Victoria Car & Vehicle Maintenance - Tires & Wheels - Minimizing Wheel Damage

Here are some tips to prevent or reduce wheel damage.

  • If you hit a pothole hard or run into a curb, inspect your wheels as soon as possible, or have a wheel shop do it. A bent wheel can flex as you drive, and a small initial crack can spread into a major defect. BR>
  • Under-inflation can result in wheel damage, especially on low profile tires. Inspect the tires periodically for unusual wear patterns.

  • Make sure that lug bolts or nuts are torqued properly, since under-torquing can wear the lug holes and require wheel replacement.

  • If you live in the snow belt, and use snow tires or chains, buy a set of inexpensive wheels to mount your winter tires. Store the alloy wheels with their tires installed until spring. This keeps all tires properly mounted, and protects high ends wheels from salt damage.

  • The brake dust can accumulate quickly on wheels, and is highly corrosive & abrasive and can pit or etch wheels if not promptly removed. Use recommended wheel cleaners to prevent staining or etching of the wheels.

  • When washing a vehicle, do the wheels last. Getting abrasive brake dust in your sponge can easily scratch the paint.

  • After thoroughly rinsing off the wheel cleaners (some say, a minimum of two times) dry the wheels and apply wax or a wheel protectant.

  • Never use a scouring pad or very stiff bristle brush to clean alloy wheels.

  • Cover wheels when cleaning tires. Some tire cleaners contain chemicals that can damage the finish on alloy wheels.

  • You need to periodically remove the wheels to clean away brake dust that also accumulates on the backside of wheels.

  • European cars, especially German ones (which have brake pads that contain graphite), produce much more brake dust than cars built in other countries. While this improves stopping ability, it is softer and produces more dust, requiring more frequent cleaning.

  • Clip-on wheel weights used in balancing tires can scratch wheels, and allow moisture and brake dust to attack the alloy wheel. Use coated wheel weights, if you can, or stick-on rather than clip on weights (though they can be difficult to remove if in place for a long time).

  • Wheels with complex honeycomb webs or many spokes may look great, but can be a pain to keep clean and shiny. Avoiding them saves you spending your weekends cleaning wheels.
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