How to Detail Wheels & Tires
Cleaning your wheels and tires regularly is not just an appearance issue – it’s preventative maintenance!
If you allow brake dust to sit on your wheels for a prolonged period of time, it can eat into the coating (if there is one) and pit the metal. Brake dust is made of an adhesive and carbon fibers that come off the brake pad and tiny metal shavings from the rotor. The intense heat and friction generated by the wheels makes this mixture highly corrosive. Because you probably drive every day, more brake dust is constantly being made. Frequent cleaning is the only way to keep your wheels safe. A good start for wheels that are oxidized is McKee's RV Waterless Wheel Wash & Polish.
Start at the bottom
When you wash your RV, clean the wheels and tires first. This will prevent overspray or grime from splashing onto already-clean panels. If you like to clean your wheels and tires with soap and water, use a separate wash and rinse bucket and soft bristle brush.
Choose a cleaner that is appropriate for the type of wheels you have. Roughcast aluminum and chrome can withstand stronger cleaners than coated, painted, or anodized wheels. The cleaner will say what it is suited for on the label. For example, McKee's RV Multi-Purpose Cleaner can be used on any type of wheel, but our Aluminum & Metal Restoring Spray is not safe for coated wheels. It is designed for polished wheels that are oxidized. If you are not sure what kind of wheels you have, use a cleaner that is safe for all wheels.
We don't offer a "two in one" tire and wheel cleaner, and the reason why is simple: two dedicated products perform much better than an all in one. With that being said, McKee's RV Tire & Rubber Rejuvenator was designed specifically for cleaning tires. It removes grease, grime, and best of all - tire browning! Match this heavy-duty tire cleaner with the appropriate wheel cleaner, depending if your wheels are coated or highly polished.
Thick gel formula is easy to apply and will NOT sling off
Make the wheels on your RV stand out
You’d be surprised how many tire and wheel brushes are out there. Basically, you want to look for a brush with feathered bristles for the wheels. This will prevent scratching. Soft-Grip Wheel & Body Brush is a great option.
For tires, use the Soft-Grip Tire Brush. Tires require a stiffer brush to really scrub the rubber. Don’t be afraid to put a little elbow grease into it, particularly if your tires have layers of old dressings on them. These layers will turn brown and make your tires look worn out if you don’t scrub them off.
Always clean your tires and wheels one set at a time to prevent the cleaner from drying. Wash and then rinse with a strong jet of water before moving to the next tire.
Don’t forget to dry your wheels! Use a microfiber towel or a terry cloth towel, but not one that you plan to use on any other part of your vehicle. Once a towel is used on the tires or wheels, it should always be used for tires and wheels. Drying prevents water spots and helps you remove every last bit of the brake dust.
Dress for Success
Choose your tire dressing carefully. Old formulas contain silicone, which produces a glossy shine but it turns brown over time. These dressings deplete the rubber’s own protectants faster, causing it to age prematurely. Newer formulas, like McKee's RV UV50 Tire Clean & Protect are water-based and less shiny. It creates the look of new tires with a semi-gloss sheen that doesn’t turn brown. McKee's RV UV50 also nourishes the rubber to recreate the look of new tires. You can often layer water-based dressings to get a glossier shine. Follow the directions on the label carefully. Always apply thin coats and allow drying time before you drive your vehicle. Even the best dressing will sling off if it’s on too thick or it doesn’t have time to dry.
Dressings provide UV protection and prevent drying, cracking and fading. With a little TLC, your RV’s wheels and tires will look as sharp as the rest of your ride!