Best Aluminum Polishes: Make Your Wheels Shine and Stand Out
Find the best aluminum polish to get your wheels looking brand new
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON April 30, 2019
Washing and cleaning your car is something every vehicle owner should do from time to time. Not only does it keep it looking new by removing dirt and debris, but there’s more to washing a car than using soap and water. Having a good aluminum polish for your wheels will make them look as good as they did when they left the factory. Here are the best aluminum wheel polishes to brighten up your wheels.
- Best OverallMothers Mag & Aluminum PolishSummarySummary
Widely known as one of the original aluminum polishes on the market, this is a cream-based polish that goes on easily and requires some elbow grease to remove road rash.ProsPros
The polish can be used on other parts of your car. It is useful for cleaning foggy headlights and can be used on brass and other metals. The cream comes in various sizes, starting at 5 ounces and ending with a 1 gallon container.ConsCons
Can take a lot of time to apply when removing debris and cleaning your wheels since it is a cream polish. The price for a full gallon container is in the higher price range.
- Best ValueCar Guys Premium Wheel CleanerSummarySummary
A simple-to-use point-and-spray aluminum polish for your wheels, no matter what finish they come in.ProsPros
Comes in two sizes, a 16-ounce spray bottle or a 1-gallon jug. The spray is also safe for alloy, aluminum, anodized, chrome, painted, clear coat, or any other type of wheel finish.ConsCons
It will require more muscle to remove caked on dirt and grime. Simply spraying and washing away the solution does not get rid of everything on the first try.
- Honorable MentionSONAX Wheel Cleaner Full EffectSummarySummary
A spray-based pH-neutral and acid-free aluminum polish that leaves wheels looking spot-free and is easy to apply with the bottle.ProsPros
Appears as a bright green that turns red to let you know it is working to remove dirt, debris, and grime. Available in a 16-ounce bottle, a pack of six, or a gallon.ConsCons
Has an unpleasant smell when sprayed onto wheels, so a mask or nose plugs may be helpful. Due to the bottle design, the spray may run out sooner than anticipated, so you may want to invest in more than one bottle.
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Benefits of Aluminum Polish
- Make your wheels stand out. Aluminum polish makes wheels look brand new. They help keep them sparkling while you drive and are designed to bring out the color of the wheel.
- Get rid of grime and dirt. Polishes free your wheels from oil, brake dust, grime, dust, and more road rash.
- Protect against tarnishing. The best aluminum polish will protect your wheels against tarnishing and oxidation.
Types of Aluminum Polish
The most popular aluminum polish typical comes in a cream-based form. This version comes in a tube, bottle, or can. Cream aluminum polish products are generally the most simple to put on wheels but are also the most time-consuming since they are applied by hands. This also means they have the potential to be less messy. If you’re willing to spend more time treating your wheels, cream aluminum polishes are the way to go.
Wheel polishes that are spray-based come in a bottle and allow for pinpoint accuracy when applying the solution to your car’s wheels. After spraying it on, wait a few minutes to rub it off with a cloth or wash it away with water.
These aluminum polish products are thicker than water and cream-based polishes. They rub on like skin lotion and vanish once completely put on. This means they are simple to apply and don’t take up a lot of time.
Gel shines come in a bottle and give you control over how much product you use and where exactly it goes. This shine is applied by rubbing the gel onto the wheel. These require more time and care to make sure the wheel gets a nice finish.
The company began in the 1970s selling just one tin can of polish. From that one product, it now sells more than 70 car care products to keep your vehicle looking great. The company is known for its first product, Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish.
Based out of California, Chemical Guys designs and creates high-quality waxes, coatings, polishes, and sealants for cars. The company offers videos and courses to teach people how to properly care for a car. One of its top products is Heavy Metal Polish.
Car Guys is a brand devoted to properly detailing cars to make sure they last longer. It launched as a website in 2015 and evolved into a company later on as it started to design its own personal car products. Its best aluminum polish is the Car Guys Premium Wheel Cleaner.
Aluminum Polish Pricing
- $5-$20: With aluminum wheel polish, you mainly pay for the size of the container and type. Within this price range, anything around 16 ounces and below falls here.
- $20-$115: This price range has larger bottles and containers that offer more solution for more applications or larger vehicles. Here, you can find anything from 64 ounces to 1 gallon or more for a large supply of wheel polish.
Aluminum polishes work great for brightening your wheels, but many can also be used on other parts of your car or house. The best vehicle polishes can clean foggy headlights, watches, keys, and any other type of metal or aluminum.
Most aluminum polishes carry some sort of scent that may linger while you work but dissipates once cleaned off. However, not all will come with their own unique scent; manufacturers may add an aroma to their products. If you’re sensitive to scented polishes, make sure the product you choose has little to no trace of chemical smell.
While applying for polish works best when washing your car completely, they are easy to store in case you ever want to polish your wheels away from home. Creams, gels, and pastes may be more simple to keep in your car, while sprays may spill over during your drive.
- Ease of Application: There are many different options when it comes to aluminum polish and they all are easy to apply, either by rubbing them on with a cloth or spraying on with a bottle. They shouldn’t require a lot of preparation to put on the car’s wheels. They will, however, vary on how long it takes to apply and the amount of elbow grease required.
- Applicator: It is important to have something to rub in the polish. Microfiber applicator pads are used to rub in the spray, gel, lotion, or cream to get an even coat all around the wheels. Many products may come with their own pad, but if they don’t, you will need to buy one in order to make sure you get the best finish possible.
Best Aluminum Polish Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: Mothers Mag & Aluminum Polish
Our best aluminum polish is also the original created by Mothers more than 30 years ago. This cream-based polish goes on easily with a little bit of elbow grease from you to remove dirt and other debris that is caked onto your wheels. You can apply it directly to the wheel or put in on a microfiber cloth first. After the wheel is clean and the cream removed, just dry it with a cotton towel.
Another great feature of this polish is it can be used on other parts of your car and everyday items around the house. We found it useful to brighten fogged up headlights, brass, and other metals like watches and keys. It also comes in a range of sizes and containers starting at 5 ounces and going up to 1 gallon.
While it is tough to beat this polish, we did find that it does require time and effort to bring out the shine in your wheels. You’ll have to spend a few minutes with each wheel to make sure it’s clear of mud or scratches and can be taxing on your arms. Compared to other polish choices, the price for the gallon size is on the higher side.
Best Value: Car Guys Premium Wheel Cleaner
For the best value brand of aluminum polish, we have to go with this acid-free spray solution. What we liked most about it is how simple it is to spray on the polish, then wait a few minutes to wipe it off with a clean cloth or spray it with water to remove dirt, brake dust, and grime.
It comes in two sizes when ordered, an 18-ounce bottle or a 1-gallon container. We found it to be great for any type of wheel on your car, whether it be an alloy, aluminum, anodized, chrome, painted, clear coat, or anything else. It also works well on other metals.
As far as downsides go, when it comes to removing caked on dirt or mud, it requires several applications and a bit of time to scrub it off. It works great for dust, dirt, and scratches that haven’t been there for long periods of time, but older debris will require more time and energy to remove.
Honorable Mention: SONAX Wheel Cleaner Full Effect
Our honorable mention goes to this spray on wheel polish. This pH-neutral polish fights away tough-to-remove blemishes and leaves your wheels looking spot-free and sparkling. It is acid-free as well, meaning it is able to be used on a variety of wheel finishes.
One of the great features about this specific wheel polish is once it is sprayed onto the surface, it will appear as a bright green color. To show you it is working, the color will shift to a red after a few moments. It is available as a single 16-ounce bottle, a pack of six, or a 1-gallon container.
While it is a great choice when it comes to aluminum polish, it will take some scrubbing with a cloth or brush to remove dirt that’s been there a while. Regarding the bottle, you can go through the spray quickly, so if you have larger wheels, you may need to invest in more solution. We also noticed you may want to wear nose plugs; the smell can be quite unpleasant.
- Depending on the size of the wheels you have, it can take a lot of polish to completely clean them. We recommend getting a larger container if you have bigger wheels to conserve polish.
- Make sure you clean your wheels with soap/water and dry them before applying the polish. This may make it easier to remove any unwanted debris on your wheels.
- For sprays, it is recommended you hold the bottle closer to the wheel when applying it to the wheel’s aluminum surface. That way, you will have more control over where you’re spraying and how much product hits your wheels.
Q: Will polishes leave a stain on concrete?
A: Yes they can, however, most stains will go away over time or can be washed away with a hose or power washer.
Q: How easy is it to remove accidental marks on tires?
A: It’s simple to remove any marks you may get on the tires. Just use a microfiber cloth to wipe it off quickly.
Q: How long does the wheel polish last?
A: This is a difficult question to answer because each polish is different. It also depends on how much driving you do and where you go. Check with the manufacturer of the product you buy to see an approximate time it lasts.
Q: Is it easy to clean off your hands?
A: Simply wash it off with soap and water and avoid touching your eyes or face. To avoid this problem, we recommended wearing gloves.
Q: Will this remove the paint from painted wheels?
A: It depends on the brand. Most polishes are safe to use on all wheel finishes, but you should check with the manufacturer before using one on painted wheels.
If you’re looking for the best aluminum polish on the market, we found Mother’s Mag & Aluminum Polish provides brilliant shine for more than just your car’s wheels.
For those who want a value on the best aluminum polish, we recommend Car Guys Premium Wheel Cleaner.