Do Alloy Wheels Rust?

It’s a question that gets asked often, but the answer isn’t a simple one. Technically, alloy wheels don’t actually rust. They can corrode, but it’s not the same as rusting, as instead of the brownish hue you get when rust sets in you get white marks instead. Alloy stock wheels are created with a polished and protective finish which is designed to prevent the wheels from corroding at all. Sometimes, it’s inevitable and corrosion will get through and the alloy gets slightly damaged, but you don’t have to worry too much; you can get the wheels looking like new again and the rust can be removed easily.

There are rust removers on the market that are safe to be used on alloy wheels, and if you find the right products and read the containers, you can get the right products that are designed to work with alloy materials. Follow the instructions for the product to ensure that you are using it correctly, allowing the chemical to sit in the rusted area for a period of time before removal. Then follow these steps:

  • Scrub the areas that have rusted with a nylon scrubber, as in many cases this will be enough to remove the white spots of rust that have appeared. You have to remember that you’re not looking for the usual rust on your alloy wheels, as you need to look for the white material that make it obvious that there is a type of corrosion present.
  • Use a steel wool scrubber to scrub at the rest of the rusted areas, and keep going until the area is smooth and the rust spots have disappeared.
  • Get all the spots around lug nuts and any holes in the middle, but don’t scrub too hard with the steel wool, as alloy is a softer metal than most. You could cause some deep – and expensive – scratches that you won’t want to have to pay to repair.
  • Rinse the wheels, to get rid of any of the rust particles that have been scrubbed away. The water won’t rust it over again, don’t worry.
  • You can also use soap and sponges with warm water to clean the wheels properly and double check for any other white rust stains on the alloy. If you do see anymore, then use a wheel cleaner to get rid of the rest.
  • Once the wheels have been rinsed, allow them to dry out thoroughly before taking the next step.
  • Use a wheel polish or wax to get the alloy shining right up.

Alloy wheels can corrode, and they can leak air in the same way that the steel ones do. So, to answer the question, you won’t see red or brown rust on the alloy wheels, but you may see white rust stains that indicate corrosion in the alloy. Always keep a vigilant eye on the wheels, because white rust stains are not something to ignore. Once you see it, follow the steps above and get it cleaned up correctly.

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