Informational Guide

How To Polish Aluminum Wheels?

This guide shows you how to polish aluminum wheels at home, the easy way. We also look at some of the ways to remove clear coat, corrosion and oxidization.

If you have aluminum wheels, you know how nice they look on your vehicle. However, they can also get dirty or corroded. In these times, you need to know how to polish aluminum wheels for a better look.

Our guide shows you how to polish aluminum wheels at home and how to remove a clear coat and polish on aluminum wheels.

Corrosion & Damage Resistance

Aluminum wheels are resistant to corrosion and rust, making them easier to clean and resurface. Because they are constructed from alloy, they have more strength than steel wheels but remain lighter. This design helps them withstand abuse better, meaning you will spend less time trying to figure out how to restore clear coated aluminum wheels.

Curb Appeal

The aluminum wheels have a shine to them, especially after they are polished. Once you know how to strip and polish aluminum wheels, you will be able to turn heads while driving your truck, car, or SUV.

Better Fuel Economy

Aluminum wheels weigh less than steel wheels, so they don’t supply as much burden to the vehicle. When your ride is optimized, you will end up with greater fuel efficiency, thereby helping you save more money at the pump.

A Smoother Ride

Because of the lighter design, you can also count on a smoother ride. Anytime you hit a bump or dip, the aluminum wheels are going to strike less forcefully, so you have a higher-quality ride. This is one reason many luxury automakers choose aluminum wheels.

How To Polish Aluminum Wheels

Common Wheel Damage & How To Repair It

Your wheels endure a lot of damage and stress. Here are some problems you might notice and some ways you can repair the damage.

  • Pitted 
    Pitted wheels most often occur when they are made from chrome. These dark spots will appear as dimples on the surface. It is possible to learn how to polish pitted aluminum wheels.
  • Brake Dus
    The brakes leave behind dust after they are applied. To remove this contaminant, you want to know how to clean brake dust off polished aluminum wheels.
  • Oxidized Or Corroded 
    While aluminum is less susceptible to corrosion, it can still happen over time, especially if you live in a humid environment. Learn how to clean oxidized polished aluminum wheels and how to remove corrosion from aluminum wheels to make them look like new again.
  • Scratches 
    Scratches are a common occurrence with any wheel, especially when dealing with curbs. Learning how to fix scratched aluminum wheels requires you to cover the area with Bondo putty and sand it down.
Best Way To Polish Aluminum Wheels

Benefits of Regularly Polishing Aluminum Wheels

By learning how to polish cast aluminum wheels, you ensure maximum protection from dirt, grime, and brake dust. Additionally, polishing the rims guarantees longevity and prevents corrosion.

Of course, having freshly polished rims also allows your car to look its best. There’s nothing better than a sparkling clean car with newly polished wheels. All of the aesthetic beauty will cause you to be proud of your vehicle.

Choosing The Right Aluminum Wheel Polishing Kit

What is the easiest way to polish aluminum wheels? With the right aluminum wheel cleaner. We evaluate what you should look for when choosing an aluminum polishing kit.

Polish type

The cream aluminum wheel polish is one of the most popular because it is the easiest to use. However, you can also get a spray wheel polish that allows for more accuracy. With lotion wheel polish, you get a thicker formula, but the gel wheel polish provides the best finish.


Once you know how to clean aluminum wheels, you might want to use the product on other items, such as your keys or household aluminum. Look for a product that works on more than just tires.


Once you have finished learning how to clean polished aluminum wheels, you will want to store the leftover product for later use. Sprays can spill easily, but the other formulas might be good to keep in the car without any problems.

Ease Of Application

Evaluate how difficult it might be to apply the aluminum wheel cleaner to your car. If it is going to require a lot of effort, it might not be worth your time.

How To Polish Aluminum Wheels: Step By Step

Learning how to polish aluminum wheels by hand doesn’t like a lot of work. With a few minutes, you can even figure out how to polish aluminum wheels to look like chrome. Here are some materials you need if you want to learn how to polish aluminum wheels to mirror finish.

  • Degreaser
  • Heavy-duty scouring pads
  • Power washer
  • Mechanical buffer
  • Aluminum wheel polisher

Follow these steps if you want to learn how to sand and polish aluminum wheels.

  1. 1
    You can polish aluminum wheels by hand. However, you might prefer to take them off for more maneuverability. If you do want to take the wheels off, you will need a durable impact wrench.
  2. 2
    Use a degreaser to get any contaminants off of the wheel.
  3. 3
    Wash the wheel thoroughly before moving on.
  4. 4
    With your mechanical buffer, spend some time working on the imperfections of the wheel.
  5. 5
    Wipe the wheel clean and apply your aluminum polisher for a beautiful shine.

You can use the same steps if you want to learn how to polish aluminum motorcycle wheels or if you are trying to figure out how to polish aluminum bike wheels.

How To Paint Aluminum Wheels For Beginners

Why would you want to paint polished aluminum wheels black? If you are looking to change the appearance of the rims, you might be trying to figure out how to paint polished aluminum wheels. Here are some steps to consider.

  1. 1
    Remove the rims.
  2. 2
    Clean the rims.
  3. 3
    Use a wire brush and sandpaper to remove any impurities.
  4. 4
    Tape off the area you don’t want to be painted.
  5. 5
    Use primer on the rim and let it dry.
  6. 6
    Use automotive paint. If you spray near your vehicle, you might need to figure out how to remove paint from a car, so be careful.
  7. 7
    Apply a top coat.
  8. 8
    Reinstall the tires once they are dry.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Does WD40 clean aluminum?

You could use WD40 to clean your aluminum wheels, but you must be careful not to get it on the paint of your car. If it isn’t removed promptly, it could start to eat away at the automotive paint.

Does vinegar clean aluminum?

You can learn how to clean oxidized aluminum wheels with some vinegar. Just mix one tablespoon of vinegar into two cups of warm water and use it on the wheels with a microfiber cloth.

Does acetone clean aluminum?

Acetone is slightly stronger than lacquer thinner and safe to use on aluminum if you have stubborn contaminants that need to be removed. The acetone will evaporate quickly, leaving a nice shine behind.

Can you use a wire brush on aluminum?

A wire brush will help you remove oxidized aluminum without hurting the wheels. Just be gentle and don't scratch the surface too roughly, or you might end up with larger problems.

How do you make aluminum shine without polishing it?

Vinegar mixed with water can help make your wheels shine after you wash them. You can also learn how to clear coat polished aluminum wheels if you want more protection.


Learning how to polish aluminum wheels isn’t difficult with our simple steps. You can use a variety of polishes and tools to get the job done right. All that’s left to do is take your car for a spin and show off the clean wheels.