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Picture of How to Polish Old Rust Stained Chrome Wheels

Video tutorial on how to clean and polish chrome wheels. Having the tires mounted on the wheels or the wheels on or off the vehicle does not matter. If the chrome surface has rusting, this cannot be fixed with this method. Being that chrome is a plating on metal, this plated surface is damaged. With this process we can only lessen the visuals of the damage, not permanently fix it. The only way to fix this rusting or pitting is to strip the finish and have them recoated.

Tools/Supplies Needed:

  • Spray Nine Multi-Purpose Cleaner/Disinfectant
  • hose
  • bucket of water
  • soft brush
  • soft cloths
  • wheel/chrome polish (in the video I used Eagle One Original Mag & Aluminum Wheel Polish & Nevr Dull)
  • wax (in the video I used Carnauba Wax by Mothers)
  • microfiber cloth

Step 1:

Picture of

First start by washing the wheels removing any dirt or debris which can contaminate the surface and cause scratching. Rinse the wheels off using a hose, then spray the surface with Spray Nine. Allow the Spray Nine to soak into the surface, do not let it sit in the sun as we don't want the soap to dry out. Agitate the surface with the brush, then rinse once done. Dry the wheel off either using a cloth or compressed air.

Everytime I worked on restoring vintage bikes, I used a piece of very fine steel wool and some window cleaner. A bit of rubbing and the surface rust goes away nicely. Then it's good to polish it.

4DIYers (author)  ElegantAndrogyne1 year ago

Excellent tips, thank you for sharing! What grade of steel wool did you use? #0000?

Not sure anymore, plus the European grades may all be different than in the US / Canada.

Rrubbing with aluminium foil instead of steel wool might work better. The alu is softer than the chrome which is why it doesn't scratch it but the steel is harder and will scratch the chrome.

4DIYers (author)  XTL1 year ago

I have been meaning to try the aluminum foil method, have been really curious about it. Thank you for sharing!

ColinD361 year ago

Works the same for chromium on push-bikes. Handlebars, Seat posts, etc., just check max. diameter of posts and ensure that they are within guidelines and specifications.

4DIYers (author)  ColinD361 year ago

Excellent info, thank you for sharing!

I remember my senior year in high school. I bought a 65 Mustang convertible with Rusty chrome wheels on it. They were really bad. I took an SOS pad in hot water and scrubbed them clean and shiny. Then I just waxed them with regular car wax and they looked like new.
4DIYers (author)  houseboatmark1 year ago

Awesome to hear! Do you still have a classic car???

EillotB1 year ago

you post a lot of good stuff.

4DIYers (author)  EillotB1 year ago

Thank you :)

gm2801 year ago

Nice before and after shots. Yes, once the chrome gets rusted pitted, you have to stay after them on a regular schedule or the rim will continue rusting 'til it is beyond help.

4DIYers (author)  gm2801 year ago

Thank you :)

aaahotdog1 year ago

I find that a steel wool "Brillo" pad used for pots and pans works well to remove small rust pits and works well to clean the rims. You can also use common vinegar after the rims are cleaned to neutralize the metal pinholes before waxing. Vinegar is a great rust neutralizer. You can take an old rusty motor cycle or lawn mower gas tank, put in some vinegar, some bb's (like from a bb gun). Close the openings and shake the everloving xxxx out of it. The bb's will chip out the rust flakes and the vinegar will help to seal it.

4DIYers (author)  aaahotdog1 year ago

Excellent tips, thanks for sharing! I haven't tried vinegar on chrome, wasn't too sure if it would attack the plating. But I have been using on other rusty parts, by far the easiest and cheapest way to strip rust.