Car detailing can be a tough job. There are plenty of things to consider, as well as plenty of things that can go wrong, all of which can affect the final result of a detailing job.

That being said, detailing the wheels is perhaps one of the most fulfilling parts of the job, as there’s nothing quite as satisfying as seeing a freshly-detailed set of wheels.

If you are interested in detailing your vehicle’s wheels, here is a short step-by-step on exactly how you can do it.

Step 1. Remove the wheels

You can clean the wheels while they are attached to the car. However, they will be much easier to clean if they are separated. For that reason, take them out if you can! Lift the car with a jack and remove the wheels one at a time. 

If you do not want to remove them, you can still clean them using special tools, like a long wheel brush, allowing you to reach hard-to-reach areas and do a thorough job.

Step 2. Clean the rims

Whether you have removed the wheels or not, the next step is to focus on the rims. Start by cleaning the inner rims. Use a pressure washer to dislodge any dirt and grime, and use a strong shampoo solution to thoroughly wash the rims. If you did not remove the wheels, this stage is where the long brush comes into play. 

Once you have washed the inner rims, look around for any leftover dirt. If you find any, use a wheel cleaner to remove it. Rinse the wheel after that, and repeat this step if you need to.

Step 3. Clean the face

With the inner rim clean, clean the other side, which is the face. Repeat the same cleaning process as in the previous step. To get into the nooks and crannies, use a detailing brush or a wash mitt to ensure that everything is thoroughly clean.

Step 4. Look for contamination

Once you are done with the face and inner rim, inspect the wheel thoroughly. Any contamination you find will likely be tar spots or iron fillings.

Use a tar remover and a microfibre towel to remove tar spots (black dots). If that does not work, what you are seeing is most likely iron fillings. To remove iron filings, use an iron remover solution specifically made for wheels. Spray it on the wheels and wait for around three minutes or until the solution turns purple, which is a sign that the iron has dissolved. Agitate the surface with a brush, rinse, and repeat this step if necessary.

Step 5. Polish the imperfections

Once the wheel is free from dirt, grime, and contamination, dry it thoroughly and look for any imperfections such as scratches. Polish them with the same solution you use to polish the car. If you have a wheel sealant, you can use that, too.

Step 6. Apply wheel sealant and dress the tires

With the imperfections gone, you can follow up with wheel sealants and dressing. Apply the wheel sealant thoroughly to add shine and durability, along with tire dressing to nourish the rubber to prevent cracking.


That’s all there is to it! If you take a before and after picture, you will notice a massive difference in your wheels’ appearance. Now, you can drive around knowing that your wheels look great, and if you got the rest of the car detailed, you can drive proudly in a clean and shiny car.

That being said, remember to not rush the steps above. Pay attention to the details, and be as thorough as possible. The more effort you put into cleaning the wheels, the better they will look when done.

Wicked Rims is a professional wheel refurbishment company that offers a wide range of wheel services, from alloy wheel refurbishment to powder coating. If you need alloy wheel services in Essex, contact us today to get what you need for your wheels.