Issue with 19 inch factory polished aluminum wheels (rpo code PJ2) on '11 CTS w/ FE5
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2008-2013 Cadillac CTS General Discussion Discussion, Issue with 19 inch factory polished aluminum wheels (rpo code PJ2) on '11 CTS w/ FE5 in Cadillac CTS Second Generation Forum - 2008-2013; Hey all - I've noticed lately that two of my 19 inch factory polished wheels (rpo code PJ2) on my ...
  1. #1
    RAB's Avatar
    RAB
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    Issue with 19 inch factory polished aluminum wheels (rpo code PJ2) on '11 CTS w/ FE5

    Hey all -
    I've noticed lately that two of my 19 inch factory polished wheels (rpo code PJ2) on my 2011 CTS4 w/FE5 are looking noticeably dull as compared to the other two wheels which still look shiny /as-new. The clear-coat on the two problem wheels has become cloudy/dull due to, I'm guessing, a material defect or a clear-coat application problem that has only made itself known over time. My '11 CTS has ultra low miles on it and has seen very little of winter. I'm wondering if anyone else has experienced this type of problem with their polished wheels, and if so, what came of it? What was your dealer's take on the issue? Was a warranty repair or warranty wheel replacement offered? I'm going to be visiting my dealer next week to raise the issue. My B-to-B 4-year factory warranty expires at the end of September and I want to get this issue taken care of before then.
    Comments? Advice?
    Thanks,
    Richard

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    tinman's Avatar
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    Re: Issue with 19 inch factory polished aluminum wheels (rpo code PJ2) on '11 CTS w/

    Mine seem okay on my '10. I have heard of this on other brands, but not on our CTS'.

  4. #3
    Leaf 68 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Issue with 19 inch factory polished aluminum wheels (rpo code PJ2) on '11 CTS w/

    I had a couple of spots of clear coat bubbling on one of the painted aluminum rims off my '10. The dealer had no issue with replacing it under warranty last month...

  5. #4
    rkp
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    Re: Issue with 19 inch factory polished aluminum wheels (rpo code PJ2) on '11 CTS w/

    Can you post pictures of a good and bad rim? I'll compare them to mine.

  6. #5
    Panzer Leader's Avatar
    Panzer Leader is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: Issue with 19 inch factory polished aluminum wheels (rpo code PJ2) on '11 CTS w/

    Be careful what products you use to clean them with..... Make sure it is compatible with your rims.... If not, it will destroy the finish and turn them cloudy and dull......

  7. #6
    monogram124 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Hey RAB. I have the 19" summer tire package & my rims have always seemed dull. I just thought that's how they came. Please post any updates on your findings if you get any. Thanks

  8. #7
    RAB's Avatar
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    Re: Issue with 19 inch factory polished aluminum wheels (rpo code PJ2) on '11 CTS w/

    Quote Originally Posted by rkp View Post
    Can you post pictures of a good and bad rim? I'll compare them to mine.
    ^ Yes, will post a couple of photos later today.

    Quote Originally Posted by Panzer Leader View Post
    Be careful what products you use to clean them with..... Make sure it is compatible with your rims.... If not, it will destroy the finish and turn them cloudy and dull......
    ^ Absolutely - I'm always careful with the products I personally use to clean my rims. I generally use high quality car wash or a wheel cleaner that's formulated for use on clear coated wheels. Between washes I sometimes use a quick detailer spray along with a microfiber cloth to clean & polish my rims.
    What I have some concerns with now is that I sometimes bring my CTS to the popular "touch free" car wash down the road. On the way into the touchless wash there's a bottom-up high pressure wash for the undercarriage as well as a sideways high pressure wash for the wheels and tires. I'm wondering now if there's a certain cleaning agent within their spray for wheels & tires that is unfriendly to clear coated polished wheels.

    Quote Originally Posted by monogram124 View Post
    Hey RAB. I have the 19" summer tire package & my rims have always seemed dull. I just thought that's how they came. Please post any updates on your findings if you get any. Thanks
    ^ Hmm.. your rims have always seemed dull? Interesting. Have you owned your CTS since it was new?
    Not a problem - I will post any updates on my findings.

    I've done some research online and have come to realize that the clear coat applied to OEM/factory polished wheels should be treated/maintained just like the clear coat paint on the vehicle. Cloudiness or haze can develop on the surface of the clear coat on aluminum wheels in much the same way (in many/most cases worse) as it it can develop on the clear coated painted surfaces of the vehicle. Here's a copy/paste of a comment I found online regarding clear coated aluminum wheels:

    You should protect and polish clear-coated wheels just as you would the painted surface of your vehicle. Almost all wheels that come from the factory are either painted or clear-coated. The importance of clear-coating wheels is to protect un-painted metals from oxidization, rust and pitting.

    To be honest I have never used a polishing compound or a wax on my wheels (shame on me), but I've learned online that's precisely whet you need to do every now and then to help keep your rims looking new and shiny. I've decided to carry out the following later today in this sequence:

    1. Clean rims thoroughly
    2. "Clay" all outer rim surfaces using a detailing clay car
    3. Use a cleaner-compound (aka liquid paint cleaner) on the rims to remove oxidization and restore surface clarity to the clear coat
    4. Use a liquid polish on the rims
    5. Use a liquid wax on the rims

    Will advise how it all works out.

    /RAB

  9. #8
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    Re: Issue with 19 inch factory polished aluminum wheels (rpo code PJ2) on '11 CTS w/

    UPDATE:
    So after having another real good look at my 19 inch polished wheels (rpo PJ2) I've discovered there are actually three different conditions on the four rims. One of the wheels I would judge as a "9" (on a scale of 10) for brightness/shininess/proper look, two wheels are rated as a "7" and the other/4th wheel rates only a "4" in my view. I didn't notice a difference in the four wheels when I purchased the car in Sept 2011 (perhaps I missed it?), but I'm certainly seeing the difference now.

    I've attached a couple of photos below. The top pic is the "9" rated wheel and the bottom pic is the "4" rated wheel. I believe the difference in the appearance can be seen in these photos:





    After the photos were taken I used a cleaner-compound (Meguiar's Compound) on the rims (applied with a powerball sponge polisher attached to my cordless drill), then applied liquid polish and finally liquid wax. After all that was done.. in having a look at the rims my rating numbers went up by one point to new ratings of "10", "8" and "5" respectively for the three categories of wheel condition on my car. The rims are now as good as they're going to get outside of a complete refinishing job (i.e. removal of existing clear coat, polishing of the rims and finally an application of new clear coat) - a time consuming and expensive exercise, which I very much doubt I'd proceed with.

    As info.. I visited my local all-brand GM dealer yesterday and had a look at several ATS's (8 or more of them) on the lot equipped with polished wheels. I noticed that the polished rims on some of the cars had a rather cloudy/dull appearance (I'd rate them a "6" on my scale), while the rims on a couple of others were noticeably shinier (an "8" or a "9" on my scale).
    My conclusion is the finished look of (Cadillac) polished wheels (delivered straight from the factory) can vary in terms of brightness/shininess/reflectivity depending on how the (pre-clear coat) polishing is carried out and how the clear coat application has gone (i.e. ideally a completely transparent look vs. a somewhat cloudy result). I'd go so far as to guess that the factory (Lansing Assembly) groups incoming polished wheels according to brightness & shine level in order to achieve a (more or less) uniform wheel look on each assembled vehicle. Based on this theory the rims on my 2011 car (vehicle was built in Sept 2010) managed to escape such scrutiny. And try to get warranty on this issue! No way José.

    I'm bringing my CTS to the dealer next week for a HVAC problem (issue with auto cabin air recirculation function /air quality sensor - rpo K14) and while there I'll talk to the service manager about my rims to get his take on it.

    /RAB

  10. #9
    gohawks63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by monogram124
    Hey RAB. I have the 19" summer tire package & my rims have always seemed dull. I just thought that's how they came. Please post any updates on your findings if you get any. Thanks
    I found that to be the case also when I had my '12 Premium coupe with the 18" wheels.

  11. #10
    928S is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Issue with 19 inch factory polished aluminum wheels (rpo code PJ2) on '11 CTS w/

    RAB you're spoiled by your previous CTS' wheels (P63) which were brighter and more glossy than polished chrome.

  12. #11
    RAB's Avatar
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    Re: Issue with 19 inch factory polished aluminum wheels (rpo code PJ2) on '11 CTS w/

    Quote Originally Posted by 928S View Post
    RAB you're spoiled by your previous CTS' wheels (P63) which were brighter and more glossy than polished chrome.
    ^ Ha-ha! You're right 928S, I was spoiled by that.
    My 19 inch (PJ2) polished wheels should be as uniformly bright and glossy as the 18 inch (P63) polished wheels on my previous '08 and '09 CTS's.
    But alas they are not.
    Maybe there should be a recall?

  13. #12
    monogram124 is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    RAB: yes I bought the car new in 2012. Like you said, there is a lot of variability. I've seen other 19" rims that were brighter than mine. Unfortunately I didn't notice mine at purchase because it was cloudy.
    gohawks63: thanks for the reply

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