Raise your hand if you’re a fan of deep cleaning caked-on brake dust and road-grime off your $2,000 custom wheels. Yeah – I didn’t think so. Cleaning wheels is about equal to waiting in line at the DMV, scheduling optional root canal, or looking forward to being kicked in the nether regions.
But this becomes a moot point when you apply a high-quality DIY nano ceramic coating to your wheels. Whether they are alloy’s, chrome coated, or solid steel, making the proactive and smart decision to ceramic coat your wheels not only keeps them cleaner for longer, but it makes clean-up simple, seamless, and stress-free.
So – if you’re one of the thousands of automotive enthusiasts that have made the brilliant decision to purchase Armor Shield IX DIY nano ceramic coating – first off – THANK YOU!
Second, here is your ultimate step-by-step guide for how to prep, apply, and care for wheels once they are #ProtectedByTheKing.
Let’s kick the tires and light the fires.
Supplies Needed for Applying Armor Shield IX on Wheels
The first step is to make sure you’ve got all the right supplies needed to clean, prep, and apply the coating onto your wheels. Here is what you’ll NEED and a few recommended items you should consider.
Collect these supplies before you start:
- Dedicated wheel cleaning agents – Make sure they are not acidic and safe to use for your wheel type.
- pH neutral car shampoo – This is used after you clean your wheels, to remove those contaminants.
- A microfiber wash mitt – used in the final washing stage after you’ve removed all the brake dust and crap off the wheels.
- A soft bristle wheel brush – To be used to clean your wheels (especially the inside)
- A dedicated wash bucket for wheel cleaning ONLY
- Microfiber drying towel – all purpose towels will work well for wheel clean-up
- IPA surface prep spray (this is for the final wipe down before applying the coating). If you don’t have a dedicated spray, mix 99% isopropyl alcohol at a 1 to 2 ratio of distilled water. So basically, it’ll be 1 ounce of IPA mixed with 2 ounces of distilled water.
Supplies You SHOULD Have to Apply Armor Shield IX on Wheels
Here is what I’d recommend having for easier and more-effective Armor Shield IX application on your wheels.
- A car jack and four jack stands: You should always remove your wheels from the car to clean them completely and apply Armor Shield IX on the inside and outside.
- Tools to remove wheels from the hub
- A good degreasing or wax-stripping automotive shampoo – this really helps with the final cleaning of wheels. It’s also what we recommend as the first step for applying Armor Shield IX on your other car parts.
- A shaded place to apply Armor Shield IX onto the wheels
How Long will it Take to Complete This Task?
Assuming you have everything, you need to clean and apply the Armor Shield IX on all four wheels, it should take you no more than 4 hours from start to finish. I would strongly recommend making sure you don’t have anywhere to drive for a minimum of 24 hours after application – as you want the coating to cure before heading on the road.
So – now let’s dive right into the three steps for putting a ceramic coating on your wheels.
Step One – Clean the Wheels and Prep for Application
The first thing you should do is remove the wheels from your vehicle. If you only have a single jack stand, this will extend the time needed to do the job RIGHT.
Now, let me clarify something – you don’t NEED to remove them – but, we strongly recommend this method for multiple reasons:
- You won’t be able to fully debris dirt and debris from the wheels if they are on the vehicle.
- Applying a Nano ceramic coating on dirty wheels will not work correctly.
- You risk getting some ceramic coating on your brake rotors – and this would really suck because it can lead to brake failure.
- In a perfect world, you’d be able to coat the wheels when they are new before you have tires mounted. But, if you’re not that lucky, at least, remove all four wheels from your ride.
Each wheel will have its own level of dirt, debris, or brake dust. But these steps should work for most.
- Deep Clean with Wheel Cleaner: Start with the inside of the wheels – as they’ll be coated with brake dust likely. Follow the directions of each product you use for best results. The goal here is to remove as much brake dust as possible, so it might take a few attempts. When you’re finished with the inside, work on those nooks and crannies such as wheel lug holes and the outside.
*Pro Tip: If you scrub the heck out of your wheels and still have caked on brake dust, invest in a clay mitt and some lubrication spray. Clay mitts are great for removing embedded contaminants on metal.
- Wash the Wheels with a Car Shampoo: Wheel cleaner chemicals are toxic stuff. While they might be pH neutral, the triggering agents that dissolve brake dust or ferrous-based substances create a strong base reaction which leaves a residue on the surface unless completely washed off. Once you’ve deep cleaned the wheels, wash them with a car shampoo or a wax-stripping or prep shampoo. The wax-stripping soap is essentially a degreasing agent, that will lift and remove the residue left from cleaning agents.
- Dry the Wheels then Wipe Down with IPA: If you’ve completed the first two steps above and the wheels are as clean as possible, dry them then wipe down with an IPA spray solution as directed above.
Step Two – Applying the Ceramic Coating
When your wheels are crystal clean, you’re ready to apply the ceramic coating. The one thing you need to remember is to NEVER apply in direct sunlight. It’s OK to do this outdoors, just in the shade and when it’s under 80 degrees and above 50 degrees outside is best.
Also, DO NOT apply the coating inside the lug nut or bolt holes or the hub. When you install the wheels back on, you don’t want a ceramic coating to cause ‘slipping’ or creating an inaccurate torque. Leave the coating on the inside of the wheel and outside. Just keep it away from lug nuts or where it secures to the hub.
Apply the ceramic coating to wheels is no different than how you apply it on paint, glass, or plastic trim. However, here are a few tips
Coat the inside of the wheels first
Following the directions found in your Armor Shield IX DIY kit, take (1) suede applicator cloth and wrap around the applicator block (logo side up).
- Place 10 to 15 drops (a little more than you’d do on paint since wheels are quite porous) and apply from left to right, then top to bottom in a two-foot section.
- Let the coating flash for a few minutes – then buff off with the included microfiber buffing cloth. Once you’ve completed the back, place the wheel on a large towel or blanket and coat the front and nooks and crannies.
Here are some helpful tips for different wheel types:
When you’re done with each wheel – do it all over again. Alloy wheels LOVE a second coating and tend to soak up brake dust like crazy. The ‘extra’ coating will ensure full coverage, making it easier to clean.
Chrome Plated or Mag Wheels
When you’ve completed all wheels for the first coating, set them outside in direct sunlight for an hour or two before putting back on your vehicle. A second coating is always a good idea, but it’s more important to let them ‘bake’ a bit – as the coating on chrome and magnesium is harder – and the coating takes a bit longer to ‘initially cure’. The direct sunlight will help.
Step Three: Put Wheels Back on and Don’t Drive for at Least 24 Hours
When everything is done, slap those wheels back on the vehicle. When you tighten your lug nuts, make sure to torque the wheels to your factory recommended settings. Do this before the wheels are fully contacting the ground. Then lower the vehicle all the way down to the ground, and torque them one more time.
Again – when you’re finished, don’t drive for at least 24 hours. If it’s sunny outside, park the car outdoors and let that sunlight bake em’.
How to Keep Your Ceramic Coated Wheels Clean
Like any ceramic coated car part, we recommend that you wait at least two weeks to wash your vehicle. But, the cool thing about ceramic coating wheels is that cleaning them is easier than ever.
We recommend using a pH neutral car wash shampoo that is WAX FREE to wash your wheels. The coating is going to block the potential of brake dust and road grime from sticking to your wheel.
The DIY Kit includes everything you need to perform a professional grade ceramic coating without any prior experience. Get the feeling of driving a new car, every day.
As such, washing it off won’t require too much effort. Just spray with water, use your microfiber wash mitt, and bucket of sudsy car shampoo and wash any debris off. Rinse clean – and dry with a microfiber drying towel.
Here is what you NEVER want to do:
- NEVER use an iron remover or wheel cleaning agent on them. This stuff is not good for ceramic coatings – so just use a good quality car shampoo.
- NEVER use foam cleaners or degreasers. Really – you’ll notice the first few times how easy they are to clean with just soap and water.
- NEVER resist the opportunity to snap pictures or let others take picture of your sparkling clean wheels. OK, this might be some self-promotion, but we LOVE seeing your Armor Shield IX coated rims. So, take those pics, share them online, and tell your friends.
If you enjoyed this article, then you'll love AvalonKing's automotive care products for Do-It-Yourselfers. We create "No B.S. products" for an affordable price. And the best part, we treat our customers like family, so if you have any questions or just looking to chat about cars, we're only an email or call away. Check out our homepage here.