Cleaning caked grime off wheels? [Archive] - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

: Cleaning caked grime off wheels?

02-05-2005, 01:10 AM
Moving my OE sport rims around my garage, I noticed that they are terribly dirty on the back side.

I have some Klasse AIO coming to hopefully stop the grime from coming back, but I don't know how to get this stuff off. I started with normal car shampoo, then Dawn, then Simple Green automotive degreaser, and they look like this after scrubbing with all that for at least 20 minutes or so. It just doesn't scrub off.

Anyone know of anything that actually removes this stuff, but won't remove the clearcoat? Hopefully something I can find locally somewhere, rather than wait for a web order... Is Klasse strong enough for that?

Thanks in advance

02-05-2005, 01:31 AM
Wheel Wax should do the trick. Here is a review from

You can purchase this from my website here:

Alex Baumann
02-05-2005, 09:05 AM
That's looking tasty :) J/K

OK, you need some warm water, a dish sponge, clay bar and car shampoo (to use it as a lubricant when claying).

Clay bar should do the trick and get rid of that all junk.

When finished cleaning, dry the wheels and apply your favorite wax/sealant.

Good Luck. Please report back whether it worked or not :)

02-05-2005, 10:06 AM
Thanks guys.

Is a clay bar going to be tough enough? The grime is thick and hard enough to have texture, and is close to a millimeter thick near the bolts :eek:

Alex Baumann
02-05-2005, 11:02 AM
Thanks guys.

Is a clay bar going to be tough enough? The grime is thick and hard enough to have texture, and is close to a millimeter thick near the bolts :eek:

Try the warm water+dish sponge+ shampoo combo first. Then attack with the clay.

02-05-2005, 11:14 AM
Try the warm water+dish sponge+ shampoo combo first. Then attack with the clay.

Agreed, try that combo first and if that doesn't get all of it off try the wheel wax.

02-05-2005, 11:32 AM
What about a tough wheel cleaner? So far I've heard car shampoos and clay bars but no wheel cleaners mentioned. I know that there are basically two categories....acidic and non-acidic. I've used the non-acidic version of Meguiar's Hot Rims wheel cleaner. Since its the backside of the rims where you don't really see it, does it make sense to try an acidic wheel cleaner as a last resort? :dunno:

FYI - My wheel cleaning process when I wash my car:

2 buckets: 1 with water/car shampoo, 1 with water only

1. Hose down the wheel thoroughly
2. Spray on Meguiar's wheel cleaner (then wait 15-30 seconds)
3. Take a soft wheel brush and dunk into shampoo bucket
4. Agitate wheel thoroughly with brush (about 1-2 minutes)
5. Hose down thoroughly again.

6. Rinse wheel brush in water-only bucket to remove dirt and grime before proceeding to next wheel.

Spraying the wheel cleaner onto the wheel and waiting about 15-30 seconds loosens up the brake dust, grime and anything else that may have caked on. It makes the scrubbing easier and more productive IMO.

Obviously this is just a normal washing routine and you have a specific problem to deal with. As I mentioned, some type of acidic wheel cleaner may be necessary and you may also have to let it soak for longer than 30 seconds. There may also be risks to the clearcoat with this approach so research it thoroughly.

FYI - I have also done a Klasse AIO treatment on my wheels, not on the backside though.

Alex Baumann
02-05-2005, 01:06 PM
Yes, using acidic cleaner won't hurt the wheel, but you need to rinse the wheel thoroughly after using it.

That said, I wouldn't make it a habit though. It's acid.

02-05-2005, 08:37 PM
Well, I got them pretty clean.. I bought some Meguiar's Hot Rims, and used my wheel brush dipped in water with dawn to agitate it after letting it soak in for a minute or so... It recommends letting it stand for only 15 seconds, but the grime was just too thick, and even then I had to do two washes of each..

Thanks for the help guys :thumbup:

03-01-2005, 11:02 AM
Just read the labels on some of the acidic wheel cleaners, it will tell you not to leave it on the rims for more than a few seconds. Don't use anything on your wheels you wouldn't use on your fenders. Simple rule to live by.

03-01-2005, 03:37 PM
Cleaning Clear Coated Wheels:
•Ensure wheels and rotors are cool before applying cold water as this may cause them to warp. Hose off as much initial grime as you can. Rinse up into the wheel well to wash away road kill, mud and other debris.
•Use detailing clay to remove any imbedded contaminants
•Use a solvent based cleaner to remove any road tar
•Apply a solution of P21S Total Auto Wash to wheel-wells and tyres, and let soak in, agitate with a long-handled boars haired brush before rinsing
•Spray P21S Wheel Cleaner, this cleaner is 100% acid-free and will not damage any type of wheel finish. (Gel for badly soiled and regular for normal soil) onto wheel rims and lat soak in.
•Before finally removing cleaner, agitate with a soft brush and then rinse off
•Rinse wheel surface thoroughly with clean water (to avoid splashing paint surface rise by pouring a bucket of water over each wheel from the top down
•Remove any surface imperfections with a suitable clear coat polish (dependant upon extent of damage)
•Dry wheels with a towel, apply a sealant to the surface of the wheels themselves will protect the finish from brake dust and the elements and also making them easier to keep clean.
•Wax has a low melting point and will not usually withstand the sustained temperatures
•Clean tyres with a rubber cleaner (3M Tire & Wheel Cleaner -39036) or a citrus-based APC (P21S Total Auto Wash)
•Apply a polymer-based tyre dressing (Zaino Z-16 Perfect Tire Gloss™)
•Thoroughly hose off tyres and wheel-wells, apply a (UVR) protection to the tyres.

Acidic wheel cleaners- should be avoided as these cleaners usually contain a solution of oxalic, phosphoric and hydrochloric acids and they may permanently stain or damage wheel surfaces. The use instructions usually state to spray on and rinse off immediately.

100% acid free wheel cleaners-these usually contain a mild solution of an alkaline (Ethylene Glycol) and a surfactant, the best known is P21S Wheel Cleaner, a 100% acid free cleaner with a 7.0 pH