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Speed Master Wheel Cleaning Brushes Review & How-To by Mike Phillips
The order of steps when washing your car
For most of us, we wash our car more often than any other maintenance task as it relates to our car. We wax it once or twice a year but some of us wash our car once a month, a couple times a month even once a week! That's a lot of washing!
When it comes to washing your car, in my opinion as well as my own practice, what I share in my how-to book and teach in my classes is that you start at the bottom, wheels and tires and then after washing the wheels and tires you move to the top, usually the roof and then wash from the top to the bottom. I point this out because the other popular order that people use is to START at the top of the car, usually the roof, and then work your way down and around the car ending up with washing the wheels and tires.
The reason I wash wheels and tires first is because it can help you to prevent water spots on the paint, glass and trim or wasted steps and thus wasted time. You see, if you start at the top and work your way down, you either have water drying on the car leaving behind spots while you wash the wheels and tires. OR - after washing the car you dry it and then wash the wheel and tires. Because you end up getting the body panels around the wheels and tires wet when washing the wheels and tires, you now repeat steps by re-drying the panels around the wheels and tires and thus wasting both energy and time.
The order in which you wash your car and wheels and tires is RELATIVE - it really doesn't matter to the car which order it gets clean. So in my experience and opinion, it makes better sense to start with the wheels and tires and then after you finish washing and rinsing all 4 wheels and tires, THEN wash the car body starting at the top and working your way down and around.
How long does it take you to wash one wheel and one tire?
I keep my cars wheels and tires clean. This includes the sidewall of the tires, the face of the wheel, behind the spokes of the wheel and the wheel barrel. For some, this may be extreme, for others this is normal. And for the very OCD, you guys actually remove the wheels and tires using hydraulic jacks and jack stands so you can thoroughly wash the back of the wheels and tires. (that's a little to insane for my needs).
Now the wheels and tires on both our cars are regularly thoroughly clean, so when I go to wash my wheels and tires, they don't have the kind of built-up baked-on brake dust and road grime like some the cars some of you reading this own.
Knowing this, that the wheels and tires on my cars are regularly cleaned, EVEN SO, when I time myself from start to finish to wash one wheel and one tire including in this order,
1. Washing inside barrel of the wheel.
2. Washing the backside of the spokes.
3. Washing the face of the wheel
4. Washing the lug nut barrels
5. Scrubbing the tire sidewall usually 2 times, something 3 times
The above takes me a minimum of 15 minutes.
Multiple the above by 4 for the 4 sets of wheels and tires on the average vehicle and you have 4 x 15 = ONE HOUR to simply wash your wheels and tires.
Now if you're starting out with neglected wheels, that is wheels that are NOT regularly and thoroughly washed, then it's going to take you L-O-N-G-E-R.
Now let me tie this in with why you don't want to start at the top of your car washing the roof and working your way down and then ending with washing the wheels and tires. The reason why is if you wash your car and don't dry off the water, this means the water will be standing on the body panels, glass and trim for ONE HOUR (while you wash the wheels and tires), and chances are really good that some of this water is going to dry and leave water spots. Now you have to remove the water spots and this can and normally is very time consuming.
So if you don't normally start with wheels and tires give it a try. You'll find it doesn't make the washing process any longer and makes good practical sense.
Now lets take a look at some of the Speed Master tools that will make washing your wheel and tires faster and effectively.
Washing Wheels and Tires starts with great tools!
When it comes to washing your wheels and tires, great tools make the job faster and easier and just as important - they make you effective and efficient with your time and energy.
On the left are 3 different sizes of Speed Master Wheel Detailing Brushes. The different sizes enable you to get into and reach every square inch of your car's wheels. Just to the right of the Speed Master Wheel Detailing Brushes is the Speed Master Jr. wheel cleaning brush, his comes in handy for both cleaning wheels and cleaning the brake calibers (see pictures below). The BLACKFIRE Tire & Wheel Cleaner is a dual-use product as it's formulated to clean both wheels and tires.
The Speed Master Tire Scrub Brush comes with short, stiff bristles which are perfect for scrubbing the sidewalls of tires to remove tire blooming and old dressings. The hand has an ergonomic non-slip grip to make holding the brush easier when your hands are wet.
This is the Wheel Woolies Boar's Hair Wheel Brush - in my opinion, the best wheel face cleaning brush on Planet Earth. Also great for so many other car detailing tasks.
And the Autogeek Knee N' Back cushion is also great for sitting on while sitting on the ground in front of 4 sets of wheels and tires. Besides being a LOT more comfortable than concrete it also keeps you back side dry when there's rinse water around the car.
The order to clean the different areas of a wheel and tire...
This is in part personal preference. I will say I can make a case for washing the wheel first and then the tires. Why? Because if you wash the wheel first and then the tire, when rinsing the tire, the wheel cleaner and other dirty residues will have dripped and pooled via gravity to lower sections of the wheel where you'll have a second chance to rinse them away. So my order looks like this:
• Brake caliper
• Wheel Barrel
• Back of wheel spoke
• Face of wheel
• Lug nut barrel
And of course, rinse any of the above section in a timely manner so no cleaner dries onto the surface.
First up is the brake caliper. It doesn't look like this caliper is cleaned on a regular basis. When calipers are neglected they get a build-up of road grime, (oily residue), and brake dust. I'm going to get about 95% of the road grime and brake dust off the brake calipers with this initial wash. With each additional time I wash this car I'll eventually get to about 99% clean. The only way to get to 100% clean is to remove the wheels but that's a topic for another article for another day.
Start by spraying the caliper with your wheel and tire cleaner...
Then agitate the cleaner using the Speed Master Wheel brush... you can also use the Speed Master Wheel Detailing Brushes to reach or scrub stubborn grime.
After scrubbing rinse thoroughly....
For the barrels I like to start by spraying the cleaner onto the fibers of the brush first and then spray the wheel barrels....
Then start scrubbing the barrels with a side-to-side and back-n-forth action....
After working around the entire inside diameter of the wheel barrel rinse thoroughly...
The Speed Master Wheel Detailing kit comes with three sizes of wool brushes, the smaller sizes work great for getting into tight areas or cleaning between spokes. Again, I like to start by spraying some cleaner directly onto the fibers of the brush.
The spray the area to be cleaned....
Next work the brushes in and out to remove built-up road grime and brake dust.
Both the Speed Master Wheel Brush and the Speed Master Wheel Brush Jr. are great for getting behind the spokes. The vinyl covered wire shaft of the brush is flexible so you can bend it to fit any custom wheel design. The vinyl covering over the wire core and the rubber tip prevent you from scratching your car's wheels.
Next spray the face of the wheel and wheel spokes and use the Wheel Woolies Boar's Hair Wheel Brush to gently scrub the face of the wheel, the spokes and the outer lip of the wheel rim.
And then give the wheels a final rinse....
Be sure to spray from different angles to thoroughly rinse off all wheel cleaner and dissolved road grime and loosened brake dust.
After cleaning the rim, next clean the tire sidewall.
I like to start by spraying a little cleaner onto the bristles of the brush...
Next spray the tire sidewalls...
Agitate the cleaner against the sidewall using the Speed Master Tire Scrub Brush...
Then rinse thoroughly....
Repeat the above to the other 3 wheels and tires...
After drying the wheels and tires, apply a dressing to the tires. For this 2013 S550 Mercedes-Benz I'm going to use the new BLACKFIRE Multi-Surface Protectant diluted at 1:1 - at the time I detailed this car the product was not yet available except for beta form.
The BLACKFIRE Multi-Surface Protectant leaves a rich, dark sheen, not a greasy oily surface.
The clean, shiny brake calipers look great with their sharp contrast behind the black wheels....
Now that's a bad looking Benz!