How to Polish Aluminum Wheels for a Lasting Shine

As car enthusiasts, we know how important it is to keep your vehicle looking shiny and new. Unfortunately, one of the most common mistakes people make is neglecting their wheels because they’re unsure of how to polish aluminum wheels. Many people think that aluminum wheels need special attention, and you’re right – they do! Aluminum can react with certain substances, like brake dust and dirt, which will etch into the surface, making it look worn and dull. The good news is that there are some easy ways to polish aluminum wheels.

Do you want your car wheels to shine like a mirror? Ah, who doesn’t? This article will show you step-by-step how to polish aluminum wheels for a shine that lasts! By following a simple process, you’ll have your aluminum wheels sparkling as you’ve always wanted.

Aluminum Wheel Polish Preparation

How to Polish Aluminum Wheels

You should not just simply buy an aluminum wheel polish and apply it on your car wheels. You first need to prepare your rims for the make-over. The first thing you need to do is give your wheels a quick wash and then dry them off. The surface of the wheel must be clean for polishing!

Once they’re nice and dry, you may use a wet rag or a sponge along with a cleaning solution to get rid of dirt, dust, and grease on the wheel. A mixture of water and vinegar works really well as the cleaning solution. However, you can also use your regular dish soap.

After this process, the next step is to smoothen the aluminum wheel surface. To smooth aluminum, you need to use a buffing wheel and compound. The wheel spins while the buffing compound touches the surface of the aluminum. This can be easily done by using sandpaper. We recommend grit 320 to grit 400 sandpaper. A clear and smooth surface is essential before you start polishing Aluminium rims. You again need to wash your rims with water for the surface to be clean. 

Quick and dirty aluminum wheel restore

Types of Aluminum Wheel Polish

When it comes to choosing an aluminum wheel polish, you have many options. We’re written extensively on the best aluminum polishes. These options are spread across various forms like cream, gel, or a spray. So which one will you go for? You may choose an aluminum polish in any of these forms based on your preferences but let us explain to you a bit about each of them.

Cream Polish

How to Polish Aluminum Blue Magic 400 7Oz Mtl Polish Cream

The most common aluminum polish available is a cream-based product. You can get it in a tube, bottle, or can. I prefer a tube for the ease of application, but you can have your preferences. Cream aluminum polishes are the easiest to put on wheels, but they are also the most time-consuming as you have to use your hands to rub the polish on the rim. On the other hand, they are less messy as compared to spray or gel options. You need a clean cloth to apply the polish to your aluminum wheels.

Most efficient results from cream polish can be achieved by applying the cream with a cloth in small circular motions. This is, without a doubt, the best and most efficient way to polish aluminum wheels.


CAR GUYS Wheel Cleaner Polish Aluminum Wheels

Spray-based wheel polishes come in a bottle. To apply, spray it on and wait for a few minutes before rubbing it off with a cloth or washing it away with water.

Sprays can work better if you hold the bottle close to the wheel. You’ll have more control over how much is sprayed and where it goes.

Gel Polish

Gel polish is quite similar to cream polish, but it requires more time and care. You can decide how much gel to use and where exactly to use it on the wheel.

Read next: Best Chrome Polishes – Buyer’s Guide

Polishing Aluminum Wheels – Post-polish Maintenance

Once the polish has dried for about 10 minutes, use a clean microfiber cloth and go over the surface of the wheel again. This will remove any leftover residue or dust that might have stuck on while you were applying the product.

Caring for your wheels after polishing is vital to keep them in good condition.

Clean your wheels as well as the tire rims at least once every two weeks. You can do this by using either soap and water or detailing spray with an applicator. This will make your aluminum wheel polish last longer.


Polished aluminum wheels are a great way to upgrade the looks of your car. Once polished in the right way, your wheels should stay smooth and shiny for a long time. However, this depends on the road conditions where you drive, along with how much you drive.

All in all, polishing aluminum wheels is a pretty simple process. However, I highly recommend you do it every six months to keep your car looking its best!

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