How to Clean Motorcycle Rims

How to Clean Motorcycle Rims? Essential Tips

A motorcycle owner must know how to keep all of their motorcycle parts in check. This by default includes the rims of their wheels.

Many motorcycle rims are made of aluminum and others may be made of steel. Some could also be made of Magnesium or Carbon Fibers, making it more durable but expensive.

If you were wondering if there is a surefire way of cleaning motorcycle rims, you are correct! However, depending on the rims itself, you may need different products.

This article will walk you through on how to clean motorcycle rims. Before we head into that, let us discuss the different types of rims.

Motorcycle Rims

Motorcycle Rims

Many motorcycle rims are made of aluminum casts or forged aluminum. You may have also encountered steel rims as well. Both aluminum and steel are likely to oxidize, making it very likely to corrode. Magnesium is also likely to corrode.

So, what is the difference?

So, what is the difference

The difference between steel, aluminum and magnesium rims is the metal itself. Magnesium is extremely light, making it the perfect metal for industrial manufacturing. Due to its lightness, it is considered the best metal for motorcycle and car wheels. However, it is slightly more expensive. Magnesium is also likely to be flammable once overheated.

Aluminum on the other hand is cheaper. They are the standard metallic rims, thus making them cheaper and more readily available. It is also low maintenance, making it easier to take care of.

Both of these metals are considered a better alternative to steel. However, the main choice will depend on how you drive, where you drive and the climate of your area.

Now that you have been caught up with the metals and different rims, let us tell you how to clean motorcycle rims.

The Procedure of How to Clean Motorcycle Rims

The Procedure of How to Clean Motorcycle Rims

Depending on the type of metal your rim is, the procedure will be a little different. We will begin with the aluminum rims.

 1. Aluminum Rims

For aluminum rims you will need the following

  • Noxon Metal Polish
  • Aluminum and Metal Polish
  • Steel Wool
  • Masking Tape
  • Dry rag cloths (at least 4)
  • Gloves

Once you’ve prepared the items, proceed with the procedures below.

Step 1- Begin by cleaning any debris or dust from the rims. Wipe the rims thoroughly with a dry rag towel, being care to leave a clean foundation free of dust particles and road grime before applying the cleaning polish.

Step 2- Apply a little amount of masking tape to any area of the rim where you do not want the polish to come into contact. Cover it completely before moving on to the next step to ensure the polish does not react with the paint and create any cosmetic harm.

Step 3- Squeeze a little amount of Noxon metal polish onto a piece of steel wool and begin wiping away the reddish-brownish stains. Begin at the rim’s top and work your way down. Bear in mind that this will demand patience. These markings cannot be removed fast, so continue wiping until the brownish-reddish dots disappear.

Step 4- Once the stains have been removed, use a separate dry rag towel to wipe away any residual polish. Ascertain that the rag material is completely dry.

Step 5- After cleaning it, apply a little amount of aluminum and metal polish to an unused dry rag cloth and begin polishing. The polish will restore the sheen to the outside, making it appear brand new!

Step 6- Once you’re through polishing, wipe it down with a different dry rag towel. Once you’ve completed wiping, you should be finished!

If you have magnesium rims, proceed as described below.

2. Magnesium Rims

For magnesium rims, you will need the following

  • A tapered buff wheel
  • A drill
  • White Diamond Metal polish
  • Microfiber towels (Will probably need 4-5)
  • Smooth sanding paper (600 grit) (Optional)
  • Metal Finishing Polish
  • Gloves

Now that you have the products, follow the steps below to clean the rims properly.

Step 1- Start by wiping away all dirt with a clean microfiber towel. Make sure to remove all the dust particles before moving on to the next step.

Step 2- Shake the bottle of polish before pouring some on to the taper buff wheel. Attach the buff wheel to your drill. This will allow you to continuously clean the rims without tiring your hands and also ensure a deeper clean.

Step 3- Now let the polish sit for 1-2 minutes. 

Step 4- Now take a microfiber towel and wipe the polish away. Do this once and then take another towel and wipe it again. The towels will continue to get dirtier so make sure you have clean ones nearby.

Step 5- Continue this around the whole rim until you are satisfied with the end results.

Step 6 (Optional)- Using a 600-grit sandpaper, sand away any bumps or rough spots on the metal. Be gentle with this. 

Step 7- Once you have cleaned and sanded the rims, finish the whole process off by polishing it. The polish will make it shiny and give it a more welcoming appearance.

Step 8- Wipe away the excess polish with a clean microfiber towel. And now you should be done!


This procedure, whether for aluminum or magnesium will take some time and you should be doing it safely as well. Follow the instructions below to ensure that.

  • Do NOT scrub too hard with the steel wool or do NOT put the power drill on the highest setting when cleaning. This will prevent scratching.
  • ALWAYS shake the bottle of polish before each use
  • Sand the metal gently (if you choose to sand). Sanding it too rough or with too much pressure can scratch the surface.
  • MAKE SURE to wear gloves to not affect the skin of your hands

Final Words

to Clean Motorcycle Rims

Overall the process is more about patience than precision and products. Once you learn how to clean motorcycle rims safely, the process is fairly simple. Just gotta be patient!

Related Post:

1. How to Clean Motorcycle Wheels Aluminum in 2023.