10 rim cleaners in the test

Dino Eisele
10 rim cleaners tested
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S chic alloy wheels are an eye-catcher on every car - if they are clean. Over time, however, salt, road dirt and brake dust stick to the wheels and make them unsightly. In particular, the ferrous components of the brake abrasion can seize into the protective paint on the wheels. While some of the dirt can still be dealt with with clear water, the brake dust remains stubborn. Coarse methods such as cleaning with steel wool or scouring sponges are no solution: the protective rim paint becomes dull or damaged, and the bare metal is threatened with corrosion. The same applies to acidic cleaning products: If they penetrate into possible cracks in the paintwork or scratches on the rim, this can also lead to unsightly corrosion damage.

Careful cleaning of noble wheels is promised by acid-free rim cleaners. Cleaners with a pH value between five and nine are considered acid-free. The corrosive effect should also be largely uncritical for human skin in this area.

All rim cleaners in the test acid-free

The Car-Fit rim cleaner from Norma and comes from supermarket shelves the good & cheap cleaner from Edeka. The wheel cleaners from Armor All, Dr. Wack, Ernst, Kärcher, Nigrin, RS 1000, Sonax and Tuga. All rim cleaners are acid-free. The test with indicator paper proves: everything is OK. Only in the case of Armor-All cleaning foam that is not explicitly labeled as acid-free does the test strip turn dark blue. The agent does not contain any acid, but it is highly alkaline, which is equivalent to the corrosive effect of an acid. The labeling of the spray can is somewhat misleading: While the majority of cleaners have at least the warning exclamation mark for 'harmful to health' or the 'X' for 'irritating', Armor All restricts itself to the flame symbol for 'flammable'. There is no warning 'X'.

Are the largely neutral rim cleaners also gentle on the rim in practice? We wanted to know more about that and let them act on various metals (steel, chrome and aluminum) as well as seven different plastics (including the spoiler material ABS or the polycarbonate used for headlights and indicator glasses) in the Dekra laboratory. Also on the rubber of tires and tire valves, on four different car paints and ultimately onThe rim cleaners were checked for their material compatibility on various rims. The result after a contact time of 24 hours at room temperature and 24 hours at 50 degrees Celsius: none of the neutral wheel cleaners caused lasting damage to the material surfaces. In extreme cases, it was only discoloration or matting that, depending on the scope, led to a point deduction in terms of material compatibility.

All cleaners protect material

With the exception of the alkaline Armor All, all rim cleaners are used very material-friendly recipe. Does this have negative effects on cleaning performance? The top products in the test impressively prove that this does not have to be the case: spray the rim cleaner, let it work according to the manufacturer's instructions, and rinse off with a sharp water jet. Finished. The exposure time is specified either by a time stamp on the spray bottle or by the change in color of the practical action indicators. A clear red coloration of the rim cleaner indicates when to rinse with water. In terms of cleaning effectiveness, the most important test criterion, the Evo-Tec cleaner from Nigrin in particular delivers a sparkling clean result. The treated rim segment only showed light fragments of dirt, which could be easily removed with a sponge.

Nigrin rim cleaner wins test

This secures the rim cleaner Nigrin Evo Tec the test victory. The wheel cleaner follows Sonax Xtreme plus with minimal cutbacks in cleaning performance. Only a little more dirt remained with the rim cleaner Alu-Teufel von Tuga adhere, the predicate 'very recommendable' is ultimately secured by the product because of its very good material compatibility. With slight deficits in cleaning, the P21S cleaner from Dr. Wack just missed the top grade. The 3-in-1 rim cleaner from Kärcher, which is also suitable for motorbikes, the Car-Fit cleaner from Norma and the power rim cleaner from Ernst are good and therefore also recommended. The RS-1000 cleaner as well as the cheap, but not really convincing rim cleaner of the Edeka chain only in a 'conditionally recommended'. The bottom of the test is the alkaline Armor All cleaning foam, which, in view of the strong competition, cannot score points in terms of cleaning or material compatibility.

Proper handling is essential

It is pleasing that none of the rim cleaners tested, when used properlycauses significant damage to the car's wheel, tire or plastic parts. This means that nothing stands in the way of regular use, as brake dust can be effectively prevented from burning in.

However, some basic rules should be observed when cleaning rims: Protect your skin and eyes with disposable gloves and protective goggles , never spray the rim cleaner on hot rims and always rinse the rims with a sharp jet and plenty of water. Long-lasting cleaning agent residues could lead to late damage despite all the proven compatibility.

This is how testing was carried out

The tests of the rim cleaners were carried out repeatedly on several rims that were soiled by driving for better comparability. The manufacturer's specifications (time or color change) were taken into account for the exposure time. The cleaning performance was assessed subjectively through direct comparison. The material compatibility with various metals, paints, plastics and rubber products was carried out on our behalf by the Dekra Laboratory for Environmental and Product Analysis. The cleaning effect was 50 percent, the handling (ease of use, smell, spray equipment, tightness) 20 and the material compatibility 30 percent in the overall rating.


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