The UK’s automotive aftermarket business is worth approximately £21 billion, and covers everything from axles to a Z-bar (linkage), the complete A – Z. Road wheels make up a significant part of that statistic, whether that is a replacement for OE (Original Equipment) or as something lighter, faster, bigger or even just to change the look of a vehicle.
It seems that for many, taking their car down to the local hand car wash where their pride and joy will receive attention on the bodywork is enough, but the wheels and tyres can count there only on a wax or a basic clean. No matter how hard you polish the paintwork, the wheels remain a dead giveaway as to how the car has been treated and there are a few ways to keep the wheels looking good.
Just the same with the bodywork, waxes are available to help protect the finish of our wheels, and a decent wax can keep your wheels looking better for longer.
It isn’t just about the shine; specially formulated wheel waxes help to repel the dust and grime, which has a twofold benefit – not only does it make it harder for the dust to stick in the first place, but it also means that when cleaning time comes, most of the dirt will rinse off with minimal use of harsh chemicals.
It wasn’t that long ago that the only option for getting your wheels really clean was to spend some time with a stiff brush (non-metallic), detergent and plenty of patience, and that was magnified ten-fold if you had anything remotely intricate for the pattern.
Nowadays, a quick spray with a chemical cleaner will remove 90% of the dirt and dust, making the job of keeping your wheels in tip-top condition easy. While polishing rims, it’s good to be aware that some chemical cleaners will tarnish the alloy wheels, leaving a dull, matte finish that can only be brought back to life by re-polishing them.
After cleaning and waxing your wheels, it’s worth to check what brake pads are fitted. Aftermarket pads could be fitted to save money over original factory parts, or to improve the efficiency of the brakes, and in most cases, there is a trade-off; the brakes operate at a higher temperature or wear quicker. Neither is ideal when you’re looking to keep your wheels looking attractive.
Is there a worse sound than hearing your pristine alloy scrape along the edge of a kerb? Light scuffs and damage can usually be repaired by a mobile dent or a repair technician for minimal money, but if the damage is bad, there are plenty of services offering full wheel-refurbishment, sometimes with astonishing results.
Usually only a professional can tell you if your wheel is salvageable and sometimes the cost could outweigh replacement costs, but if your wheels are rare, or you just can’t find something else you like quite so much, it’s a further avenue of investigation.
Plenty of motorists keep a winter set of wheels – road salt can be a killer for alloys, and naturally it makes it easier to have a seasonal tyre more suited to the conditions.
Winter is the ideal time to get the wheels refurbed and looking great for summer.
And Finally …
For little effort, it’s possible to maximise the styling that the original car designer wanted us to see. It’s worth to keep in mind that when selling your car, a damaged set of wheels can lose you the sale, or a decent percentage of the selling price.
Whether it’s a daily driver or future classic, keeping your wheels in good condition can transform the look of it. An extra ten minutes spent waxing your wheels could be the detail that you’re missing; the link between making your car look washed, or making it look spruce.
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