If you notice rust on your tire rims, you must quickly get rid of it because rust spreads and eats its way through the metal if they remain on metals. Rust makes metal much more fragile, so it weakens the structure of your rims and can end up causing irreversible damage.
Luckily, if you have rust on your rims and want to know how to get rust off tire rims, this article is for you! Today, we’ll walk you through a brief guide with all the necessary steps to get the job done. So without further ado, let’s dive in!
The Short Answer
To get the rust off the rims, you’ll need to scrub them off using a hard bristle brush or try chemical rust removers like Evapo-Rust ER004 for more stubborn and deeper rust.
Remember to thoroughly check the rims one each step and assess how deep the rust is. For your safety, if the rust is deep enough that it affects the integrity of the rims, you should ditch it for a new one altogether.
A Step by Step Guide to Get the Rust off Your Tire Rims
Step 1: Find out the Type of Your Tire Rims
The first thing you should know about rust is that it spreads deep into the rims if they’re allowed to.
In other words, if you haven’t been checking the tire rims for quite a while, there might be a chance that the rust has spread too far into the rims that it renders it unfixable. In that case, it’d be better and safer for you to get rid of the tire rim and buy a new one.
Additionally, you should check out the type of material that your rim is made of. Ideally, this guide applies to steel and true chrome rims.
If you have a chrome-painted rim, the abrasive materials used in the guide will scrape it right off, so you might need to reapply that coat after your rim is ready.
Step 2: Gather Your Tools and Equipment
Once you’re settled on the type of rims you have, it’s time to gather all the tools, cleaners, and other equipment before you start.
Removing rust off any metal object is a pretty straightforward task but it requires some elbow grease and energy, so it would be wiser to have all the materials and tools at hand without having to go back and forth.
Ideally, you’ll need the following items:
- A small bucket filled with a mixture of water and mild soap
- Some unused or clean lint-free rags
- A brush with stiff bristles
- Wire brush
- Rubbing alcohol
- Lime and salt (optional)
- A chemical rust remover. Any kind would do, but we recommend Evapo-Rust ER004 Rust Remover because it’s highly effective and nontoxic.
- Rust neutralizer (optional)
- Clear sealant and Rust-proof paint (optional)
- Gloves, Safety goggles, and a Face mask to protect yourself from suspended rust filings
Step 3: Clean the Tire Rims
Before you remove the rust on the rims, you have to get rid of any dirt parts and debris that will make the job more tedious and time-consuming.
Start by cleaning the rims using the soapy solution and the stiff bristle. Brush the rim from all visible sides
When there’s no sign of dirt left, leave the rim to dry completely before wiping them off with some rubbing alcohol. Together with the soap, this step should ensure that any undissolved grime is taken care of.
If you want to know even more about rim and wheel cleaning process, visit our next blog – How to Clean Wheels and Tires.
Step 4: Physically Scrub off Most of the Rust off
Remove the large chunks of rust using the wire brush by scrubbing the rusted area off. Use the lint-free towel to wipe the brushed rust off and check your progress and know where to go next, as you don’t want to damage or scrape off intact steel parts.
Adjust your hand pressure to suit the level of rust damage. If the rust looks too severe, go for a stiffer brush or apply some lime and salt on the bristles.
Step 5: Apply Chemical Rust Removers
If the previous step was enough to get rid of the dust, skip to the final step. However, if the rust persists or is too deep, you might want to use an oxalic and phosphoric acid-based rust remover.
Follow the instructions that come with the rust remover. Generally, you’ll apply a coat of the chemical and let it sit for a while, then come back for some additional scrubbing.
If you’re planning on polishing and painting the new tire rims, you might want to try out a rust converter, which comes in a form of spray paint, adding an even coat over the rim to allow you to paint it on.
Remember not to use such chemical substances to clean white lettering on tires since they might remove white paint completely. Chemical substances are mainly used to get dirt off metal parts, for example, to clean brake rotors without removing a wheel. They are also recommended for cleaning tire tracks from concrete.
Step 6: Prevent the Rust from Coming Back
Now that you’ve removed all visible rims and restored the rims back to their original shape, it’s essential that you protect them from rusting again.
Since it would be impractical to wipe the rims off every time they get wet, applying a protective coat of paint would be a more suitable idea.
Wipe the rims clean with the alcohol once again then apply a light coat of the sealant. After that, let it dry up, then give it a coating layer of paint for both aesthetics and protection.
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There you have it! A complete guide that shows you how to get the rust off tire rims using simple steps that you can do on your own.