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Aluminum Wheel Cleaning

Contributed By: Richard Goyette

One of the first things I did when I bought my 86 Grand Wagoneer was to clean up the factory aluminum wheels. I was most concerned with the fact that the polished faces had turned a dull gray over the years and I was determined to see how well they'd clean up.

Here's a basic list of what you'll need to bring your stock wheels back to life:
1. Mag/Aluminum Polish
   Note: I use Mothers Mag/Aluminum polish, but many manufacturers (3M, Meguiars, etc) produce similar products.
2. Lots of small rags (old gym socks worked great!)
3. A good quality car wax

Step-by-step instructions
1. Wash the wheel (and the tire) and rinse well. You can use fancy wheel cleaner but since you'll be polishing the rims afterwards why waste the expensive stuff - use car wash soap (or dish soap) instead. It's alot easier to do if you take the wheel right off the Jeep (you'll want to remove the center cap if they're still on).
2. Open the can of Mag/Aluminum polish, grab a rag, and dip a clean corner of the rag into the polish.
3. Rub the polish onto one of the flat faces of the wheel. This is more tedious than it sounds as the polish will quickly turn the rag black with oxidation that's being polished off the wheel. You'll need to keep turning the rag to a clean section and re-dipping to complete this job. Keep rubbing with clean sections of cloth & polish until you're satisfied with the finish. Ignore the gold sections of the rim as they're not polishable.
4. After you've done all the faces of the rim, wash the rim again to remove any polish that you might have missed. Let the wheel dry.
5. After the wheel dries, apply a coat of wax to the newly polished faces. This will protect your newly polished faces and also make clean-up a little easier next time you wash the truck.
6. Keep going until all wheels are done.

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