Best Alloy Wheel Wax: The Ultimate Guide
My search to find the best alloy wheel wax for my car has taken me on a journey that I didn’t think possible. There are so many products that you can choose from, most with highly varying results.
You see, the wheels are the dirtiest part of the car and often the hardest place to keep clean. So, when looking for the best alloy wheel wax I was keen to find a product that:
- Is easy to apply to fiddly-designed alloy wheels
- Made maintenance washing a doddle
- Gave a bit of “pop” to the wheels once clean
- Was going to last
Waxing the wheels might seem excessive for some people. But if you want to keep the wheels on your vehicle sparkling clean and looking good as new, a wash routine is not going to be enough.
In the same way that waxes are beneficial to paint, regular application of wheel wax will protect those precious alloy rims while giving it a sleek shine!
Finding the best wheel wax has been somewhat of a tougher task than I had first imagined. There are a lot of products out there that simply don’t work. I talk later about the differences between waxes and sealants, and also which is best, coming to an interesting conclusion.
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Best Alloy Wheel Wax – Top 4
Here is a look at what I think is the best alloy wheel wax on the market right now:
1) Poorboy’s Wheel Sealant
Sealants are formulated in a different way than waxes. Sealants are designed to chemically bond with the molecules in the surface. Unlike wax that only sits on the surface, the curing property of sealants enables them to provide a more durable layer of protection against dirt and environmental pollutants. With this in mind, the best wheel sealant I tested would have to be the Poorboy’s World Wheel Sealant.
This product will literally seal the surface of the alloy wheels to offer outstanding protection. It also makes the wheels easier to clean with just a single application. The dirt and brake dust will simply slide off the wheels with a short blast of pressurised water!
The Poorboy’s Wheel Sealant is also easy to apply. It has a creamy consistency that won’t drip or splatter when applied. Wiping off the dried haze will take a bit more effort than usual, but a little elbow grease won’t hurt to bring out a nice and even shine.
Similar to the Collinite 845, the Poorboy’s World Wheel Sealant is formulated to offer longer-lasting protection. Depending on prevailing weather conditions and frequency of use, I found that the Poorboy’s Wheel Sealant can offer many months of protection against brake dust. It also comes at a friendly price that should be in everyone’s detailing budget.
2) Collinite 845
The Collinite 845 Liquid Insulator Wax comes at a close second place to the Swissvax Autobahn. The Collinite is a carnauba-based liquid wax that acts as a sealant. When applied to paint, it can deliver a bright and glossy shine (especially on black cars) with the longevity of a synthetic-based sealant.
The brand has been making inexpensive and high-quality detailing products since 1912. Collinite 845 is not a wheel wax per se, but it happens to perform quite well when applied to alloy or aluminium wheels. A single coat of this fine product will shield your wheels from dirt, brake dust, and other harmful contaminants.
What I really like about the Collinite 845 is the price. It is one of the cheapest car waxes you can buy. It can deliver the quality and pristine finish of more expensive brands without burning a gaping hole in your pocket.
The Collinite 845 Liquid Insulator Wax is easy to apply by hand or machine. You only need a little of this product to go a long way. Simply apply a thin coat of the wax over a clean and dry surface, allow the wax to dry to a haze, and buff lightly using a microfiber towel.
This wax offers a solid layer of protection that can last for many months, even when the wheels are constantly exposed to excess heat, UV, and harsh weather. I found the finish to be smooth and shiny, but it wasn’t as intense or glossy as I had expected, given results of the product on paint.
For a durable wax that is ideal for all painted or smooth surfaces, it is hard to ignore the Collinite 845.
3) Smartwax 10100 Rim Wax by Chemical Guys
For all intents and purposes, the Smartwax 10100 Rim Wax is not an abrasive polish similar to polishing products for paint. It just happens to provide a stronger cleaning action that can easily remove bonded brake dust, asphalt, road grime, and corrosion from alloy wheels.
The Smartwax 10100 Rim Wax is a professional wheel cleaner and sealant. It is designed to work on all types of alloy or aluminum wheels. It is also ideal for all metal or chrome surfaces, such as exhaust tips.
The unique formula is strong enough to remove thick asphalt, tar, and brake dust without harming or scratching the finish. It also leaves a clear layer of anti-static protection to seal the metal from further contamination.
But similar to other two-in-one auto detailing products, there’s a caveat. The Smartwax 10100 Rim Wax is great as a cleaner, but it doesn’t last as long as the other products in this test when it comes to protection. I also found out that multiple applications are required in order to elevate the levels of protection. If your wheels are extremely dirty and mucky, the Smartwax 10100 Rim Wax is one of the best choices. It may not offer lasting protection such as the Collinite 845 and Poorboy’s, but it can still bring out a brilliant shine with two or three coats of the product.
The Smartwax 10100 applies easily and dries to a haze in a couple of minutes. The residue is a bit tricky to remove and will require a bit more buffing. You will also need to apply multiple coats to achieve a cleaner and shinier finish.
4) Swissvax Autobahn
I’ll give it to you straight. There are a ton of wheel waxes in the market, but the best I’ve used so far is the Swissvax Autobahn.
This product is created using a unique and revolutionary blend of pure Brazilian carnauba wax and non-stick PTFE. Yes, this wheel wax is developed using polytetrafluoroethylene (the same polymer utilised in non-stick cookware) to create an ultra-slick surface that repels dirt, asphalt, tar, and brake dust.
- Specially developed for alloy wheels
- Safe to use on painted, magnesium, clear coat, aluminium, and polished aluminum wheels
- Extended shine and protection against brake dust and other road elements
- Coats the alloy with a glossy barrier to make the wheels easier to clean
- Easy to apply
However, there’s a slight problem. The Swissvax Autobahn Wheel Wax is pricier than other products I’ve tested.
It comes in a large 200ml jar though, with enough wax to last approximately 45 or so applications. But unlike other liquid wheel waxes, the smooth and creamy consistency of the Swissvax makes it easier to apply. It dries to a haze quickly and is easy to buff out.
Those dirty and unattractive alloy wheels will transform into works of art with a single coat of the Swissvax Autobahn. I’ve mentioned other Siwssvax products previously and even though they are at the top end of the market when it comes to price, in terms of quality, this just can’t be beaten when it comes to the best alloy wheel wax.
The Characteristics of a Good Wheel Wax
The things I look for in a wheel wax are aplenty. The wax should be easy to apply and remove without leaving tons of residue. It also helps if the wax will buff out cleanly without leaving haze or streaks. But, the primary factor that makes a particular wheel wax great is the shine and protection.
In other words, a wheel wax will rank the highest if:
- It leaves a durable coat that can withstand heat, rain, and snow.
- It makes the wheels easier to clean even when covered with dirt and mud.
- The product should be easy to apply with minimal buffing required.
It wouldn’t hurt if the product is easy on the pocket as well. But as with all auto detailing products, the price is usually an indication of quality.
Not all of them are made the same, so I’ve tested a variety of wheel waxes to come up with a winner. The Swissvax Autobahn might be costlier than the other products I tested, but you get your money’s worth in terms of shine, protection, and ease of application.
Whilst products from the likes of Swissvax can seem (and are) expensive, they actually last a long time. You’re getting a lot for your money and when broken down in terms of cost per application, actually works out decent value.
What is a wheel wax?
A wheel wax is a wax designed to clean and protect the wheels on your vehicle. The wheels are among the dirtiest and filthiest part of your vehicle. It requires regular cleaning to easily remove accumulated brake dust and road grime with minimal effort.
But cleaning the wheels with soapy water and a decent wheel cleaner can only get you so far in terms of long-term protection. Regular application of a high-quality wheel wax will not only preserve the glossy appearance of alloy wheels, but it will also protect the metal from severe contamination, making them easier to clean the next time you wash the vehicle.
What’s the difference between wheel wax and sealants?
Wheel waxes are formulated and derived from natural ingredients such as carnauba wax, essential oils, and colourants. The wax will leave a sacrificial layer or protection in the surface of the metal to offer excellent protection against environmental and chemical pollutants. However, waxes are not as durable and will require a frequent application to maintain the desired level of protection.
On the other hand, sealants are formulated from synthetic materials and can come in many forms such as silica-based sealants, ceramic coatings, or silicon dioxide. Instead of just leaving a layer of protection on the metal, the unique formula of sealants enables them to bond with the surface on a molecular level. It is this characteristic that enables sealants to last longer than regular wax.
- Wax will give better aesthetics than a sealant
- Generally cheaper to buy
- Should offer more value for money in that a product will last longer
- Not as durable as a sealant
- Often harder to apply and remove
- Arguably don’t perform as well
How long will a wheel wax last?
It all depends on a variety of factors such as the type of wheel wax, the length of exposure, and prevailing weather conditions. A regular wheel wax can offer many weeks or months of protection. Synthetic-based sealants can last longer than an ordinary wheel wax. Some sealants can offer up to 5 months of protection, but it all depends on the formulation of the product.
How do I apply wheel wax?
Applying wheel wax is pretty similar to applying wax on automotive paint. It is always best to start with a cool and clean surface. Whether using regular wheel wax or sealant, it is imperative to remove excess dirt and grime from the surface of the wheels prior to applying wax.
- Step 1: Clean the wheels thoroughly. This will require a dedicated wheel cleaner, wheel woolies and a wheel wash mitt. A clean surface is paramount to getting the best result from your wheel wax or sealant.
- Step 2: Using a clean applicator pad, pour or dab a small amount of wheel wax and apply directly over the wheels. Remember that less is more. Using too much of the product will not necessarily equate to a better shine or longer protection.
- Step 3: Allow the wax to dry to a fine haze. Depending on the ambient temperature, the wax should dry in approximately 3 to 7 minutes.
- Step 4: Wipe off the haze using a dry microfiber cloth. Turn the cloth over and buff the wheels lightly to a glossy shine.
- Step 5: Repeat the procedure at least once a month to maintain the clean and glossy appearance of the wheels. You can also layer up the wax to create an even stronger level of protection.
Are there certain wheel waxes that I should avoid?
Yes. It is best to stay away from wheel waxes that contain mild abrasives. Using this type of product on your gorgeous alloy wheels might introduce fine scratches on polished surfaces, leaving an ugly and marred finish that might be tricky to restore. In order to be sure, only use the best wheel waxes that are specifically intended for cleaning and protecting alloy wheels.