Have you ever driven past a used car and stopped to inspect it, only to notice the badly scratched alloy rims?
Damaged rims aren’t only an eyesore, they can negatively affect your driving experience and, when you want to sell your vehicle as a used vehicle,they may even affect the vehicle’s value. Here are some quick tips on keeping your vehicle rims in the best possible condition.
Clean brake dust regularly
Brake dust is the dark powder that collects on your vehicle rims as you drive your car. The dust comes from the brake pads, which push against the brake disks or brake drum every time you apply brakes.
While brake dust is normal on all cars, it is especially visible if you brake hard on a regular basis or if the vehicle you are driving has been fitted with inferior brake pads.
If you leave the dust on your rims for too long, the heat from driving and the environment and the other road dirt and water will combine to make the dust stick to your rims like glue. This makes it much more difficult to clean and, if regularly left unattended, it can stain your rims or leave black spots that are near impossible to remove.
Do not use abrasive cleaning gear
Some vehicle cleaning companies will use a fine steel wool to clean the caked break dust from your alloy rims. This seem to work very well, and it leaves your rims nice and shiny, but it also strips the clear protective coating from your rims.
Some full-service car washing companies will also use acid-based cleaning material, because it strips the dirt from your rims very quickly and it allows them to wash more cars in a shorter space of time, as opposed to using less abrasive cleaning materials and soft brushes.
Unfortunately, the steel wool and abrasive cleaning materials will also strip the clear protective coating from your alloy rims. Without that coating, your alloy rims will be more prone to stains, scratches and discolouring and over time it will become more difficult or even impossible to remove the stains.
Watch out for the sidewalk!
Modern alloy wheels are beautifully styled, but they may protrude slightly and that makes them more vulnerable to scratches and chips from contact with the sidewalk or shopping mall parking curbs. Dealers often talk of ‘curb rash’ when referring to this type of damage.
While on most occasions, the curb rash is simply cosmetic, in more serious cases it can cause an imbalance in the alloy wheel which could lead to the typical shuddering that you feel through your steering wheel when you drive with unbalanced wheels. Seriously unbalanced wheels also affect the performance and durability of your tyres and could even affect your braking distances.
With this in mind, keep an eye out for parking curbs. A good rule of thumb is to walk around your car when leaving a parking bay, to inspect for possible curbs or other objects when parking. You can also turn your side mirror down when parking, to allow you to better gauge the distances between your rims and the parking curb.
Many used vehicle specialists, like Automark, are able to repair damaged vehicle rims. When buying a used car from these specialists, also ask for the optional rim damage protection, which is an insurance product that will insure against rim damage and pay for the repair of damaged or scratched rims.