How to polish alloy wheels????

Discussion in 'Detailing & Truck Care' started by buckmeister2, Nov 15, 2013.

  1. buckmeister2

    buckmeister2 Rockstar 4 Years 100 Posts

    I've got a nice set of MB (not Merc Benz!) alloys on my 1500, and I would like them polished to a shine. I know it is done on a lot of the factory GM wheels, so should be able to be done on any good alloy wheel. Anyone know the correct way to do it? I am looking for an answer from someone who has actually done it, or paid to have it done. Thanks, everyone! Jim
  2. Guardrail

    Guardrail Member

    Jewellers rouge and a buffer. Start with the brown rouge and end with green. If it is pitted, sand it smooth first.
  3. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    You need to find out first if the wheels have any type protective coating.
    If they do itll have to be removed first.
    Then as Guardrail said breakout the buffing wheel and compound.
    Determine if its just tarnish and needs buffing or scratches, nicks, chips, and pits that require deeper polishing.
    Its best to use a different buffer wheel for each compound to get the best results.
    Keep a couple of lint free clean rags on hand to remove buffing dust.
    Since your polishing aluminium look for compounds that are for soft metals.
    Be careful not to burn or haze the metal by pressting to hard with the buffer, or staying in one spot to long.
    Afterwards unless you enjoy buffing out the wheels frequently youll want to apply a protective coating over top to maintain the shine, reduce tarnishing, and corrosion.
    Plan about minimum @ hours per wheel not including initial washing and prep time.
    Zoops makes a great chemical conversion coating for raw or polished metals.
  4. buckmeister2

    buckmeister2 Rockstar 4 Years 100 Posts

    Okay, thanks! does it need any moisture on the buffing pad, or just run it dry? what about rpm? My buffer runs from 200 to 3600, and I know low is good, but what is safe? thanks
  5. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Epic Member Staff Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    Instead of a pad you might want a buffing wheel, or a couple, 1 for each grade of compound used.
    With buffer wheels a variable speed drill works best.
    The reason for buffer wheels vs pads is their constructed differently and the wheels are made more for polishing raw metals where a pad is normally made of terry cloth or foam and works well on painted surfaces.
    A couple places to find buffing supplies are:
    Harbor Freight (theres 2 or3 in Las Vegas)
    Northern Tools has a large choice of affordable buffing supplies


    Wheels are used dry except for compound.
    You can also get conical buffing wheels and tubes that make getting into tight areas much easier.
  6. buckmeister2

    buckmeister2 Rockstar 4 Years 100 Posts

    Great replies, guys. Thanks! I shop at the HF off Rainbow often, pretty close to home. I bought 5 or of their synthetic wool pads, and plan to use those up to the final stage. I will use wool at that point, if I can find some for reasonable price. I appreciate all the advice, and will think about it all before I tackle it. Jim
  7. estrom

    estrom Rockstar

    Please post some before and after pics for comparison so we can see the results. Good luck!

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