: Polished Aluminum Wheels - Clearcoated?



RFallstich
02-17-09, 04:21 PM
I have read multiple posts in various threads about polishing aluminum wheels. Some people say they have used aluminum or metal polish and gotten great results. Others have damaged their polished aluminum wheels in this manner. It seems there is no consensus on the issue of the aluminum wheels being clear coated or not.

Does it vary with the wheel style? Of course we know painted wheels and any true chrome wheels are not affected by this question. I am only interested in what are termed “polished aluminum” wheels. Mothers detail guide for their Mag & Aluminum Polish says "If you're not sure whether your wheels are uncoated aluminum or not, rub a small amount in a low-visibility area with Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish, Billet Metal Polish or PowerMetal. If it doesn't turn black, then stop immediately." The fact that the rag with polish doesn't turn black indicates that the wheel is coated. If one were to continue vigorous polishing in this case, it would probably scratch and damage the clear coat.

I have also read posts that say uncoated aluminum oxidizes and dulls quickly if not coated or otherwise protected. I'm not so sure this is true. Look at any fire apparatus with aluminum diamond plate on it. It is usually fairly shiny. I was a volunteer for over 20 years, and we only polished the diamond plate about once a year with compound similar to Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish. It was not clear-coated or waxed, and stayed bright for about a year.

So who knows for sure: are the typical "polished aluminum" wheels used on the STS and similar applications really clear-coated?

BaTu
02-17-09, 05:44 PM
Well, certainly No Cadillac aluminum wheel has No Coating at ALL (unless, maybe, aftermarket).

If not protected from the elements aluminum will quickly oxidize and form that white, crystal, power and dull to gray. So, either clearcoated or clear anodization HAS to be applied.

If you use NeverDull or Flitz or other polish directly on aluminum you get Black on the cloth Very quickly as it cleans away that oxidation.

Angus Young
02-17-09, 05:56 PM
I recently changed the brake pads to ceramic pads and was trying to clean the black brake dust from the inside of the rim, this is much harder than you might expect, so I sprayed some of the brake cleaner on the inside of the rim to loosen it somewhat, unfortunatly some of the brake cleaner dripped on to the outside front of the rim and dissolved the clear coat in some areas and discolored other areas in black streaks, so as far as a coating on the rims that would be a definate yes, I have the 18 inch rims and will have to have them cleaned and recoated with some sort of clear protectant, I am looking for solutions now to have this done or some way that I can do this myself, if anyone knows of ways to correct this I welcome any suggestions.....

pjbizjak
02-17-09, 08:28 PM
YES, the 'polished' wheels are clear coated and only polish for clear coat should be used. In reference to the above post, I had the same situation and used a wire wheel and drill motor to clean up the brake dust. Be very carefull not to scrtch the clear coated parts as weather and the elements will do their nasty on them.

Greg00coupe
02-18-09, 01:49 PM
Yes they are clearcoated and it works well. I've seen GM wheels run in the Ohio winters and they hold up great. Once a year I pull off my wheels and clean them with Westley whitewall wheel cleaner. Then I use a wax called wheel wax..... they have a website.

This wax seems to help allow for easier cleaning of the brake dust.

miked
02-19-09, 01:44 AM
Wheel Wax is great stuff. Apply about once a month.

corvette00
02-19-09, 10:30 AM
I second the comments about Wheel Wax. I hand wash my car at least once a week and still have some stubborn brake dust. Does the Mequires power ball seem to help? I am presently applying and removing by hand.

pjbizjak
02-20-09, 12:41 PM
Power ball works but it's expensive to purchase, the last time I was in a parts store I think the price was $30.

RFallstich
02-20-09, 03:57 PM
Power ball works but it's expensive to purchase, the last time I was in a parts store I think the price was $30.
This in no way answers the question posed on my original thread.

Angus Young
02-20-09, 09:03 PM
So who knows for sure: are the typical "polished aluminum" wheels used on the STS and similar applications really clear-coated?

outside front of the rim and dissolved the clear coat in some areas and discolored other areas in black streaks, so as far as a coating on the rims that would be a definate yes, I have the 18 inch rims and will have to have them cleaned and recoated with some sort of c

would be a definate yes
would be a definate yes