How to Extend the Life of Your Rims and Wheels
Rims and wheels are expensive, so it’s a good idea to take care of them throughout the year to avoid high auto maintenance costs later. Here are three ways you can extend the life of your wheels:
Avoid curbs: Driving too close to the curb or bumping it while parallel parking can scrape the finish off your rims, or worse, bend them. Many modern rims convex past the tire’s edge, so they take the brunt of the impact if you need to swerve to avoid another driver or parallel park in a hurry.
You can’t do anything about bad drivers, but you can practice parallel parking. Use some cones or other non-damaging items so you don’t scrape up your rims practicing. Getting the technique down could save you hundreds in auto maintenance costs.
Clean with the right materials:
Visits to auto repair shops can be minimized if you clean your rims yourself, but you’ll also run the risk of cleaning them with poor quality or damaging materials. Steel wool will wreck certain alloys, and acid cleaners will get rid of dust along with your valuable clearcoat, which protects the metal from corrosion. If a cleaner needs to be washed off within five minutes or less, it’s probably acidic.
Gentle soap and water combined with vigorous scrubbing is almost always the best way to keep your rims clean and shiny. It might take a little longer, but it will also extend the life of your rims. Full-service car washes often use acid-based cleaners, so be careful when you bring your car in. They may do more harm than good.
Prepare your wheels for winter:
Most people understand the importance of switching to winter tires or adding snow chains in cold, snowy and icy weather, but not everyone understands that your rims need attention too. Road salt can easily corrode expensive chrome rims and damage others. Having a second winter set can make both sets last longer in the long run.
Steel rims are great for winter driving. They’re comparatively cheap, heavy enough to keep your car from slipping around, and come in smaller sizes that will fit nicely with cheaper snow tires. They also lack decorative finishes so scratches and damages are much less troubling.
If you have trouble with your rims or tires anyway, visit your local car repair shop and ask about auto maintenance costs for wheels and rims. While you’re there, ask about problems like brake pads and transmissions, which cause countless problems when left without proper upkeep.