If you happen to own a motorcycle and the motorcycle has aluminum wheels, you are probably wondering how to clean them properly. Well, you have come to the right place. We will walk you through on How to clean motorcycle wheels aluminum as well as the products you will need to ensure a proper rinse.
But first, let us discuss the metals commonly used to make motorcycle wheels
Metals used to Manufacture Motorcycle Wheels
Motorcycle wheels can be made from an aluminum alloy or even steel. The most common choice is actually aluminum. It can be made in one of 2 ways.
i) Cast Aluminum Rims- These rims are made with an aluminum alloy that is often a little cheaper
ii) Forged Aluminum Rims- Somewhat similar to the cast rims except much more expensive and also stronger.
Another common metal used for motorcycle rim manufacturing is Magnesium. In certain cases, the rims may also be made of Carbon Fiber. However, these are somewhat rare since they are much more expensive. The most common type of rims you will find are aluminum rims, and most likely, the majority of them are casting.
Now that you are aware of the metals commonly used to make motorcycle rims, let us discuss how to clean aluminum motorcycle rims, why you may need to clean them, and how often.
Why You Should Clean the Rims and How Often
Before we begin, we must know that oxidation and corrosion are not the same things. Oxidation may lead to corrosion, however, and once corroded, the metal can weaken over time.
In order to oxidize, an element must come in contact with an oxidizing agent. Air is one such oxidizing agent. Aluminum is known to create a thin coat on top of it once it comes in contact with an oxidizing agent. This coat is known as Aluminum Oxide. This layer of oxide prevents the aluminum from oxidizing, thus preventing corrosion as well. This aluminum film prevents corrosion, and as long as this coat is on, the metal will not corrode too quickly, making it durable for a long time.
However, if you happen to catch slight browning of spots on the rims of your wheels, this is a sign that it is beginning to corrode and, thus, may need to be cleaned up as soon as possible. An additional benefit of cleaning it up is that it will look much better too!
One downside to aluminum rims is that it oxidizes quicker, much quicker than steel. This may mean that if you have aluminum rims, you will have to clean much more often than if you were to with steel rims.
You may want to clean the rims once every month to ensure corrosion has been prolonged for as long as possible. However, if you happen to notice the process below does not work in removing the oxidation marks 90-100%, you may have to visit a mechanic.
Now that you know what causes the brownish-reddish marks (basically the pre-corrosion marks) and how often you should clean them, it is time to discuss the actual cleaning process.
Know How to clean motorcycle wheels aluminum
To clean aluminum rims, you will need the following
- Noxon Metal Polish
- Aluminum and Metal Polish
- Steel wool (preferably the softer ones to prevent scratching)
- Cotton rag cloths (at least 4)
- Masking Tape
Once you have the products ready, follow the steps below
Step 1- Begin by lightly cleaning out the rims of any dirt or dust. Do this by using a dry rag cloth and wiping the rims down, making sure to leave a clean base for the cleaning polish
Step 2- Put a little bit of masking tape on any part of the rim you do not want the polish to touch. Make sure to cover every inch of it before proceeding with the next step.
Step 3- Pour a little bit of the Noxon metal polish on steel wool and begin wiping the oxidation away. Start at the top of the rim and work your way to the bottom. Remember to take your time as it will require patience. Oxidation marks cannot be wiped away that quickly, so keep at it until you see the brownish-reddish spots going away.
Step 4- Once the oxidation spots are wiped away, take a different dry rag cloth and wipe the remaining polish away. Make sure the rag cloth is dry.
Step 5- After you have cleaned it, take a little bit of the aluminum and metal polish on an unused dry rag cloth and start polishing it. The polish will give it a shiny exterior, making it look brand new!
Step 6- Once you are done polishing, wipe it with a separate dry rag cloth one last time. Once you have finished wiping, you should be done!
While the main cleaning process is not exactly heavy-duty, you may want to stay wary of a few things
- Always wear gloves before you touch metal polish. This will protect your skin. If any has gotten in the eye, please be sure to rinse them out with water thoroughly. If inhaled, visit a doctor as soon as possible.
- Make sure the rim is dry, and all the dirt has been wiped away
- Ensure you remove all of the brownish-reddish spots before you layer on the metal polish.
- Do NOT scrub too hard. This may leave scratch marks that may be beyond repair
- Do NOT use steel wool that has sharp jaggedy ages. This may also cause scratching.
- Make sure to tape any painted part with masking tape before cleaning and polishing to ensure it does not damage the area.
To sum up, the process is not too complex, and the cleaning process will not be too hard once you learn how to clean motorcycle wheels aluminum. It may take you a lot of time and will require patience. Do not rush the procedure. Many times, rushing leads to more harm than good so take your time.
Hi, my name is Gabrielle. I have been into Automotive Industry for over 15 years. If you’re anything like me, then building, maintaining and improving your Automotive Industry/Projects is all part of the Automotive experience.
My goal with this blog is to share my experience with and help you discover new and exciting things about Automotive.