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Old 09-12-2011, 08:49 AM
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Care and Feeding of Polished Aluminum Wheels?

Any suggestions/tips for caring for the polished aluminum wheels on my WK2?

The clearcoat failed on my 3 prior Jeep's painted AL wheels, leading to paint peal then oxidation and tarnishing of the underlying AL. No amount of polishing could diminish the ugly discoloration. I had planned to send my wheels out for refinishing, but the bought my 2011 instead

The New Hampshire winter is just around the corner, with all the nastiness and road salt that brings. Pretty harsh, especially on the wheels. My Jeep lives outside.

I presume I should treat these wheels much like any painted surface, correct? Any commercial products to help protect the clearcoat itself? Drive thru car washes are pretty much a given in the winter months, especially for undercarriage rinses - I am guessing these do not help much to retain any wheel treatments.

Any suggestions?

Thanks!
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Old 09-12-2011, 08:56 AM
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Re: Care and Feeding of Polished Aluminum Wheels?

To preface this I actually detailed cars professionally for a few years and am still up on it as a hobby for my own vehicles.

I assume these are the polished Limited/Overland 18s?

Do we know if they have a clearcoat?

If they have a clearcoat you will want to treat them just like the paint on the rest of the car. I don't like wheel cleaners of any kind because I've found they stain the clearcoat over time and if you wash the vehicle regularly they are unnecessary. For protection you can use a Polymer sealant type product (carnuaba wax will vaporize because of the high temps the front wheels get to). I use a product called "Wheel Wax" which is designed specifically for wheels that works great.

If they are not clearcoated and are truly polished metal (which I doubt), then they will need to be polished regularly with a metal polish...
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:12 AM
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Re: Care and Feeding of Polished Aluminum Wheels?

Yes, 18's on a Limited.

I do not know for sure if they are clearcoated. I had read that here, seemed a reasonable thing as bare polished AL would be a bear to keep shiny!

Maybe someone will chime in with a solid confirmation on this point.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:13 AM
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Re: Care and Feeding of Polished Aluminum Wheels?

If you take some metal polish, put it on a cloth and rub the wheel, if they are uncoated the cloth will turn black. If they are clearcoated it won't...
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:29 AM
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Re: Care and Feeding of Polished Aluminum Wheels?

The 18's and Summit 20's are clear coated for sure. Polished wheels look great but any premature damage to the rim will always accelerate the deterioration. Also since the metal doesn't get a base coat primer clear coat doesn't have anything solid to bond with. So eventually all clear coat polished wheel will crack, flake, and need respraying at some point. It's just the nature of that type of wheel.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:29 AM
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Re: Care and Feeding of Polished Aluminum Wheels?

All factory polished wheels are clearcoated.
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Old 09-12-2011, 10:01 AM
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Re: Care and Feeding of Polished Aluminum Wheels?

Thats what I figured. Then all you need to do is wash them with carwash soap when you wash the Jeep, and protect them whenever you wax either with a polymer sealant or dedicated wheel type protectant like Wheel Wax. They will look new for many years if you do that.
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Old 09-12-2011, 10:15 AM
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Re: Care and Feeding of Polished Aluminum Wheels?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SW03ES View Post
Thats what I figured. Then all you need to do is wash them with carwash soap when you wash the Jeep, and protect them whenever you wax either with a polymer sealant or dedicated wheel type protectant like Wheel Wax. They will look new for many years if you do that.
Do you suggest using Wheel Wax on the painted aluminum wheels too?
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Old 09-12-2011, 10:18 AM
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Re: Care and Feeding of Polished Aluminum Wheels?

Yeah absolutely, I've used it for years on all my cars, great product.
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Old 09-12-2011, 07:21 PM
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Re: Care and Feeding of Polished Aluminum Wheels?

I use wheel polish! and -- after each return.. to the garage if I run out in bad salty weather.. in the white mtns here.. I have a sponge and luke warm water/soap the wheels to remove the salt.. ONLY thing to keep the wheels from getting shitty.. I owned a detail shop in sw florida for a number of years.. and trust me .. just polish or the BEST wax won't keep the salt off.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:35 PM
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Re: Care and Feeding of Polished Aluminum Wheels?

I'm new here to the Jeep forum, so my opinion may not mean much but my best advice (if you have winters anything like ours here in Southern Ontario) is to put winter wheels and tires on your vehicle.
A - your rims will look like new forever, and
B - your summer tires will last (up to) twice as long.

I'll take polished / painted aluminum rims over the chrome (plastic) wheels anyday. I have the plastic/chrome wheels on my '06 Pacifica and I hate them.
I won't be ordering them on my Overland, because I've gone through 3 sets of wheels due to salt getting into the finish and destroying it.
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