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May 17, 2013

Clean Freak or Just a Freak: Why Is My Husband Always Cleaning His Wheels?

Dear Bree,

My husband is a clean freak (I’ll just put that out there first), but I think he’s taking it too far with his truck.  When I called him on the fact that he washes and shines that thing up every week, he came up with some song and dance about how he has to get the brake dust off his wheels or they’ll get ruined.  Now, I know he’s all about those fancy wheels, but is he full of it? Is this just another way to justify his OCD behavior?


Meditating on Medication in Memphis


Dear Meditating,

I can’t say if your husband is really full of it on a day-to-day basis, but in the case of brake dust on wheels, he’s got a valid point.  Here’s how it works:  When you apply the brakes in your vehicle, metal debris breaks off the pads.  Now, we’re talking about dust here, not big chunks of break pads, so don’t get excited. It only makes sense that a good bit of that dust is going to stick to your wheels, right?   That leads us to your question:  Does this actually harm the wheels or is your husband making stuff up?

He’s not making stuff up.  If you don’t wash your car and you leave break dust to sit on your wheels, yes, there can be damage.  Break dust is corrosive and will harm the wheels, especially if the wheel gets wet, because when the dust gets moist, the acids that result can etch your wheel.  So, yes, keeping our wheels clean is a good idea for everyone, but if I were your husband, and I’d made an investment in some “fancy wheels,” as you call them, I’d be taking extra care, too.

How about this: I’ll give you some cleaning tips that you can use to either a.) impress him with your knowledge, b.) create some bonding OCD time by helping him clean, or c.) all of the above.  Here’s what you do:

1.)    Use a mild soap and water solution to clean your wheels.  Never use tar or bug remover or acid-based cleaners because they may permanently damage or discolor your wheels.  Acid-based cleaners can save your arms because they loosen things up and make cleaning easier, but to be safe, put some elbow grease into it, instead. Look at it as a workout; you’re burning calories, right?  Also, keep your SOS pads in the house!  Never use abrasive pads, steel wool or polishing compounds to clean your wheels.

2.)    Wax those babies periodically to protect them and make them easier to clean.  A word to the wise:  Do not apply wax to a hot wheel—it might cause discoloration.

3.)    Beware the car wash.  I know–I love to drive through and forget it but take caution. Some car washes use acid-based cleaners either before or during the wash to make cleaning easier.  Car washes sometimes use stiff brushes for wheels and tires, as well, and that’s a no-no. Use a sponge, soft brush or rag to clean your wheels.

4.)    Save the steam cleaning for your carpet.  Steam-cleaning wheels can dull the paint or clear-coat finish.

5.)    If you do use an acid-based spray-on cleaner, do not let it dry on the wheels. Be advised that many wheels have been eaten up and the finish damaged permanently by acid-based cleaners left on the wheel too long. Actually, don’t let any cleaners dry on your wheels!  Wash one wheel at a time and remember: Spray, scrub, rinse!

We sell a lot of wheels here at RNR (it’s one of our specialties!), so we feel pretty confident giving tips on proper wheel maintenance.  Hope this helps you, Ms. Meditating.  Maybe wheel scrubbing could become together-time?  If not, let him scrub while you go shopping.



P.S. If your husband feels the need to show his wheels off, tell him to stop by.  We love to ooh and aah over a shiny set of wheels.:)

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