: anodized

04-28-11, 05:50 PM
Can someone tell me if the highly polished aluminum wheels on the V are also anodized?

I want to clean them and polish them, but some polishes are not to be used on anodized aluminum.

Me Wanna A V
04-28-11, 06:28 PM
They are clear coated, so just use a quality "clear coat safe" car wax on them.

Do NOT use metal polish.

Gary Wells
04-28-11, 06:59 PM
Very few, if any, factory wheels are actually anodized.

04-28-11, 07:19 PM
Better make sure they are actually clear coated. The polished wheels on my CTS were not.

Gary Wells
04-28-11, 10:28 PM
Not to be argumentative, but are you sure about that. I was under the impression that both the painted and the polished Cad factory rims are clear coated. Are you the original owner of the car?

04-28-11, 11:15 PM
I don't have the car anymore. And no, I was not the original owner. But the car was only 8 months, 11000 miles old when I got it. And after the first round of snow and salt I went through, the wheels were badly tarnished. I polished them myself after that, and I assure you, there was no clear coat on the wheels.

I thought about it; sure, the first owner could have foolishly tried to polish the wheels, which could have burned off the clearcoat. But unless the dealer flat-out lied to me (which is entirely possible, and even likely) the original owner was an old guy who buys a new car every 6-12 months. If so, would a guy like that really polish his own wheels?

Moreover, I am not the only person in this forum to complain about tarnished polished wheels.

Finally, be as argumentative as you want with me. My skin is thick http://www.cooleywire.com/jimmyh/pics/gif/biggrin.gif

04-28-11, 11:26 PM
Mine were not clear coated either. There were a few spots of clear coat, but only where the wheels had the edges repaired. I just painted them, and checked again with a razor blade. I could not scrape any paint off at all. I "thought" that the standard wheels were silver painted, but the polished ones only polished.

04-29-11, 12:12 AM
How do I check to see if there is a clear coat?

04-29-11, 12:26 AM
without damaging it, I have no idea.

Gary Wells
04-29-11, 05:37 AM


04-29-11, 06:29 AM
My original stockers have been relegated to winter duty. They might have been clearcoated at one time, but with their second winter now over, significant portions, especially of the fronts, are tarnished. Now that they are off, I plan to have them refinished and re-clearcoated so they are halfway presentable next winter.

Gary Wells
04-29-11, 07:44 AM
I think that all of the CTS & the CTS-V wheels were cleared at the wheel manufacturers. It doesn't take much to deteriorate the condition of the clear coat. Car washes generally use a very strong acidic solution to remove the brake dust from the wheels and if it is not rinsed away quickly it will eat the clear. Some car washes have the power wheel scrubbers which are death on both the paint and the clear coat. Additionally, states where they have severe winters and use whatever they use on the roads are quick to remove wheel paint and clear coat. The hubs on these cars are not protected from rust and will get that rusty look quickly if you do not immediately blow dry the wheel assemblies. If you wash your car yourself and towel dry it without taking it for a quick spin around the block to spin the water off of the wheel and brake assemblies will develop that rusty look soon.

04-29-11, 11:41 AM
GM Aluminum Refinishing Bulletin #53-17-03A is available as a pdf, but this only covers 1990 thru 1996 model years. Is there an updated bulletin?


04-29-11, 11:45 AM
Clear coated, probably with powder. Don't use metal polish on them!

04-29-11, 12:08 PM
Yeah, I am too scared to do anything at all. I did figure out that a simple clay bar will remove all the brake dust that is baked on to the "clear coat" or what ever it is sticking to.

04-29-11, 12:23 PM
I would recommend a treatment with P21S wheel cleaner. Very neutal PH, won't harm the finish.

Then clean them, then wax them. Treat them like they are painted or they will look scratched and dull.

David Nicholas
04-29-11, 12:53 PM
The Polished aluminum wheels on the CTS-V are for sure clear-coated.

You can easily tell confirm this if you remove the wheel. The mating surface is not coated, and you can see the difference, (you may also see some of the clear-coat peeling up).

Another simple test is a to rub a concealed spot with aluminum polish. If you don't instantly develop the black residue mentioned in the instructions, you aren't polishing metal.

04-29-11, 04:04 PM
Don't get me wrong, I never questioned that the wheels were clearcoated at the factory. At least, that they were supposed to be cleared. But GM buys these wheels, n'est pas? Isn't it possible they got some from the manufacturer that missed the clear? And if we, automotive connoisseurs, have trouble discerning the presence or absence of clear, do you think the guy working in QC receiving does?

And as Gary said, it's possible the clear deteriorated on its own. Which is pretty pathetic if true.

As for my wheels, there were some portions of the wheels that did not tarnish. And by visual, or by touch, there was no difference between the surfaces that did and did not tarnish.

The moral of my story is; don't assume your wheels are clearcoated. I did, and I was wrong.