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Auto Maintenance & Care

Best Wheel Cleaner

Keeping your wheels clean can be a labor-intensive and messy process, with brake dust and grime seeming to get everywhere and yet stick relentlessly to the wheels. However, when not done on a regular basis, the corrosive residues can begin to damage the wheels.

The best wheel cleaners need to not only cut through and dissolve brake dust and other residues, but suspend the particles to avoid scratching your wheels. We've ensured the following best wheel cleaners are safe on most surfaces, although it's important to always check if the product you want to use is suitable for your wheels.

For those who regularly wash their wheels with soap and water, using these cleaners regularly is likely to be overkill. However, if it's been a while since you cleaned your wheels or your car is particularly prone to brake dust, these picks will effectively remove build-up.

These products are also helpful for cleaning the hard-to-reach areas of your wheels, reducing the amount of scrubbing that is needed. However, a small bottle of cleaner can be used deceptively fast, so keep that in mind if you plan on using a wheel cleaner on a regular basis.

Sonax Wheel Cleaner FullEffect

Full Effect wheel cleaner from Sonax enjoys considerable popularity thanks to its effectiveness at a relatively reasonable cost. It begins as a green liquid, and turns a deep red as it works to remove the brake dust, residue, and grime build up on your wheels. The solution comes in a spray bottle, making it easy to apply to the wheel area.

The acid-free and pH-balanced formula works so well, even on heavy deposits, that often only minimal scrubbing is needed before rinsing everything off. This wheel cleaner is safe for use on multiple finishes, included both painted and clear-coated wheels. Although far from being the cheapest option available, it still offers superb performance comparable to more expensive products.

Eagle One All Wheel & Tire Cleaner

This popular wheel cleaner is known as one of the very best available, without costing an arm and a leg. The Eagle One A2Z wheel and tire cleaner offers extremely effective performance while being safe to use on multiple wheel finishes.

To use this product, use the spray bottle to dispense the acid-free formula onto your wheels where it will create thick, white foam that will turn brown as it breaks down grime and residues. As with any wheel cleaner, a light scrubbing with a wheel brush is recommended for heavily soiled wheels then simply hose off your wheels.

Mothers Foaming Wheel & Tire Cleaner (05924)

Mothers offers an entire lineup of affordable and accessible auto care products. Their combination of quality and affordability have made them very popular, especially amongst those who don't have a need for spending extra on high-end options. The Mothers Foaming Wheel & Tire Cleaner is safe for use on multiple finishes, including both painted and clear-coated wheels.

This formula is designed to dissolve and suspend particles, keeping your wheels safe from damage during cleaning. The spray bottle dispenses white foam which becomes brown as it removes dirt and grime, indicating that you can proceed with using a wheel brush to further clean. This wheel cleaner is also formulated to dry spot-free without the need for hand drying.

Meguiar's Hot Rims Wheel Cleaner (G9524)

Meguiar's Hot Rims Wheel & Tire Cleaner comes in different formulas, with the All Wheel version being suitable for most finishes, although you should verify your needs before purchasing. This wheel cleaner comes in a spray bottle for easy application, and effectively dissolves grime and brake dust that has built up over time.

Spray the product onto your wheels and as it gets to work, the foam will begin to turn brown. Like most wheel cleaners, light scrubbing with a wheel brush is recommended before rinsing and drying your wheels. Although some users report that this wheel cleaner has an especially strong smell, its affordability and effectiveness make it a solid choice.

Product pictured is Meguiar's Hot Rims/Cool Care All Wheel Cleaner.

Armor All Extreme Wheel and Tire Cleaner (78011)

This Wheel and Tire Cleaner from Armor All is affordable and effective, while being widely available at most major retailers. To use, simply spray the foaming formula onto your wheels, wait as it gets to work dissolving the grime and dust, and then lightly scrub the wheels with a wheel brush before rinsing and drying. The Armor All Extreme Wheel and Tire Cleaner is safe for most finishes, and does a good job of cleaning even hard-to-reach nooks and crannies.

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