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Best Way to Clean BMW Wheels

When giving your BMW a car wash, remember the wheels need a separate wash. Especially when you have upgraded rims and performance brakes such as the BMW M Carbon Ceramic Brakes or the M Compound Brakes, you will need to pay more attention to how the wheels are washed along with the brake discs and calipers.

Here is our complete guide on the best way to clean BMW wheels.

Before washing the rim and tire. Notice the browning and faded look.

how to clean bmw wheels

After washing the rim and tire. Notice the browning and faded look are gone!

how to clean bmw rims

Best Way to Clean BMW Wheels in 6 Steps

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Step 1: Spray your tire with All-Purpose Cleaner

Here is the best way to clean tire rims! Your BMW wheels aren’t the only thing you should be washing during your monthly wash, your tires also play a crucial role in how good your car will look after some TLC (tender love & care).

After your spray your tires (be very liberal!), let the all-purpose cleaner do its thing. You’ll start to see the all-purpose cleaner turn brown after 15 seconds.

Wash each wheel of your BMW one at a time before washing the body of the vehicle.

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Step 2: Scrub your tire with a medium/firm bristle brush to work the APC in better

Grab your medium/firm bristle brush, give it a quick rinse, or dunk it into some water and start scrubbing your tires. Feel free to spray more all-purpose cleaner as you start making your way around the tire.

Note: If your BMW comes with the M Carbon Ceramic Brakes or the M Compound brakes, it is important to avoid spraying wheel cleaner / all-purpose cleaner on your brake discs and calipers.

If you have a pressure washer, just give the M carbon-ceramic brakes or M compound brakes a quick rinse. Doing so prevents the formation of encrustations or deposits of salt crystals when the car is parked after cleaning.

Chemical Guys ACCG08 Wheelie All Exterior Surface and Wheel Brush Mothers Wheel Brush and Tire Cleaner for Car Detailing


best way to clean tire rims
best way to clean rims and tires

Step 3: Apply Wheel Cleaner on Rim

Spray wheel cleaner throughout the rim as well as inside the rim. Make sure it is only applied to the wheel rims and does not touch the brake discs or the calipers.

Use a wheel cleaner that is acid-free and pH balanced, which is safe on the BMW standard alloy and aluminum rims along with high-end aftermarket wheels. Do not let the wheel cleaner dry on the wheel, so if you’re washing in direct sunlight, make sure you are working quickly.

Meguiar’s G180132 Ultimate All Wheel Cleaner Chemical Guys CLD_997_16 Diablo Wheel Gel Concentrated Wheel Cleaner (Safe on All Wheel & Rim Finishes), 16 oz.

Step 4: Scrub rim with a soft bristle brush or wheel wand

Evenly spray the cleaner over the rims. The wheel cleaner will start to turn purple, it’s loosening the brake dust from the rim by itself but you can lightly agitate it with a soft bristle brush to ensure all brake dust is loosened.

Master Wheel Brush, Easy Reach Wheel and Rim Detailing Brush 18’’ Long Soft Bristle by TAKAVU EZ Detail Brush Big
black alloy wheel cleaner
meguiars alloy wheel cleaner

Step 5: Rinse off Wheels

As we mentioned above, don’t let any of the cleaners dry on your tires or wheels. By working 1 wheel at a time, you’ll be able to avoid that. Once you’ve scrubbed the tires and wheels, rinse them off with a pressure washer or garden hose with a high-pressure attachment.

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Step 5.5: Dry Off Wheels

It’s important to dry off your wheels before proceeding to apply tire shire dressing. Although the tire dressings we recommend are all water-based, they won’t stay on the tire long enough to be soaked up by the tire if it’s still wet.

We recommend buying some cheap microfiber towels that will be dedicated to your wheels. DO NOT USE microfiber towels you’ve used on your wheels, on your paint! BIG NO NO.

FIXSMITH Microfiber Cleaning Cloth – Pack of 50, Multi-Functional Cleaning Towels, Size: 12 x 16 in, Highly Absorbent Cleaning Rags, Lint-Free, Streak-Free Cleaning Cloths for Car Kitchen Home Office Amazon Basics Microfiber Cleaning Cloths, Non-Abrasive, Reusable and Washable – Pack of 24, 12 x16-Inch, Blue, White and Yellow
michelin pilot sport 4s tires - cleaning & scrubbing

Step 6: Apply Tire Shine / Tire Dressing

Do this step last, after you have washed your wheels, tires, and the rest of your BMW. Apply tire shine on your applicator, if you don’t have an applicator, you can use a cheap microfiber towel to apply the tire shine.

Spread it evenly around the tire, if you notice you that you’re not getting the “shine” that you’re looking for after the first pass. Feel free to apply more tire shine until you get your desired “ka-chow!” shine. 😀

Always dry off your BMW wheels using a soft, lint-free, and non-scratch microfiber cloth that does not harm the wheel surface. Avoid using cleaning clothes with materials such as heavy polyester thread because it can scratch your car.

Chemical Guys TVD11316 Tire Kicker Sprayable Extra Glossy Tire Shine (Works on Rubber, Vinyl & Plastic) Safe for Cars, Trucks, Motorcycles, RVs & More, 16 fl oz Meguiar’s Endurance Tire Gel, Tire Dressing Protects and Shines Car Tires – 16 Oz Bottle
IPELY 2 Pack Large Tire Shine Applicator Pad, Durable and Reusable Hex-Grip Tire Dressing Applicator Pad for Applying Tire Shine Chemical Guys ACC_300_2 Wonder Wave Durafoam Contoured Large Tire Dressing Applicator Pad, Pack of 2
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Step 6.5: Apply Wheel Wax and Sealant on Rims

Many people like to dry off the wheels and give them a good polish with a layer of sealant for protection after the car wash.

Chemical Guys WAC_303 Wheel Guard Max Coat and Rim Sealant, Safe for Cars, Trucks, SUVs, Motorcycles, RVs & More, 8 oz Chemical Guys WAC315 Wheel Guard and Rim Wax, Safe for Cars, Trucks, SUVs, Motorcycles, RVs & More, 8 fl oz

Wheel Wax

If you are going to use a wheel wax, make sure to choose a brand that’s safe for your BMW wheel type, especially when you have custom-ordered wheels with decorative coatings.

Check with the vendor if you are not sure. Waxing the wheels not only make them look new and shiny, but more importantly, they can prevent your wheels from dust, road-salt or grease buildup and erosion.

Wheel Sealant

Wheel sealant can be used interchangeably as wheel wax, although they are not entirely the same in their properties. Sealant usually requires less frequent application than wax and is described as more robust and has higher wear resistance.

Most reputable brands of wheel sealant also come with UV protection in addition to prevention of harmful buildup and corrosion.

wheel wax or sealant

How to Apply Wheel Wax and Sealant

When using sealant and wax together, experts advise applying sealant first since it takes longer to break down than wax. Always check the product descriptions to make sure that the sealant and wax you are using can be safely used together.

There is also hybrid wheel wax-and-sealant-in-one product out there that effectively does the two jobs at once.

During application, use a soft microfiber cloth or applicator pad to apply wheel sealant or wax thoroughly. Each wheel polish, wax or sealant works differently, so read the instructions carefully to check how long the product will last before re-applying.


how to clean bmw rims

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