How to Polish Aluminum Motorcycle Wheels

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Motorcycle wheels come in a variety of styles, including aluminum. Even the best rider will at some point need to clean their wheels because as you ride, your wheels attract dirt and debris. The aluminum can also start looking dull and scratched after some time, which can be prevented with regular polishing. To polish aluminum motorcycle wheels you just need to gather up your polish, towels, and get the wheels off your motorcycle.

Things You'll Need

  • Aluminum wheels
  • Several terrycloth towels
  • Soap
  • Water
  • Buffing compound or polish
  • Take the wheels off of your motorcycle. It’s far easier to reach the different parts of the wheels if you remove the wheels. This way, you can get to the sides and the inside of the wheels that might otherwise be hard to reach.

  • Clean off your wheels using a terrycloth towel and some simple soap and water. You’ll want to remove any dirt or debris on the wheels before you start polishing them. This ensures that you don’t trap any dirt underneath the polish.

  • Apply a small amount of buffing compound or polish to a canvas or cloth buff, and rub it on the wheels using a clockwise motion followed by a counter clockwise motion (wax on, wax off!). You can use a motorized buffer if you’d prefer. Although, many experts think that using your hands is a better option because it doesn’t scratch the surface.

  • Take the polish off the wheels and dry them with a terrycloth towel. You may need to use several towels to remove all traces of the polish. Buff the surface of the wheel with another dry towel to make sure it looks the way you like.

  • Remove the polish and add a second coat of polish using the method described in Step 4. You can do a third or fourth coat if you’d like, but it’s all personal preference. Make sure to remove all traces of polish. Let the wheel dry if you do multiple coats.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a small amount of polish on a toothbrush to reach those harder parts that you can’t get to with a cloth.
  • You may need to apply several coats of polish to the wheels to get them as shiny and buffed as you’d like.
  • Don’t use these steps to polish Mag wheels or wheels with a strong magnesium base of at least 20 percent. These steps only work on aluminum wheels and not magnesium ones.
  • Don’t use ammonia, acids or anhydrous chemicals in your polish. These products can eat through your aluminum wheels or cause oxidation to build up.

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