Wheel Cleaning Options

DetailZeus

New member
I used the search function and didn't find any threads specific to 3D's wheel cleaners so I thought I'd start one here. I did find a great thread discussing 3D's degreasers so here's the link for anyone who sees this: 3D Yellow Degreaser

In this article Step by Step Guide to Clean and Polish Aluminum Wheels Mike uses BDX on the wheels and orange degreaser on the tires. This article Ultimate Car Detailing Supply List for a Professional again recommends BDX for wheels and yellow degreaser for tires. I know many use 3D Yellow Degreaser for both wheels and tires and those with coated/protected wheels just use car wash soap. Where does Wheel Brite & Super Wheel Cleaner (concentrated version Wheel Brite, I understand) fit into this mix? Are they suitable for a maintenance wash or reserved for hammered rims? What is the targeted use for all of these cleaners?
 

Mike Phillips

Global Director of Training
Staff member
I used the search function and didn't find any threads specific to 3D's wheel cleaners so I thought I'd start one here.

Thank you for starting the thread. So many people are only Lurkers - never engaging, never adding, just taking.

I did find a great thread discussing 3D's degreasers so here's the link for anyone who sees this: 3D Yellow Degreaser

Great thread and testimony by a seasoned professional that knows his stuff.


In this article Step by Step Guide to Clean and Polish Aluminum Wheels Mike uses BDX on the wheels and orange degreaser on the tires.

The reason for this is I've found the Yellow Degreaser can potentially stain un-coated aluminum rims. I found this out when I used 3D Yellow Degreaser to clean both the tires and the rims on the 1966 Batmobile.

1966 Batmobile Remove Swirls - Extreme Detailing Makeover with 3DProducts.com


Nate Truman's 1966 Batmobile - detailed by 3D

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Here's me, sitting on my butt working on someone else's car.

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And then later, me sitting on my butt polishing the wheels on some other guy's car.

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Detailing the Wheels and Tires

After removing all the etching and staining in the paint, the next hard parts were polishing the wheels followed by dressing the tires. The polished aluminum wheels had oxidized over time and were due for a good polishing. In the future I hope to see the Batmobile back to the Santa Clarita 3D Detailing Academy where with more time we'll remove the wheels and tires and this will enable us to make the wheels look like jewelry. Until then, I did all the work by hand and had to work around the Bat Center Cap as a part of the process.

For what it's worth, I knocked out the other 3 wheels and tires before getting to this passenger side, rear wheel and tire and then I took some before and after pictures. By now, I had hand-rubbed 3 other wheels. In my opinion, the results you're going to see are dramatic and the 3D Metal Polish works freaking amazing. Next time, if we can remove the wheels from the car and get the Bat Center Cap out of the way, using the 3D Metal Polish by machine, we can make this aluminum look like chrome.


Here's what I had to start with. The tires have been machine scrubbed with 3D Yellow Degreaser and the wheels simply cleaned using the 3D Pink Soap.

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I'll add a couple of strips of 3D Masking Tape to show the before and after.

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Next add old school elbow grease...

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Wipey wipey...

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Remove the tape...

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This article Ultimate Car Detailing Supply List for a Professional again recommends BDX for wheels and yellow degreaser for tires.

Correct. This is a general recommendation that will work great for about 90% of the population - be they professional or enthusiast detailers. This is a 2-step approach with a dedicated wheel cleaner that chemically dissolves brake dust and a dedicated degreaser that excels at removing oily traffic film and old tire dressings of tire sidewall.


I know many use 3D Yellow Degreaser for both wheels and tires and those with coated/protected wheels just use car wash soap.

Correct. This is also a great approach for both professional or enthusiast detailers.

I think the bigger picture from my point of view is to provide multiple options and let each person decide which path to go down after doing their own research AND taking in the condition of the cars and/or wheels and tires they plan to clean and detail.

In the old days people complained because we had too few options and now-days, people complain because we have too many options and this can lead to confusing. I'm not saying you DetaiZeus are complaining, I'm speaking generically about people in general. :)

Me? I prefer having MORE options versus less options. I certainly don't want to go back to the days when we only had,

  1. Rotary polishers
  2. The Cyclo polisher
  3. The old-school traditional orbital polish with a huge head you placed bonnets onto

It wasn't until someone discovered the Porter Cable WOOD SANDER had the ability to both rotate and oscillate a foam buffing pad that the car detailing world changed for the better.



Where does Wheel Brite & Super Wheel Cleaner (concentrated version Wheel Brite, I understand) fit into this mix? Are they suitable for a maintenance wash or reserved for hammered rims? What is the targeted use for all of these cleaners?[

Those are great questions. The Nano Pail version of Wheel Brite, i.e. Super Wheel Cleaner, is exactly what it looks to be - a quality product that can be purchased as a CONCENTRATE and then diluted by the end-user. For those that don't do volume detailing and don't want to mess with diluting - the the gallon jug of 3D Wheel Brite is a CONVENIENT option.

All of these products used as they come or after correctly diluting them can be used for Prep Washing. When it comes to Maintenance Washing, heck a normal car wash soap should work - it just depends on how long the car owners goes before washing the wheels the next time and also what kind of wheel brushes a person uses to clean their wheels. Quality wheel cleaning brushes in my opinion are vital to keeping wheels clean and pretty.

And of course, a person could always dilute to make a weaker version of any of our wheel cleaners or degreasers for more cleaning strength compared to just a car wash soap.


Hope that helps...


Mike Phillips
 

DetailZeus

New member
Mike I appreciate your thorough reply. Sounds like BDX is a great option if you come across many types of rims and don't want to worry too much about if you have the right chemical for the job (bonus points that it can also be used to chemically decontaminate paint).

I personally like these nano pails; I don't mind mixing up my own bottles and I like the idea of paying to ship more chemical and less water. I know "acids" have gotten a bad rap over the years but I trust 3D to make a safe and effective product and that there's more than a little nuance to the chemistry. I've only ever touched modern vehicles with coated wheels (clear coated, not to be confused with ceramic coated) so I'm not overly concerned with reactivity. I also have a dedicated wheel bucket filled with brushes and clean all wheels regularly so it's usually not too much work :)

Been reading your articles for awhile and I still love seeing products in action - feels more sincere than ad-copy alone and I always learn something along the way.

"If it's good enough for Mike, it's good enough for me"
 

Mike Phillips

Global Director of Training
Staff member
Mike I appreciate your thorough reply. Sounds like BDX is a great option if you come across many types of rims and don't want to worry too much about if you have the right chemical for the job (bonus points that it can also be used to chemically decontaminate paint).

Correct. And yes, it can be used on pretty much any surface. I've even used it on vinyl tops during a Prep Wash.


I personally like these nano pails; I don't mind mixing up my own bottles and I like the idea of paying to ship more chemical and less water. I know "acids" have gotten a bad rap over the years but I trust 3D to make a safe and effective product and that there's more than a little nuance to the chemistry. I've only ever touched modern vehicles with coated wheels (clear coated, not to be confused with ceramic coated) so I'm not overly concerned with reactivity. I also have a dedicated wheel bucket filled with brushes and clean all wheels regularly so it's usually not too much work :)

You think like me. At some point, it takes the burden off of us to pick a brand we know we can trust and let the chemists be in charge of the chemistry. This means all I have to do my job - use the products ad directed.

I have a pretty good collection of wheel cleaning brushes and a dedicated wheel and tire cleaning bucket. Like the saying goes - use the right tool for the job. :)


Been reading your articles for awhile and I still love seeing products in action - feels more sincere than ad-copy alone and I always learn something along the way.

"If it's good enough for Mike, it's good enough for me"

Ha ha... thank you for the kind words.

As I learn more about how to set up my iPhone to capture videos, I'll be sharing more how-to content.


:)
 
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