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Cleaning Aluminum Alloy Wheels

I’m trying to clean up the Grand Marquis my dad had at his death. The aluminum alloy wheels have some pitting and oxidation, does anyone know what I could use that wouldn’t damage the wheels for removing this?

you can’t remove pits. that would be removing something that isn’t there. Most of the commercial wheel cleaners available at any auto parts store will clean the oxidation.

If it’s oxidation, and not accumulated dirt and brake dust, you’ll need to polish them, but they’ll oxidize again. I’d first get a good scrub brush and a spray bottle of wheel cleaner and see what I could do. If you end up having to polish them you’ll want to find some way to re-seal them, either with a silver paint (which most alloy wheels have on them) or a clear coat, but it’ll need to be very rugged and heat-resistant.

The pitting is forever, but the oxidation can be polished off. The best way I’ve found is with either wheel poish or paint polishiong compound (depending on how bad they are) and a sponge type conically shaped buffer on a hand drill. Use plenty of water as a medium for the polish. Polish is a microscopic abrasive, and water helps it work better.

Follow the polishing with a protective finish. You can wax or even use a spray on conformal coat, like a wheel protector or even clear coat, if you have some practive with this sort of thing.

This will require elbow grease…and a good back.

Good luck.

Thanks for the replies. I knew the pitting wouldn’t be able to be removed, but I’ve never had a set of wheels with this type of damage and was hoping someone would know the magic bullet. I’ll probably try some wheel polish, I don’t mind the elbow grease, but my back isn’t very good (chronic back pain).

You can also check for alloy rim repair shops in your area (google it), they can do all this…for a price, of course!