A few weeks ago I purchased a 2000 Wrangler Sport from my brother which had not been driven in 5 years and mostly sat outside in Iowa. It had American Racing alloy wheels that looked like they had never been cleaned in the 10 years that they were on the Jeep. These wheels were fraught with rust, brake dust, oxidation, you name. I tried every imaginable idea to clean them up including (in order of trials) soap and water, Comet and scrub brush, aluminum foil and Coke, Mother's Wheel Cleaner and their Power Cone. Nothing seemed to work. While at True Value today picking up Back to Black (to put on the fender flares) I noticed a product hanging among the abrasive wheels called Nyalox. It has some sort of nylon bristles so I figured it might not harm my wheels and at this stage I had nothing to lose. They come in three different abrasivenesses. I chose blue which is medium/fine. When I got home I chucked into into my drill, dipped it into some Mother's Alloy Wheel Cleaner and went to town on the worst wheel of the bunch. After not a lot of time I could see that the wheel was cleaning up nicely and without a lot of effort. I took a rag and wiped off the black residue and the wheel shined underneath. I continued to do the entire wheel then followed it up with Mother's Cone wheel figuring it would remove any scratch marks and it did just that. The inside of the wheel was a different story as it was in even worse shape. For it I used a regular steel abrasive wheel as the finish is not as polished as the outside and the Nylalox wheel was not working as well on it.
Take a look at the pictures and see for yourself. I can't wait to get working on the other three wheels!
If you ever do it again look in to Busch's wheel cleaner. It does the same thing (maybe even better) but in 1 minute per wheel without touching it! They have some nice polish you can use afterwards to bring out more of a shine.
2000 Jeep Wrangler Sport
4.0L / 5spd
Psssst. Aluminum doesn't rust. Oxidation was correct.
You are correct. The aluminum did not rust but the lug nuts did and the stain ran down onto the wheels.
And just for grins I purchased a bottle of Busch (the wheel cleaner, not the beer) at the local truck stop and applied it to a wheel and the results were the same - after both wiping and buffing (with the Mother's wheel) it came nowhere close to cleaning the wheel. I still needed to use the nylon brush on a drill.
The reason for the original post was to provide an alternative solution to persons trying to clean up alloy wheels where every other method had failed.