worry about this. Brake cleaner is also a degreaser, but we do not recommend this as a first step. After applying the product, we can rinse the caliper with water. This should have removed quite a bit of dirt.
However, there is still quite a lot of brake dust on the caliper. We can remove this with a rim cleaner that reacts to metal particles and brake dust such as Nanolex Wheel Cleaner. First make sure that the caliper is dry again by drying it with compression air or with a microfibre cloth. We do this because after this we will spray the rim cleaner on the caliper and want it to be as concentrated as possible on the caliper and to remain on it for as long as possible. If there is still water on the caliper, this will dilute the product and a lot of product will be lost and will not be able to work because it will also run off the caliper too quickly. Therefore, after drying, spray the rim cleaner on the calipers and let it soak in. If desired, you can also use the product with a brush. Then spray the product off again with water.
After using the rim cleaner, the caliper should be free of metal particles and brake dust. If there are still black or brown spots, this is most likely tar. We are going to remove this in the same way as the brake dust only with another product. Namely a tar cleaner such as Nanolex Tar remover. First make sure the caliper is dry again and then spray the tar cleaner on the caliper and let it soak in for a while. When the tar starts to loosen, we can work it in further with brushes. Then spray the product off again with water and inspect the result.
The rims is a part that gives the car a lot of its looks. That is why it is important that we maintain it well, since a handsome car with dirty rims is regrettable to look at. If you can disassemble the rim, this greatly helps to clean it easily and properly. Tools such as a foam lance that works on a high-pressure cleaner or a garden hose also help. Possibly there are also alternatives such as manual foam pumps or that work on air pressure.
It is also important with the rims that we make them as clean as possible before we touch them. We can do this by spraying a rim cleaner that reacts on metal particles such as the Nanolex Wheel Cleaner. You will see that when it has been able to withdraw for a while, the color of the rim cleaner darkens and is no longer so liquid. Because of this we know that the product has been able to adhere to metal particles, in this case mainly brake dust. The wheel cleaner has already been able to dissolve a large part of the dirt and brake dust and we can easily remove it with water. Preferably a high pressure cleaner as this will remove most of the dirt.
After this, the rims will be much cleaner, but there will still be dirt and brake dust. For maximum results from the rim cleaner, it is best to absorb the water on the rims with a microfibre cloth. We do this because when we spray rim cleaner on the rims again, the water that is still on the rims will dilute the product and also give less adhesion, so that the product can also work less well. When we have filled the rims back with rim cleaner, we can give the product a hand by scrubbing with wheel woolies and rim brushes. If your wheel is still mounted, work from top to bottom. Start on one side of the rim, then work to the bottom and then take the other side off the rim. This so that you can work most efficiently. After this we can rinse and dry the rims again.
If there are still black / brown spots in the rims, this is most likely delicate. We can best remove this with a tar remover such as Nanolex Tar Remover. Spray the product on the rim and let it soak in. If desired, you can also work this in further with brushes. You will see that the tar begins to dissolve and is removed. After this we can rinse the rims again with water. However, chances are that the rims still feel rough. This means that there is still dirt in the paint on the rims.
We can remove this by using a coarse clay and a clay lubricant. Spray some clay lube on the clay and rim and start rubbing the clay over the surface. You will notice that the paint starts to get smoother and smoother and also makes less noise when you rub it. Check your clay every now and then to see if it is still clean. If there is quite a lot of dirt in the clay, it is best to knead it a few times until you have a clean surface again and you can clay again. If you drop the clay, throw it away immediately! The dirt and sand will always remain in the clay and you will only scratch the paint if you continue to use it!
Last on the list we have the tires. The tires are often forgotten by most people, but they are certainly important! The tires come into contact with the track and take a lot of dirt with them. Over time, the tires will get very dirty and also become dried out, which will completely waste the sight of a beautiful rim. Even though the tires may still look nice black, they will still be very dirty as it will also pull the dirt into the pores of the rubber.
We start by cleaning them by foaming them with a pre-wash or a degreaser. We can do this with a foam lance that works on a high-pressure cleaner or on a garden hose. We can also use air pressure or manual pumps. You can also just spray the product directly on the tires from the bottle, but it is better that there is already some foam on the tires before we touch them.
When the belts have been sprayed with product, we use a hard brush to rub the product into the tires. Be careful not to hit the rims with your hard brush as these will scratch the surface. The rubber of the tires can withstand this so you should not be afraid that you damage your tires. A soft brush also works, but since the rubber of the tires is a hard material, a hard brush works better. You will see that the foam will quickly become very brown, this is the sign that you are getting dirt out of your tires. If the foam becomes very brown very quickly, it is best that you rinse it again with water and apply product again and start scrubbing again with the hard brush. When the foam no longer browns, this means that the tires are quite clean. After this, the belts are also in better condition to be protected and fed.
Congratulations you now know how to start your car! We have only removed and cleaned dirt here. The start of every wash or detailing job! Do not apply any products to protect or feed before you have finished the rest of the car. Protection and nutrition are done at the very last detail!