How To Polish Alloy Wheels?

Authored By Automobile Engineer

Polishing the wheels of your car can be a lot of work and is sometimes overlooked by many car owners. However, you should not ignore this important process if you want your car to look its best.

Polishing the alloy wheels of your car will make them appear new again, as well as help protect them against corrosion.

Whether you have brand-new alloy wheels or older ones that have seen some wear and tear, it’s worth looking at how to polish alloy wheels.

This process is a lot simpler than you might think and has immediate results that are worth the time and effort. Here we explain everything step by step you need to know on how to regularly polish alloy wheels.

What Is the Best Way to Polish Alloy Wheels?

The best way to polish alloy wheels is to use a rotary buffing machine. This is because it allows you to work in a controlled and safe manner.

By using a rotary buffer, you can achieve a high level of brightness with minimal effort. The rotary buffer can be used on all types of wheels, including chrome, stainless steel, and chrome.

It’s important to note that the rotary buffer is not the same as a car buffer.

What Is the Best Way to Polish Alloy Wheels?

A car buffer is used with a normal household electric drill and is not suitable for alloy wheels. If you want to polish your wheels to a high glossy shine and want to do it safely, a rotary buffer is the best option.

Why Is Polishing Alloy Wheels Important?

Alloy wheels are particularly susceptible to corrosion, so you will need to polish them more often than other parts of the car.

If left untreated, corrosion can lead to pitting on the surface of the entire wheel. This can make the wheels look dull, and it’s likely that they won’t pass a safety inspection.

Why Is Polishing Alloy Wheels Important?

By polishing your wheels and applying a protective coat, you can avoid scratching this scenario. In addition to this, polished wheels look more attractive and are more likely to be recognized.

Polished alloy wheels are a common feature in sports cars and luxury vehicles, so they help to make your car stand out.

How To Polish Alloy Wheels With A Rotary Buffer?

Polishing wheels with a rotary buffer is quite straightforward. To start, remove any existing abrasive polish or wax from the wheels with a soft microfiber cloth. This will ensure that the new polish you apply doesn’t peel or flake off.

Once your wheels are clean, apply your new polish. You should apply an even and generous protective layer of polish to each wheel. Allow the polish to dry before you buff the wheels with a cloth.

It’s important to follow the instructions for the polish that you choose. Different polishes have different drying times, and you don’t want to risk smearing the polish. Once the polish has dried, you can use a cloth to buff the wheels.

Buff the wheels in a rotary motion, making sure that you don’t apply too much pressure. This will help to achieve an even and consistent finish.

How To Polish Alloy Wheels By Hand?

How To Polish Alloy Wheels With A Rotary Buffer?

If you don’t own a rotary buffer, you can still achieve a high shine by polishing your wheels by hand.

This process is a little more time-consuming than using a buffer, but it’s still a straightforward method.

To begin, remove any existing wheels polish, or wax from the wheels. Follow this with a clean cloth, to ensure that the surface of the wheels is prevent brake dust and loose dirt. Next, apply your new polish to the wheels.

Use an even and generous layer of polish on each wheel. Allow the polish to dry and remove any excess with a soft cloth.

You can use a soft cloth to apply extra polish to any areas of the wheel that are already shiny. This will help to achieve an even finish.

How To Use Chemical Coating To Polish Alloy Wheels?

While these methods will work, they’re not the most effective or skilled methods. Using chemical coating is a better option if you want to achieve a high shine with minimal effort.

The chemical coating is a liquid that is applied to the wheels and then polished to a high shine. It’s a quick and easy process that can be done in a single sitting.

How To Use Chemical Coating To Polish Alloy Wheels

The best way to use the chemical coating is to apply it with a sponge. You can then use a clean cloth to polish the wheels until they achieve a high shine.

Tools You Will Need

Soft cloths – Use cloths without any loose fibers that could end up on the wheels and prevent scratching the surface.
Safety goggles – It’s important to protect your eyes at all times when working on wheels. Avoid getting dirt or small particles in your eyes.
Rubber gloves – Use rubber gloves to avoid touching the surface of the wheels. This will help to prevent the transfer of oils from your hands and ensure that the wheels are clean.
Weel cleaning solution – Make sure that you clean the wheels of your car before you start the polishing process. This will ensure that they are as clean as possible.
Polishing compound – A polishing compound will help to remove any small blemishes from the wheels and ensure that they are as clean as possible.

Steps To Follow For Polishing


Thoroughly wash the alloys.

Thoroughly wash the alloys.

Before you can begin polishing alloy wheels, they must be thoroughly cleaned of road dirt and debris. Here’s how to wash alloy wheels step by step. It’s best to use an alloy wheel cleaner, not car shampoo, for maximum results.


Dry the Alloy Wheels

Dry the Alloy Wheels

After you are satisfied that your alloys are sparkling clean, thoroughly dry them. Moisture on a wheel may adversely affect the polishing process. Remove all moisture with a clean, soft microfibre cloth.


Apply an Alloy Wheel Brightener

Apply an Alloy Wheel Brightener

Before you begin polishing, apply a generous amount of alloy wheel brightener. Brightens aluminum and alloy parts and removes brake dust as well.


Apply an Alloy Polish of Choice

Now that the alloys are clean, dry, and polished.

  • Rub the polish into the wheel with a clean cloth, working in the direction of the grain.
  • A steaky finish may result from rubbing in circles.
  • Avoid rubbing in the polishing before it dries out by working in small sections.
  • To get into those hard-to-reach places, use a small soft brush or cloth-wrapped toothbrush.

Apply a Finishing Polish

After applying a finishing polish, the alloy wheels are ready for use. Use a soft microfibre cloth to apply the finishing polish and polish until the cloth is free of product. Shinier wheels will look the longer you polish them, so keep polishing!

Keeping alloy wheels clean and shiny will enhance the appearance of your car, so follow our top polishing tips.

If you discover damage to your alloy wheels while polishing them. ChipsAway specialists can repair the damage in a matter of hours so your wheels look as good as new again.


Wheel polishing is an important part of car maintenance. It will help to protect your wheels from becoming corroded and ensure that they look their best.

It’s important to note that the best way to polish wheels is with a rotary buffer, as this allows you to work in a controlled and safe manner.

To achieve the best results, make sure that you follow the steps outlined in this article and use the right equipment. When you follow these steps, you’ll also know that your wheels are being polished to the correct standard.


How can I make my alloy wheels shine?

There are a few things you can do to make your alloy wheels shine. First, make sure they are clean. You can use a mild soap and water solution to wash them, or you can use a dedicated alloy wheel cleaner. Once they are clean, you can apply a polish or a wax to help protect the finish and make them shine.

Can u polish alloy wheels?

Yes, you can polish alloy wheels. You will need to purchase a wheel polishing kit that contains a wheel polishing compound and a buffing pad. Follow the instructions included with the kit to polish your wheels.

Can you polish dull aluminum wheels?

Yes, you can polish dull aluminum wheels. You will need to purchase a polishing kit that contains an abrasive polishing pad and a buffing wheel. You will also need a power drill. Follow the instructions that come with the polishing kit to attach the polishing pad and buffing wheel to the power drill. Turn on the power drill and hold it against the aluminum wheel. Move the power drill in a circular motion. Polish the entire surface of the aluminum wheel.

Don Sutton
Don Sutton has had a long and varied career in engineering, spanning four different countries. He began his apprenticeship in New Zealand at Paeroa Motors in 1965 before moving to the United States where he studied at Paeroa College before accepting a job as an engineer with Bendix/Kirby/TRW/Tristar. His work involved designing components for the automotive industry for over thirty years, including brake pads, power steering pumps, and fuel injectors. In 2005 Don left automotive design to pursue other interests but maintains an interest in all things related to automobiles. He is currently retired from engineering but continues to consult on issues relating to vehicle testing and manufacture when needed!