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.
Best Way to Clean BMW Wheels in 6 Steps
- Step 1: Washing the BMW Wheels One at a Time
- Step 2: Applying Wheel Cleaner
- Step 3: Detailing the Wheels
- Step 4: Drying the Wheels
- Step 5: Applying Wheel Wax and Sealant
- Step 6: Dressing the Tires
Step 1: Wash the BMW Wheels One at a Time
Many experts advise washing the car from the bottom to the top because washing the wheels before the car wash saves you more time by avoiding washing and drying the vehicle’s body twice. When you wash the body of the car first, wet spots can dry up while you are working on the wheels and can create unsightly watermarks. If you dry the car body before moving onto the wheels, you may need to wash or dry the body again due to the inevitable splashing while cleaning the wheels.
So, the best advice is to wash each wheel of your BMW one at a time before washing the body of the vehicle. If your BMW comes with the M Carbon Ceramic Brakes or the M Compound brakes, it is important to clean both brake discs and calipers with a steam jet or high-pressure cleaner. Doing so prevents the formation of encrustations or deposits of salt crystals when the car is parked after cleaning.
Step 2: Apply Wheel Cleaner
When wheel cleaner is used, 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. If you have custom BMW wheels with powder/decorative coating or any other special material, be sure to check if the solution is safe for the material.
Follow instructions on the wheel cleaner and carefully and evenly spray the cleaner over the rims. Avoid spraying onto the BMW brakes or the calipers as much as possible. Many of the wheel cleaners can take off tough grime and grease without scrubbing. So, you can simply rinse the wheel cleaner off with a high-power jet.
Step 3: Detail the Wheels
As we mentioned above, many wheel cleaners on the market clean your BMW wheels perfectly without the need of scrubbing, especially if your wheels have not accumulated heavy encrustations. However, when there is stubborn grease left over on the rims, or you would like to further detail the rims, do choose a brush with extra-soft and scratch-free bristles if safe and necessary, but be careful to avoid the brakes. Use the fine-bristle brush to gently go through the missed details and the tough to reach spots. Rinse clean with high-pressure water jet when finished.
Step 4: Dry the Wheels
Do this step last, after you have washed your wheels, tires, and the rest of your BMW. Do use a gentle car wash solution with a lint-free, scratch-free microfiber car wash mitten when washing your car.
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.
Step 5: Apply Wheel Wax and Sealant
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.
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 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.
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.
Step 6: Dress the Tires
You can go one step further by dressing the tires on your BMW separately with a non-toxic, environmentally-friendly tire dressing care and shine with microfiber cleaning pad. Tire dressings not only makes your tires look new and shiny, but it will also prevent and protect your BMW tires from UV rays which can cause cracking, drying, and fading. Choose a good quality tire dressing that will bond to the tires and not flung all over your car when driving.
After a proper wash and care of your BMW wheels and tires, remember to give your car a good wax to protect the paint. Your BMW will look as beautiful as brand new.