8 Proven Steps To Detail Wheels And Tires And Get It A Brand New Look

8 Proven Steps To Detail Wheels And Tires And Get It A Brand New Look


Polished tires and wheels play a huge role in the overall impact of your car. Getting it detailed is not merely for aesthetics, equally important, it’s for preventive maintenance. 

When tires and wheels get neglected, they’ll lose their original color to a layer of dust build-up, in many cases when left on for too long, will cause irreversible damage. 

So in today’s post, we’re going to run through 8 simple steps to get your tires and wheels back to life. It will include how you can remedy the most common kind of debris your wheels get - brake dust. This process will work for an average car owner and a professional detailer. 

If you want to know of a detailing process that will result in having spic-and-span and long-lasting, this post is for you. 

Let’s get right to it.

8 Steps To Detail Tires And Wheels

Step 1: Preparation

Before you start getting your tires and wheels wet, you first have to make sure you have all the tools you’ll need. If you’re doing things manually, you’ll need:

  • 2 wash buckets (preferably with grit guards)
  • Water hose
  • Wash mitts
  • Microfiber towels for drying
  • Detailing brushes
  • Brake dust cleaner
  • Tires and wheels cleaning solution
  • Applicator pad
  • Tire wax
  • Tire dressing

But if you have a car cleaning gun, you’ll only need 1 wash bucket, just to rinse the nozzle of the car cleaning gun from the debris that was agitated off from the tires and wheels. You won’t also need a water hose, wash mitts, detailing brushes, and more than 1 microfiber towel. 

Recommended Reading: 5 Things To Look For In A Car Cleaning Gun

Getting these tools prepared before starting the wash-proper will ensure a smooth process. You’ll avoid wasting time going back and forth to the garage to get the things you forget to bring out. 

When all of the tools are ready, you can now proceed to step 2. 

Step 2: Pre-rinsing

Blast your wheels off with water thoroughly to remove surface gunk, dust, mud, dirt, and other kinds of debris. Doing so will make it easier for you to remove the contaminants, help minimize the potential of scratch marks, and save on cleaning solutions. 

Recommended Reading: The Best Way To Wash A Car Without Scratching It

It’s best to rinse your tires and wheels with a high-pressure water sprayer. You can either use a pressure washer or a car cleaning gun. 

using a car cleaning gun to detail tires and wheels


Using either of these two options will ensure your rinsing power won’t just be from the water, but also the air pressure. It’s going to remove even the most stubborn dirt twice as fast as when you use the bucket to splash water on the tires and wheels. 

When done, proceed to step 3. 

Step 3: Spray On Some Brake Dust Cleaner 

Before using an all-purpose cleaner or a tires and wheels cleaner, spray on some brake dust cleaner first. 

Why the need for this extra step?

You see, brake dust, especially when left on the wheels for too long will get caked on the surface. It will be almost impossible to get rid of it with simple scrubbing. The brake dust cleaner will help lift off the contaminants so getting rid of them will be a breeze. 

Just make sure you get the right brake dust cleaner. There are brake dust cleaners specialized for chrome, alloy, and steel wheels. Make sure you have the appropriate one for your car. 

Recommended Reading: 6 Proven Steps To Get Rid Of Brake Dust And Get Wheels Looking New Again

For the dilution ratio, you can always find instructions about it on the bottle. 

Use the car cleaning gun to apply the cleaner and leave it on for at least 5 minutes. When done, use the car cleaning gun again, now with just water in the container to rinse the brake dust cleaner off. 

Note: If your wheels are ceramic-coated, clear-coated, or has another protective agent applied, you can skip this step. The protective coat will make it easy to clean the wheels because it will help prevent contaminants from clinging to them. In many cases, when sprayed with water, the dust will slide right off. 

Recommended Reading: Top 7 Automotive Shampoos For Ceramic Coats

Step 4: Apply Cleaning Solution

This step is pretty much the same as the previous step. The brake dust cleaner mainly gets rid of well… the brake dust. 

But there will always be other contaminants left on the surface, those the brake dust wasn’t able to wash off. For this, you have to apply a general tires and wheels cleaning solution to get a thorough clean. 

Instead of applying the cleaner and scrubbing with a wash mitt and detailing brush, use the car cleaning gun to agitate the remaining dust. It’ll be faster and more efficient because the car cleaning gun comes with strong air pressure to remove dust even in the hard-to-reach areas. 

Step 5: Rinse

When step 4 is done, it’s time to rinse the tires and wheels. Since the car cleaning gun is so versatile, you can utilize it too to rinse the cleaner off. Just replace the cleaning solution on the container with pure water, and you’re good to go. 

After getting it thoroughly rinsed, switch the car cleaning gun to air-only mode so you can blow off the excess water, making it easier to do step 6. 

Step 6: Wipe It Dry

Using a clean microfiber towel, go over the rinsed wheels to get rid of the remaining water spots. The car cleaning gun did most of the drying work, wiping it with the towel is a step to ensure it’s completely dry to avoid watermarks. 


drying tires and wheels


You’re almost done at this point, but to minimize dust settling on the wheels and tires, you’ll need some preventive measures. 

Step 7: Waxing

Using an applicator pad, apply a layer of wax on the wheels. It’ll seal the surface so the dust will easily slide off instead of hanging onto the wheels. This means fewer contaminants to clean by the end of the week. 

With this slick protection, you’ll also enjoy removing dirt and grime easier and faster. 

Plus it’ll give your wheels a polished look making it seem like it just came out from the dealership. 

Step 8: Dressing

This is for when you want to go the extra mile to shine your tires. Using it will bring visual appeal to the next level and best of all, prevent premature tire aging. 

A tire dressing can either be in the form of foam or spray. Applying it is the same way you waxed your wheels - using an applicator pad. Buff the area until you get the shine you want.  

waxing tires and wheels


You can find either a water-based or silicone-based tire dressing. I’d personally go for the water-based options since they’re environmentally friendly and won’t damage your tires. 

Unlike wax protection that you apply every few weeks, tire dressing can provide several months of protection. You don’t have to apply it every time you wash your tires and wheels. 

By the time you finish buffing, you’re done with the entire process. 

8 Detailing Steps Ain’t So Hard

It might seem like you have to take a lot of steps to ensure you get good-looking wheels, but the truth is, you won’t. Having a car cleaning gun will make the job 3x easier than when you detail your tires and wheels the traditional way. 

Try it out for yourself and see how this 8-step process can bring your tires and wheels back to life. 

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