I have to say, despite previous articles, I’m not massively into cleaning cars. In fact, the Land Rover has been cleaned once in 18 months. But I am in the habit of changing wheels, either rotating tyre position or changing out whole sets. What amazes me is how filthy the inside of an alloy wheel can get. Levels of grime that must throw out balance and get me filthy. My solution, Purple Rain wheel cleaner.
I’m not sure how long this level of filth has taken to build up. I don’t remember having cleaned the wheels in the past, and I’ve had them since the early 2000s. It’s a pretty heavy build-up, probably safe to say millimetres in places. I’m not looking to get them sparkly clean, but I reckon I’ll end up shedding a few grams of grime off here.
Cheating with Purple Rain
Ok, I’m lazy when it comes to washing cars. To get these rims perfectly sparkly, I could spend a few days soaking, scrubbing, and pressure washing. But that’s not what I’m going to do. I’m going to cheat. And on this occasion, without an angle grinder. I’m going to use Autobrite Purple Rain.
I’m specifically using Purple Rain 2.0, an older version of this chemical wonder, but it’s what I have to hand. The Autobrite sales pitch states;
Purple rain 2.0 is an enhanced new formula ph-balanced iron remover/cleaner designed to dissolve brake dust and iron contaminants upon contact
Well, whatever is in Purple Rain, and however it works chemically, I find it works wonders as a wheel cleaner. It also stinks.
Application of Purple Rain
The process is pretty simple. Wet the wheel. Spray it on and leave it for a bit. The reason it’s called purple rain is the colour change that occurs as it reacts with the dirt. Not the best picture (it was getting dark), but it goes really, really purple.
A bit of a scrub helps for heavy build-up. I bet the bottle says ‘agitate’ I use this natural bristle brush. Did I mention how much this stuff stinks? Eye protection is probably a smart move. Use it outside, and probably keep it out of waterways. Then simply leave it. In this case, I’m racing to beat the night closing in, probably left to soak for 10 minutes. Maybe 7.
Finally, rinse it off. Really, really rinse it, or you’ll notice the smell every time you walk past the car. For a total of 15 minutes a wheel, the results are fabulous in as much as the wheel is much cleaner, and I didn’t put much effort in. All four wheels took less than 45 minutes to clean.
Back on the car
Since I’m ‘cleaning’, I thought I better finish off the job. Wheel Bolts were cleaned using a wire brush head in a pillar drill. The mating face on each hub (brake discs) also receives a smear of copper slip.
And, after torquing the bolts, she’s back on her (nearly) factory fit wheels, despite only having the newish alloy wheels on for a few weeks.
Despite using Purple Rain for wheel cleaning, there isn’t much obvious difference from this side of the car. But for me, I know the wheels are much cleaner and probably lighter. I’ll have to remember to do it again in another 20 years!