The art of cleaning wheels without touching them: Liqui Moly Rim Cleaner

So that's what Purple Rain was about

4w ago
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We talk about cleaning cars a lot here at DriveTribe – and if we're completely honest, we mostly love products when they make our lives easy.

When Liqui Moly asked us to try their Special Rim Cleaner, we had visions of spending at least half our weekend with brake dust embedded in our hands.

Cleaning wheels is usually about as fun as kneeling down for an hour jamming a flimsy brush into intricate metal holes. Because that's what it usually entails. But the beauty of the Liqui Moly Rim Cleaner is that you don't *have* to do any scrubbing.

Anyway, here's how to use Liqui Moly's Special Rim Cleaner (or Felgenreiniger Spezial mit Schmutzindikator) if you're being all sexy and German. It's such a great language.

Spray it on your wheels

A few things first: Liqui Moly recommends that you don't use the Special Rim Cleaner in direct sunlight, on a hot day or on hot brakes/wheels. So it's best to use this before your Sunday morning blast, not after.

Then it's a case of spraying it onto your wheels. Observe how:

The bottle has an ingenious safety catch that folds away when you're using it

The bottle has an ingenious safety catch that folds away when you're using it

Then wait for five minutes for it to work.

Yes, I managed to take this photo two seconds after starting the timer. I'm quick, me

Yes, I managed to take this photo two seconds after starting the timer. I'm quick, me

After a minute or so you'll notice the Rim Cleaner turning a delicious shade of violet – this shows that it's starting to chemically remove the brake dust and filth from your wheel. At this point you may start singing Prince's Purple Rain.

This is such a satisfying sight – all that purple is your wheel's filth being removed by clever chemicals

This is such a satisfying sight – all that purple is your wheel's filth being removed by clever chemicals

Liqui Moly then recommends blasting the Rim Cleaner off using a strong jet of water. Being a terraced-house peasant, I don't have a hose – so I just used a watering can full of water and doused my Octavia vRS's wheel.

Ideally you blast the cleaner off with a hose – I used a watering can and it worked just fine

Ideally you blast the cleaner off with a hose – I used a watering can and it worked just fine

Note that at no point did I touch the car myself – not with a brush, nor a cloth. I wanted to see how the Rim Cleaner worked without any aggravation. Naturally for more stubborn stains you could then attack the wheel again, working the cleaner in with a brush. But I'm lazy and didn't.

Would my lazy hands-free approach to wheel washing work?

You tell me.

Here's the before shot.

Before: 1,000 miles of brake dust and general filth from driving in a British summer (aka a monsoon season)

Before: 1,000 miles of brake dust and general filth from driving in a British summer (aka a monsoon season)

And here's what six minutes of spraying, standing around, then rinsing looks like. At no point did I break a sweat or curse my old knees.

After: sharp, shiny and 100 times better than before

After: sharp, shiny and 100 times better than before

Pretty impressive, huh?

Honestly, I was giggling out loud in my street. My neighbours probably think the car man has gone a bit mad. But genuinely, how clean is that wheel considering I didn't touch it?

Sure, there are a few little bits I missed – but a quick wipe with a cloth or brush would remove them immediately – I was very committed to not touching my rim.

So there you have it…

This is the good stuff – available online or in a retailer or workshop near you

This is the good stuff – available online or in a retailer or workshop near you

I've not a clue how this part-time purple magic juice works, but it does. And I've since realised how much better cars look with clean wheels – and since it only takes five minutes, I have no excuses for letting press cars fester outside my house with dirty shoes…

Try it for yourself

You can grab Liqui Moly's Special Rim Cleaner online or from a workshop or retailer – use Liqui Moly's resource finder to locate your nearest stockist.

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Comments (2)

  • I know many many detailers who use acid based wheel cleaners with similar caveats about hot wheels and avoiding the sun. Those products etched the wheels if directions weren't followed explicitly.

    Does this product use acid?

      28 days ago
    • Hey Peter – we've checked with Liqui Moly and it is acid free. Liqui Moly does recommend you don't use it on hot rims or in direct sunlight though.

        26 days ago
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