Restoring Tired Tires and Rims for any Car Owner
Difficulty Level – Beginner, Estimated Time – 90 to 120 Minutes
If your car has rims and you have owned it for some years, chances are there is a coating of rust on them, which can be removed easily. As a car enthusiast, and an owner of a few older cars that I have worked on extensively, I have come across problems with tires and their upkeep. Rust-coated rims diminish the sleekness of your older ride and when redone, can improve its luster and even resale value.
Tires themselves are very expensive to replace so it is important to keep an eye out for their proper maintenance which some car owners easily avoid. I have an added step in this Instructable to help restore the rubber tire, too. It uses an inexpensive tire foam that lifts the dirt and restores oil into the surface of the rubber to keep it from dry-rotting.
After this project, you should be pleasantly shocked at the sharp look of your tires!
- Gallon Bucket
- Water (Garden hose works too).
- Dish Soap
- 4 Stainless Steel Scrubbing Pads
- Bristled Brush (Toilet Brush Works well too).
- Foam Tire Cleaner (Armor All brand is used in this Instructable).
- Rag/Towel/or Old T-shirt
The materials here are very simple to find and are easily accessible at your local dollar store. However, the foaming tire cleaner may not be found at the dollar store, you can find it at Walmart or Deals for between $5 and $10.
Step 1: Add Soap to a 1 Gallon Bucket
In an empty 1 gallon bucket, add a dime-size amount of a mild dish soap. Heavier dish soaps that degrease may interfere with the brakes' fluids which are immediately near the rims. The idea of this soap is just to create suds to lift dirt and grime, not to remove grease. So, do not add too much!
Step 2: Add Water to Create Suds
Add water to this bucket, and a mild suds should occur.
Step 3: Scrub Away Dirt + Mud
Take the toilet or bristled brush and dunk it in the soapy bucket of water. Then, rigorously scrub the rim. Scrub not only the front of the rim but behind if you want to.
Brake dust may become create black suds in this process.**
Repeat this task on all four rims to remove any loose or caked dirt. **Along the way, again, it may be necessary to re-wet the brush and or rinse accordingly depending on how dirty the rims may be.
Step 4: Swap Out for Clean Water
Then empty the soapy water bucket. Brake dust can blacken the water and should be replaced.
Be careful to not empty somewhere where you might be concerned about stains or a mess. I would not advise the toilet or tub. Empty into a sewer or near the curb.
Step 5: Refill + Prep Scrubber Pads
Refill and reapply a generous amount of soap, ideally around a teaspoon for one gallon.
Then use one stainless steel pad and get it wet with the soapy water. Again, it is important that stainless steel pads are used, they scrub the rust away and are less abrasive than the Brillo soap and pad combo.
Step 6: Scrub With Soapy Pads
Begin to scrub the rims with the soapy aluminum pad and watch the rust come away and scrub accordingly (which means behind the rims too if you wish).
Sometimes rims are constructed in a way that the the behind of them is easily hidden and the front is only needed to be cleaned
Continue to repeat the above steps as well as step 5 for each tire, and each new pad. Metal on metal friction when cleaning can wear out the aluminum pad pretty quickly, it is important to swap out for a new pad every time you switch tires to promote optimal rust removal!
Step 7: Rinse Again
After scrubbing all four tires with the soapy aluminum pads, rinse with one bucket of water for each tire (or with hose if easier or more accessible for you).
Allow the tires to air dry our in the sun.
Step 8: Apply Rubber Tire Cleaner
In this step, you can choose to use a foaming rubber tire cleaner. This product is either in generic or brand name from and retails for $5 – $10. This product does not remove rust, but it reconditions the rubber tire and improves a worn appearance. It also restores surface oil in the rubber or the tire and prevents dry-rotting – a process that happens when rubber dries out and becomes brittle and or frail, which would not be good for tires!
DO NOT apply to the inside treads, it will make your tires slippery! Seriously, do not! The point in which you should stop the application is pictured in this step.
Apply product per label – it should foam up, let it dry, and rinse (with hose if you wish) once again.
**For this Instructable, I used Armor All brand restoring tire foam. It was $5 at Deals.
Step 9: Rinse Off Tire Cleaner After 20 Minutes
After rinsing, let the tires dry in the sun to allow for maximum shine in the next step which is polishing.
Step 10: Polish
After drying, wipe/polish with a rag, towel or old tee shirt, especially for chromed rims. This will remove any water spots and will bring out shine!
Step 11: Enjoy
You are now ready to hit the road and enjoy the new look of your ride, newer once again.
Thank you for giving my instructions a try. I hope they worked out for you. Show your friends the great job that you did and urge them to try this too! Please pass along the link via Instructables below!