How to Remove Corrosion from Aluminum Wheels

Corrosion is one of the biggest enemies of your car. It can severely harm the sleek aluminum wheels of your ca. Regular maintenance is extremely necessary as it prevents both grime and dust from settling in the wheels.

As an auto technician, I know that the period needed for wiping off the corrosive substance from the surfaces of the wheels will depend on the wheels’ condition and the kind of corrosion you’ve been dealing with. Let me teach you how to remove rust from alloy wheels. In this post, I’ll be giving you tips and tricks in removing corrosion from your wheels.

How To Remove Corrosion From Aluminum – 5 Steps to Follow

It is possible to get rid of that corrosive substance from your aluminum wheels. All you need to do is follow the steps outlined below:

#1. Clean Your Wheels with Water and Soap

Before you get started, you have to completely clean the wheels of your car with an all-purpose cleaner and water. Spray your wheels using the power washer. If a power washer is not available, you can use an ordinary hose equipped with the spray nozzle. The purpose here is to eliminate dirt, grime, and debris.

After spraying, you can start applying soap to your wheels with a neat and clean towel. Be sure to reach the crevices and corners. When you’re done applying soap, you should spray the wheels again.

Repeat the procedure until you are sure the wheels are 100% clean. If the first round of washing the wheels is already okay, rinse them carefully and dry them with a neat microfiber cloth.

#2. Clean the Wheels with a Wheel Cleaner

When you’re finished cleaning the wheels of your car with water and soap, you can start applying your wheel cleaner. While you have to follow carefully the instructions provided in the wheel cleaner, the procedure will be the same.

It does not matter what cleaner you prefer to use. Apply the solution to your wheels, and be sure you do it based on the given instructions. After you have applied it, work it in by using a soft-bristled wheel brush. You don’t need to scrub a lot. Excessive elbow grease can lead to scratches.

This time, you should see your wheels glowing and almost free from corrosion. When you are done in brushing the wheels, make sure you rinse them well with water and wipe them out with a neat cloth.

#3. Use a Wheel Clay in Removing the Big Particles

This particular step is not necessary, but I recommend it if your aluminum wheels are extremely pitted or dirty. Apply a clay lubricant to the wheels of your car. After that, take a big clay chunk and work it on the flat patty.

Rub the clay across the wheel carefully and make sure you fold it on the clean part if it gets extremely dirty. After removing the stubborn residues from your wheels, just wash it well with water and ensure it washes the lingering lubricant or clay. Make sure the wheels dry completely by wiping them with the microfiber towel.

#4. Put Some Wheel Polish

Keep in mind that polishing is a very crucial step in eliminating the annoying rust and corrosion from the aluminum wheels. This task is quite tricky and time-consuming, so be sure to do it with patience and determination. Although it seems tedious and daunting, you cannot skip this step. Likewise, you don’t need to rush the job.

If you are using the power sander, begin applying the wheel polish to the wool polishing pate. After that, set the sander to low-power mode. Set it to somewhere like 1000 RPM. Evenly and slowly apply the wheel polish to a wheel.

After applying the polish, raise the RPM in the stages. Do not let it go higher, reaching 3000 RPM. Continue buffing the wheel until you cannot see the signs of rust and corrosion anymore. If you want to use the sandpaper instead of the power sander, you need to be more patient when you do.

Before you apply the polish, you must wet the wheels with water. Start with the coarsest grit sandpaper and rub away the corrosion. Switch to finer grits while the corrosion begins to appear lighter than it is before. Make sure as well the wheels stay moist with water. When you’re done with sanding, apply the polish to the wheels and shine them by using a neat microfiber cloth.

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#5. Use Wheel Wax to the Wheels

This is an optional step as well, but I highly recommend it, too. The wheels of your car might be shining brighter than they used to, but it does not mean they are immune to extensive damage. You will save yourself from extreme troubles in the long run by using wheel wax.

I know, wheel polish is claimed to be a protective agent for aluminum wheels against corrosion. But, using wheel wax is much better as it gives another sheet of protection that repels moisture, oil, dirt, and other dangerous elements. After you apply the wax, you do not need to reapply it after a few weeks. Rest assured, your wheels stay safe for several months.

Stop Worrying Too Much about the Corrosion on Your Aluminum Wheels

A lot of car owners forget to pay attention to the wheels of your car. Cleaning the wheels of your car is very important. Cleaning it once every week can be fine, but the more often you can do it every week, the better.

Poor wheel maintenance is not a good thing as it can result in hideous corrosion. It occurs when water, dirt, brake fluid, or any foreign substance gather and linger on the wheels. These substances can be too harmful to aluminum, causing it to oxidize – a process that resembles steel or iron rusting.

Know how to stop rust on a car from spreading


Cleaning your wheels should be a part of your regular car care routine. Cleaning them as often as you can help in making them last longer. When it comes to rust, believe that removing aluminum wheel corrosion is possible. I hope you enjoy doing the job once you try and follow the steps I provided above.

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