Trying to find the best chrome rim cleaner can be a source of frustration and waste a lot of your time and money. We Americans willingly invest a large portion of our paychecks into and on our cars. We want our vehicles to look like they just rolled off the showroom floor, if not better. A clean, shiny car, both inside and out, is a source of joy and pride. Washing, waxing, and vacuuming are the easy parts of keeping our cars spotless and many people stop there. A harder part of cleaning is keeping our chrome rims clean and shining in the sun.
Best Chrome Rim Cleaner for 2021:
|CarGuys Premium Cleaner||Sonax (230200-755)||Diablo Gel||Adam’s Wheel Cleaner||TriNova Wheel Cleaner|
|Capacity||18oz.||17 oz.||16 -128 oz.||16oz - 5 Gallon||18oz.|
|Suitable for||Safe for all wheels & tires||Safe on various wheel finishes||all OEM and after market wheels||chrome, alluy, clear-coated, powder-coated, painted wheels||Suitable for All Wheel Types|
|Price||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon|
As you walk down the aisle at your local auto parts store, the aisle where the wheel care products are stocked, the number of different manufacturers and products to clean chrome rims will totally amaze you. There are so many products it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to determine which ones are the best. So you take a chance, pick one, and then try it on your chrome rims, only to be disappointed with the outcome. This is where this review can help.
When you use one of these products to clean your car’s chrome rims, please keep the following cleaning tips in mind:
- You should never clean your rims while they are hot or warm. When the rims are hot your cleaning product may dry too quickly, leaving spots or films.
- Work on only one chrome rim at a time.
- Do not work in direct sunlight.
- Before using any rim cleaner it is important to spray your rims with clear water to remove as much loose dirt as possible.
- Only leave the cleaner on the rim for the time recommended by the manufacturer of the cleaner. The direction times will vary, so pay attention to the label.
What should you look for in a chrome rim-cleaning product? Here are some of the most important features to consider before you buy.
Safe for All Finishes
Safety across a wide spectrum of wheel finishes is important, If you have more than one car or set of wheels, you don’t want to have to by a different product for each one or try to remember which product goes with which rim.
Best choice for all finishes: Car Guys Wheel Cleaner >>> Check price on Amazon
Ease of Use
We all lead busy lives. You want a product that is easy to apply and works the first time with minimum scrubbing and brushing.
Best Choice for ease of use: Sonax Wheel Cleaner >>> Check price on Amazon
Brake Dust Removal
The absolute worst problem affecting our rims is accumulation of brake dust. Its sticky, and prolonged build up can result in major damage and pitting to the rim.
Best Choice for brake dust removal: Adam’s Wheel Cleaner >>> Check price on Amazon
Full Reviews: the Best Chrome Rim Cleaners
Car Guys Premium Wheel Cleaner
This is a highly concentrated rim cleaner that will clean AND protect the rims. It does a better than average job on salt and grime. While it may cost a little more than other rim cleaners, the results are well worth the cost of the product. >>> Check price on Amazon
It works very well on all rim types, including plastic-dipped wheels. Car Guys Wheel Cleaner does require a small amount of agitation but find an effective wheel cleaner that doesn’t. It does seem to adhere to the wheel better than other brands. Good adhesion means you will use less of the product per rim, which will help to offset its higher price.
- Acid Free, Non-Toxic, PH Balanced
- Environmentally Friendly
- Made in the USA with Outstanding Customer Service
- May Damage Bare Metal
- Will Stain Concrete
This product can be used safely on most rim finishes (chrome, aluminum, steel, clear coated, PVD, painted, plastic, magnesium) and it also works well on your car’s other chrome trim. It is acid free and PH balanced which means that the cleaner won’t damage the wheel, it only attacks the debris on the wheel. >>> Check price on Amazon
As an added bonus, Sonax is formulated to change color as it cleans. Because it goes on green and changes to a pink when it contacts dirt, grime, and brake dust, you’ll be assured that your rim is clean once the pink goes away. Some agitation is usually required so a soft brush will work best. Rinse the wheel when your done and dry it with a soft cloth to prevent water spots.
- Acid Free & PH Balanced
- Safe For Use on Variety of Finishes
- Changes to Pink as It Works
- May Irritate Your Skin
- May Require Additional Applications
- Might Stain Your Concrete
Diablo Gel Wheel & Rim Cleaner
The only gel to make our list. Diablo sticks to dirt and deeply penetrates the creases and crevices in your chrome rims. It works really well because of its ability to dissolve the bond that allows dirt to cling to the rims. Because it lifts contaminants away from the surface it requires less hand action. >>> Check price on Amazon
Diablo is safe for all rim types, including carbon fiber. It may not be as strong as other wheel cleaners, but it will not damage other car surfaces if it is accidently splashed on them. One word of warning though, the manufacturer of this product recommends diluting it before using.
- Concentrated: Lasts Longer
- Safe for Use on All Types of Rims
- Can Be Applied by Spraying or Brushing
- 3:1 Solution Ratio as Directed Is Too Weak
- Not As Fast Acting As Other Chrome Rim Cleaners
Adam’s Wheel Cleaner
Adam’s Wheel Cleaner excels at eliminating brake dust buildup. If you own a sports car with fancy, sporty wheels, then you probably also have high-performance brakes. The most popular high-performance brake pads are metallic. Since these pads contain copper, iron, steel, and other composite alloys, they tend to produce more brake dust than ordinary pads. And that means more rim cleaning, more often. This product was formulated to work great at removing heavy layers of brake dust buildup. >>> Check price on Amazon
When Adam’s comes into contact with brake dust it changes color to a vibrant purple. Spray it on, allow it to dwell a few minutes, lightly brush, and then rinse it off. In less than 10 minutes you will have a shiny, clean rim.
- Changes to Purple as It Works
- Acid Free and PH Neutral
- Great on Stubborn Brake Dust/Metallic Debris
- Made in the USA
- Cleans Rims Only. Avoid Contact With Other Car Parts
- Doesn’t Work Well on Road Tar
TriNova Wheel Cleaner
This product excels at cleaning wheels that are older and haven’t received been treated well during their lifetime. It is specifically formulated to restore original luster to wheels that have become dulled over time. It even works well on wheels that have multiple finishes, like wheels that are painted and have chrome-tipped edges. (Check our guide of best wheel waxes for painted wheels here)
Another great feature of TriNova is that it works well in eliminating stains caused by road salt and oil. If you live where the roads are treated with salt throughout the winter, this may be the perfect cleaner to use before, during, and after those nasty winter months. >>> Check price on Amazon
- Restores Luster to Older Rims
- Works Well on Salt Stains
- Adds a Protective Layer to Inhibit Brake Dust Buildup
- Prone to Leave Stains or Spots
- Not Great on Heavy Brake Dust
Summing It All Up
When it comes to cleaning their cars, people focus more on the car’s body and windows. The car’s rims are often an overlooked item. But when you see another car and it really grabs your attention, the shiny, super-clean chrome rims play a big part in your overall impression of the car’s beauty and style.
All forms of dirt and brake dust are corrosive and should be removed on a regular basis, at least every other week. You should always target brake dust, which is corrosive by nature. Since your car is driven daily, brake dust builds up quickly. If allowed to build upon your rims for too long, it will eventually eat into any coating on them and cause pitting in the metal.
All five of these chrome rim cleaners are fantastic products and will get the job done when manufacturer’s instructions are followed. The color changing formulas of Sonax and Adams Wheel Cleaners makes those two stands out from the crowd. Of the two, the edge goes to Sonax. Customers like its ease of use along with the fact that Sonax is less apt to stain calipers and rotors. Although priced somewhat on the expensive side when compared to other wheel cleaners, Sonax will deliver 8-12 cleanings per bottle.
We hope this guide makes your chrome rim cleaner choices a little easier to understand. With hundreds of products to choose from, why not start with the best. Happy motoring!