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Applying Ceramic Coating For Your Wheels

Applying Ceramic Coating For Your Wheels

Alloy wheels pretty much dominate the car market these days. Steel wheels are generally a thing of the past. This is because alloys are much more attractive, easier on the suspension and are lighter, aiding fuel economy. They are durable but one downside is that they are more prone to physical damage, ‘kerbing’ is an example. Further, alloys need more care to reduce cosmetic damage caused by road grime, grit and the ever-present brake dust.

Fortunately, caring for those gorgeous alloys is straightforward and can be part of the detailing regime of the whole motor. Prior to the ultimate step of adding a ceramic coat (see below) to the wheels for total, long-lasting protection, this is how to go about it:

What You’ll Need

Obviously you will need the usual arsenal of car cleaning tools;

  • Two buckets
  • Wash mitt
  • Car shampoo
  • Soft bristle wheel brush
  • Iron remover
  • Alloy cleaner, ensure the product is acid-free. Alloys are sensitive
  • Tyre dressing 


Cleaning And Preparing Wheels & Alloys

It is usual to clean wheels when they are on the car. Hardcore enthusiasts will sometimes remove the wheel for easier detailed cleaning front and back. That’s fine, bearing in mind the usual safety aspects of wheel removal and the safe keeping of locking wheel nuts.

Otherwise, follow these steps:

1. A pressure washer or hose will make inroads into removing any loose dirt and grit. What remains will likely be any road grease or oil and of course the inevitable brake dust. Brake dust is comprised of iron particles caused by the surface to surface brake action. It’s made of metallic elements and it likes to bake itself onto alloy wheels.

2. For heavily soiled wheels a spray-on acid-free iron remover will do the job. Some alloys are complex shapes so use a wheel brush to work the product. Follow the instructions.

3. Otherwise use a regular, acid-free wheel cleaner and work in with the brush. Rinse away when finished.

Ceramic Coating

Care of alloy wheels should be part of any car owners detailing regime but it is possible to go further to provide wheel protection that will last, literally, for years: Ceramic coating. It is a brilliant solution but the nature of the product means this is a job that requires the utmost care and attention to detail. A face mask and gloves are required. If in doubt, consult a professional.

How Long Does It Take To Ceramic Coat Wheels?

Forward planning is the key to this job. First, the wheels need to be scrupulously cleaned as described above. For the purposes of this task, it is best to remove the wheels from the car. Put the wheel nuts in a box, especially the all-important locking nuts. Allow a good hour per wheel and do not drive thereafter for twenty-four hours.

Top Tip: A plastic sheet placed on the ground or floor will help to keep the newly clean wheels away from dirty surfaces.

Applying The Ceramic Coating To Wheels

This is a delicate task with a certain set of rules. The application process will vary depending on the product used so follow the product instructions to the letter. There are no shortcuts.

Here are tips that will apply to almost all coatings used:

  • Wear a face mask and gloves.
  • Do not work in direct sunlight. Work in the shade or within a well-ventilated space in mild weather.
  • Do not apply the coating in the wheel bolt locators.
  • Wait for the required time to allow the ceramic coating to fully cure. Replace the wheels but leave the car alone for twenty-four hours.
  • Allow a couple of weeks before washing the wheels again.

As implied, this is a tricky undertaking but is so worthwhile ultimately. The alloy wheels will have a glossy shine that is water repellent and, crucially, will be effectively non-stick, resisting brake dust and road grime and shrugging off rainwater and even road salt in winter conditions.

How Long Does A Ceramic Coating On Wheels Last?

This is why this job is worth the extra effort. Not only does ceramic coating protect the wheels from contamination, it is also very long-lasting. For average use in average conditions owners can expect the coating to last for a couple of years before reapplication is required. A professional company that specialises in ceramic coating can go further, potentially doubling the time the coating lasts.

Aftercare: How To Keep Ceramic Coated Wheels Clean

A major advantage of this form of protection for alloy wheels is ease of cleaning subsequently. Once the ceramic coating is applied, there is no further need to wax. To clean a coated alloy do this:

1. Use a pH neutral car wash shampoo that does not incorporate any wax additive. The coating alone will resist brake dust and road grime.

2. Simply spray with the water, then use a microfibre wash mitt, and a bucket of car shampoo. Dry with a microfibre cloth or drying towel.

3. Do not use an iron remover or alloy cleaner on the wheels once coated. You will just undo all that good work.

4. For that final touch spray the clean tyres with a quality tyre dressing. It brings up a showroom rubber shine as if the tyres are brand new. It’s a show and shine trick but it is effective. Respray every time the car is washed.

Alloy wheels are expensive to replace so it pays to look after them. Consider adding a ceramic coat to your alloy wheels the next time a full detail is scheduled.

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