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Old 06-30-2010, 05:12 AM
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How to clean and polish aluminum rims

I have a set of Mickey Thompson Classic rims on my truck that are raw aluminum and dirty. How exactly do I clean them and polish them. They are hazy and have some oxidation all over. I tried to use the power ball with Mothers polish and it made them a little shiny but not to my liking. Maybe sanding??!? Any help would be appreciated...
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Old 06-30-2010, 05:58 AM
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I had a set of centerline wheels that were exactly as you described. I had one wheel fixed at a rim shop and was told to use "0000" steel wool with Mothers wheel polish and alot of elbow grease. Use the steel wool dipped in Mothers polish and do the whole rim but sections at a time. when you are done repolish with Mothers only no steel wool maybe even with the power ball you used before. This worked great for the wheel i had. Just wanted to pass the info. Hope this helps. Try at your own risk not sure if this works on all wheels or not. The wheels i had at the time i really didn't care and would have tried anything.....Terry
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Old 06-30-2010, 06:10 AM
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Did the steel wool scratch the rim?
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Old 06-30-2010, 06:50 AM
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0000 is super fine steel wool. With the mothers it won't scratch the wheel. You could also get a set of buffing wheels and some rouge (sp)(polishing compound) and use them too.
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Old 06-30-2010, 06:55 AM
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Which Mothers is recommended when using the steel wool? I currently have the power metal one to use with the power ball, I would assume that is not the right one...
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Old 06-30-2010, 09:50 AM
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The best aluminum polish I've found is from a company called Blackfire.

You can find Blackfire products here ProperAutoCare -- Car Care Products, Best Car Waxes, Car Polishes, Auto Detailing Products, Car Buffers & Car Accessories

I use it with a Powerball and the only time I've had better results is when I went to a truck stop that does polishing with a high speed buffer.
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Old 06-30-2010, 09:56 AM
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I reccomend using No-Scratch Scotch Brites. Then after that polish them up.
If your rims are really bad you can get away with a normal scotch brite, and then use a no-scratch, and then finish it with polish.
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Old 06-30-2010, 03:48 PM
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cubalz, try going to a truckers forum and find out what they use.

I use the bars of rouge, like you would see at this web site:

Polishing Compounds : Jewelers rouge white : yellow : Chrome rouge - Southwest Metal Finishing Supply

I then take the bars and crush them up into a powder and add mineral spirits (odorless) until it is like a paste. I use an aggressive cutting rouge every spring to cut the aluminum smooth from running in all the sand on the roads here in Oregon. Then work my way up from there.( I have 3 different colors, brown green and white, white is real soft) I use a 7" buffer pad on a grinder. I spend hours every spring getting my rims back in shape.

I then keep a bottle for the green bar mix in the truck for touch up thru the summer and fall.

I polish a semi-truck. Rims, tanks, running boards, cac tubes. Yes, when it comes to aluminum, I'm anal! (I cleaned my EGR valve on my 6.0 the other day, looks great polished!)

I have used "0000" steel wool on windows to remove water spots, not a scratch.

Last edited by amdriven2liv; 06-30-2010 at 03:58 PM.
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Old 07-01-2010, 02:55 AM
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I use Blue Magic Aluminum and Chrome wheel polish with the small Mothers powerball. By removing the wheel from the truck it is much easier to get into the openings and you just keep polishing with the ball until the wheels turn black and then use clean terry cloth towels ( and it will take several) to remove the black film and polish it out by hand. This has worked very well for me for the last 12-14 years and it produces a factory shine when polished out completely but it takes a lot of elbow grease. I usually do one wheel per evening after work when I polish them and try to do it about every 8-10 months. This also works very well on the chrome grills, bumpers, step bars, tailpipe, etc....
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Old 07-01-2010, 10:23 AM
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x2 on the Blue Magic Polish.

That Blue Magic will put the shine back into just about anything. Its good stuff.
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