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How To Remove Oxidation And Restore Aluminum Rims

Remove Oxidation And Restore Aluminum Rims

Aluminum is a lightweight material frequently used for rims and wheels that gives any car a fantastic feeling of flair. Despite the wheels' apparent aesthetic appeal, there are a lot of useful ways to put these kinds of auto parts to use. Understanding how to clean aluminum rims is simple due to the metal's superior shine and strength over steel wheels as well as how much easier it is to maintain.

We'll assist you in learning quickly how to restore aluminum rims to their original condition and appearance by removing oxidation. You can easily clean your wheels for a shiny gloss and uncompromised performance using just a few supplies and tools.

Let’s discuss how to clean your wheels, get rid of the oxidation, and stop further oxidation buildup in this article.

What is Oxidation?

Corrosion is a byproduct of oxidation, not the same thing. When a metal is exposed to an oxidizing agent, such as air, oxidation takes place. This results in the metal, especially aluminum, forming a thin, thick layer of an element called aluminum oxide. This film protects the metal from corrosion. Since aluminum is incredibly resistant to corrosion, it will be a long time before this happens. Corrosion doesn't start until the hardened film starts to break away.

In a nutshell, aluminum metal uses oxidation as a type of self-healing and protection. While it's positive that it defends against corrosion, this indicates that corrosion may happen soon. Furthermore, it doesn't look very good on your wheels. Steel oxidation takes longer to occur than aluminum oxidation. Your rims' rough, white surface is a result of the strong bonds that aluminum atoms frequently form with oxygen. For the record, aluminum does not rust. Only ferrous metals may rust, however, aluminum can develop after-rust if ferrous metals scrape or embed themselves in it.

How To Restore Wheels And Remove Oxidation

It is quite easy and quick to remove oxidation from your rims. The steps to removing oxidation and restoring wheels are as follows:

Step 1 - Examine For Coatings

The first step is to check for any coatings on the wheel. Some aluminum wheels have a transparent layer applied over the aluminum to shield it and stop oxidation. You must ascertain whether you have a coating or not.

Apply a small quantity of polish to a concealed location using a clean microfiber cloth. Aluminum that has been oxidized will leave a black residue on the rag when you remove the polish, indicating that the metal is now naked. If there isn't any black residue, a coating is present.

Step 2 - Wash The Wheels In Water

Remove as much dirt from your rims as you can before using any soap or cleansers. By doing this, you make sure that the metal is completely uncontaminated when you clean, polish, or seal it. The simplest method is to use a strong stream of water from a hose to spray your car's wheels.

Make careful to thoroughly soak all of the wheels' components during the rinsing process and reach all of the design's crevices. When finished, wipe down with a microfiber cleaning cloth.

Step 3 - Sand The Rims

Sand the rims down starting with 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper to remove pitting, scratches, and curb rash. Start with rougher sandpaper, such as 240 or 320 grit, if you have deeper pitting or scratches. Usually, hand sanding yields the most effective results, but if you want to save some time and have rims that aren't difficult to reach with an orbital sander or angle grinder, you might try using a sanding disc to do the majority of the job. Sand the surface until all pitting and scratches are removed.

After smoothing the surface with fine-grit sandpaper, go up to 800 or 1,000 grit to get rid of any ridges or roughness. Sanding dust can be removed using a clean, dry microfiber cloth.

Step 4 - Wash And Dry

Rinse the rims, tires, and wheel wells once more with your hose to remove all soap and cleaner. Clean these areas thoroughly, being sure to reach the spaces between the spokes and lug nuts. To dry your rims, use a fresh, soft microfiber cloth. They are not recommended to dry by air as this may result in stains.

Step 5 - Polish

Polish your now-clean, oxidation-free wheels using your preferred compound. Apply the metal polish with a dry, clean microfiber cloth, a felt polishing disc, or a power polisher in the form of a ball. Before finishing by wiping the wheel clean with a new cloth, make sure you cover the entire wheel.

How To Stop The Oxidation Of Aluminum Rims

It isn't much you can do to stop oxidation from happening because oxygen and aluminum have a close interaction. However, ignoring oxidation can result in corrosion, which is highly hazardous and something you want to prevent. To prevent corrosion or aluminum oxidation in the future, you should apply a protective coating and clean your rims regularly.

Protective Coatings:

To help prevent corrosion, you can coat your aluminum rims with a variety of protective coatings. The most typical examples are:

  • Paint
  • Powder coats
  • Anodizing
  • Wax
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