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  1. #1

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    Lightbulb Concentrated Wheel Cleaners- What`s your preference?

    Hi Autopians!

    New poster here, but veeery long time lurker. Not sure why I haven`t contributed any sooner, but here I am. Normally I post on the sister forum. I know there are some absolute detailing legends on this forum from whom I`ve learned a TON.

    Anyways, I`d like to discuss some wheel (and tire) cleaners!

    I normally use Meguiar`s D143 Non-Acid wheel and tire cleaner, diluted 1:2 , but I`ve been discovering that for really caked on wheels it just takes too much scrubbing. So I`m looking for something that can fill a similar role. Concentrated cleaners are ideal as I use a lot of product so buying a non-diluteable iron-decon type product at 60-80+ a gallon is just out of the question for wheel use. The non-acid products are preferable as they can be used on tires as well, but I also am thinking about trying an acid based product.

    Replacements I`ve been eyeing:

    P&S Chemtrol Knock Off Concentrated Wheel Cleaner, about $26/gal
    This product comes in at a pH of 11 in concentrated form. This appears to use same type of chemicals present in D143 and also Brake Buster. This product is interesting because it uses a lower pH than D143 (stated as 12.5-13.5) but it has dilution ratios of 1:8 to 1:20. This makes me wonder the effectiveness of the product, especially since Brake Buster seems to be a similar formulation but at much lower dilutions.

    Superior Products Dark Fury, ~$22/gal
    The product formerly known as RAGE. This one comes in with a pH of a whopping 14 in concentrated form. Claimed dilutions are between 1:4 and 1:10. Superior also claims this product makes for a very effective traffic film remover, but I generally leave wheel cleaners to wheel cleaner duty and have separate products for that. I`m guessing the higher solution pH would make it more effective at tire cleaning and removing blooming.

    Adam`s Wheel and Tire Cleaner, ~$32/gal
    This one is a bit more expensive, but I tried once before from a mystery bucket and got good results. However, that was undiluted. I`ve seen people claim (in the wild west of F.B.) that this product works just as good if not better than D143 at the same dilutions. It`s SDS shows a pH of 13.5 in concentrate form, so it clearly seems to have the ability to take a dilution. I`m curious how effective it really could be under dilutions of 1:2 to 1:4.

    On the acid side of things:

    3D Super Wheel Cleaner, ~$65/gal
    This product has a high buy in but dilutions of 1:8 to 1:13. Initially I thought this was going to be a similar type of product as the previous products, a high alkaline cleaner. But looking up the SDS, it is in fact a unique acid-based cleaner. In concentrate form it has a pH of 5, which doesn`t really seem that acidic at all. Vinegar and lemon juice have a pH around 2, for instance. But I looked more into the composition of it, and it is about 35% Urea and 45% hydrochloric acid. A little googling told me this is a compound called Urea Hydrochloride, and is commonly used as a tile, grout, shower and toilet cleaner. It supposedly has tremendous abilities of dissolving metallic salts and particles while being relatively safe to use with no odor or inhalation dangers. Traditional wheel acids are dangerous to handle without full PPE, so this became interesting to me. However, I don`t believe it would be an effective tire cleaner and I would need a separate product. I would possibly continue using D143 or one of the above mentioned products along side it.

    Meguiar`s D140 Wheel Brightener, ~$20/gal
    The OG that I have still never used. D143 already makes my lungs feel like death, even when used in a foamer, so it makes me a little apprehensive of this product. However it`s effectiveness is well known. Meguiar`s recommends a dilution of 1:4 for this one and the pH is 4.5 in concentrate.

    Superior Products Wire Wheel Cleaner, ~$16/gal
    There are lots of warnings on this product page to not touch it, so again makes me a little apprehensive to go with a full blown wheel acid such as this. The pH is stated as being between 0 and 1 so very acidic, very volatile compound. Stated dilutions are 1:3 for this one. I`m sure it cleans like an absolute son-of-a-gun but I also don`t want to be caught unprepared for the type of damage the acidity of this one can do to both myself and to wheels. But it`s certainly cost-effective.



    So looking at the above, the P&S seems to be the most economical, but will it really be the most effective? Has anyone tried any of these products and have a comparison of how they perform compared to D143?

    I`m curious about trying some wheel acids to cut through the horrible brake dust on some cars. Just this weekend I spent at least an hour on just the wheels of a high mileage Accord I was detailing. That car is what made me come around to this discussion and the consideration of some more effective but equally (or at least somewhat reasonable) cost effective products.

    Thanks for reading! And glad to be here!

    -Colin

  2. #2

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    Re: Concentrated Wheel Cleaners- What`s your preference?

    I didn`t even know P&S Chemtrol Knock Off existed. And as of right now I only see one review of it on YouTube. Does anyone else have experience with it?

  3. #3

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    Re: Concentrated Wheel Cleaners- What`s your preference?

    Quote Originally Posted by PoisonTheWell View Post
    I didn`t even know P&S Chemtrol Knock Off existed. And as of right now I only see one review of it on YouTube. Does anyone else have experience with it?
    Yeah, I think the Chemtrol line from P&S is relatively new. Looks like a line of super concentrated with a proportioning system similar to 3D Super Concentrate products. I`ve only seen one review on detailed image for the Knock Off. It sounds to me like a stronger Brake Buster but the SDS sheets have some differing compounds.

  4. #4

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    Re: Concentrated Wheel Cleaners- What`s your preference?

    I don`t have much to say about this topic, except this. There are really two classes of acid wheel cleaners in my mind, hydrofluoric acid (HF and ABF), and everything else. Having experience with HF industrially, it is never something that I would use outside of a controlled environment with the proper neutralization chemicals (HF requires specific neutralizing agents with calcium in them, regular bases aren`t sufficient). The idea of cleaning your wheels with D140 in your driveway and having your kids playing out there the next day is not something I like to think about. HF is a rather insidious chemical, with delayed and secondary effects, etc.

    That being said, acid wheel cleaners certainly have their place, I would just stick with the non-HF/ABF ones. Not sure if any of the others you have listed besides D140 are HF/ABF. I always liked the Valugard Wire Wheel Cleaner, but you can`t get it in the spray bottle or gallons anymore, only 5 gal.
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  5. #5
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    Concentrated Wheel Cleaners- What`s your preference?

    I switched from Meg`s wheel brightener to 3D Super Wheel Cleaner for the reason above. It works well but I don`t clean many trashed wheels. Just lots of trashed tires which need a different product.

    In general I find 3D formulates effective products with low to zero VOCs and fewer bad ingredients.

    Many of Superior Products formulas have cancer causing warnings and some have higher percentage of VOCs. You really need to use PPE with them. I find they are relatively cheap because of this. I`d rather buy a safer product with fewer warnings and fewer bad ingredients.

    If you`re working on your own cars you likely don`t need a ton of these products. Once you clean and protect the wheel and tire they both should clean up nicely with just car wash soap if you keep up with maintenance.

    I think too many people are washing wheels and tires with aggressive cleaners at every wash. That`s just not needed for basic maintenance wash.
    Likes tom p., crg001, Oneheadlite, DetailZeus liked this post

  6. #6
    DETAILED TODAY? PA DETAILER's Avatar
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    Re: Concentrated Wheel Cleaners- What`s your preference?

    https://www.autopia-carcare.com/3d-y...06-refill.html

    I have been using the 3D YELLOW DEGREASER wheel & tire cleaner. Good results. Does good on the fender wheel liners also.
    2018 Chevy Colorado ZR2
    www.autiopia.org
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  7. #7

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    Re: Concentrated Wheel Cleaners- What`s your preference?

    Quote Originally Posted by Setec Astronomy View Post
    I don`t have much to say about this topic, except this. There are really two classes of acid wheel cleaners in my mind, hydrofluoric acid (HF and ABF), and everything else. Having experience with HF industrially, it is never something that I would use outside of a controlled environment with the proper neutralization chemicals (HF requires specific neutralizing agents with calcium in them, regular bases aren`t sufficient). The idea of cleaning your wheels with D140 in your driveway and having your kids playing out there the next day is not something I like to think about. HF is a rather insidious chemical, with delayed and secondary effects, etc.

    That being said, acid wheel cleaners certainly have their place, I would just stick with the non-HF/ABF ones. Not sure if any of the others you have listed besides D140 are HF/ABF. I always liked the Valugard Wire Wheel Cleaner, but you can`t get it in the spray bottle or gallons anymore, only 5 gal.
    This is what gets me. I`m not big on the idea of using these acids that contain volatile compounds like that.

    Quote Originally Posted by dwaleke View Post
    I switched from Meg`s wheel brightener to 3D Super Wheel Cleaner for the reason above. It works well but I don`t clean many trashed wheels. Just lots of trashed tires which need a different product.

    In general I find 3D formulates effective products with low to zero VOCs and fewer bad ingredients.

    Many of Superior Products formulas have cancer causing warnings and some have higher percentage of VOCs. You really need to use PPE with them. I find they are relatively cheap because of this. I`d rather buy a safer product with fewer warnings and fewer bad ingredients.

    If you`re working on your own cars you likely don`t need a ton of these products. Once you clean and protect the wheel and tire they both should clean up nicely with just car wash soap if you keep up with maintenance.

    I think too many people are washing wheels and tires with aggressive cleaners at every wash. That`s just not needed for basic maintenance wash.
    This is why I love 3D products as well. Most of my basic cleaning chemicals come from them. I might have to try the combo of the super wheel cleaner and the yellow degreaser for trashed wheels/tires.

    These chemicals I use for customer`s vehicles as I do some detailing on weekends for extra income. Some of these haven`t been properly detailed in their entire lifetimes so I`m looking for some power when I need it. My own vehicles have the wheels ceramic coated and I just use the wash soap and maybe some iron remover for my own stuff (dang German car brake pads...)

    This Honda I was doing the other day was just awful

  8. #8

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    Re: Concentrated Wheel Cleaners- What`s your preference?

    Quote Originally Posted by PA DETAILER View Post
    https://www.autopia-carcare.com/3d-y...06-refill.html

    I have been using the 3D YELLOW DEGREASER wheel & tire cleaner. Good results. Does good on the fender wheel liners also.
    I didn`t even consider using this for wheel use. Looking at the SDS for it, it uses the same basic ingredients as the other non-acid cleaners. Might have to give this one a consideration. Thanks!

  9. #9
    DETAILED TODAY? PA DETAILER's Avatar
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    Re: Concentrated Wheel Cleaners- What`s your preference?

    Yes. It does a good job for me. I also just use soap & water on my wheels since they are coated. Have not used a wheel cleaner in years.
    2018 Chevy Colorado ZR2
    www.autiopia.org

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    Re: Concentrated Wheel Cleaners- What`s your preference?

    Superior Products Road Warrior, less than $15/gallon and is the one of the most dilute-able degreasers that I have ever used, it is also the safest wheel cleaner that I have ever used, almost the cheapest wheel cleaner that I have ever used. It’s really hard to beat, and I’ve tried almost everything that everyone has already suggested.

  11. #11

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    Re: Concentrated Wheel Cleaners- What`s your preference?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheMeanGreen View Post
    Superior Products Road Warrior, less than $15/gallon and is the one of the most dilute-able degreasers that I have ever used, it is also the safest wheel cleaner that I have ever used, almost the cheapest wheel cleaner that I have ever used. It’s really hard to beat, and I’ve tried almost everything that everyone has already suggested.
    Thanks for the suggestion, MeanGreen! This is an interesting product! Looking at the SDS for it, it has a pH level between 7.2 and 7.5. That makes it the most pH neutral of anything on this post. It`s active ingredient appears to be Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, aka EDTA.

    According to the googles, "EDTA is a chemical that binds and holds on to (chelates) minerals and metals such as chromium, iron, lead, mercury, copper, aluminum, nickel, zinc, calcium, cobalt, manganese, and magnesium." This chemical is used in medicine to rid the human body of toxic heavy metal poisoning.

    So, it looks relatively safe and it uses smart chemistry to attack the primary gunk stuck to wheels -- metals!

    I may have to give this one a shot. Have you used it on some really gunked up wheels? What dilution do you prefer to use it at?

  12. #12
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    Re: Concentrated Wheel Cleaners- What`s your preference?

    Megs wheel brighter best I have used super strong acid that foams up and rinse off easily double as my water spot remover and decon
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  13. #13
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    Re: Concentrated Wheel Cleaners- What`s your preference?

    I agree acids have a time…


    I also love 3D yellow. Cleans tires, wheels and fender wells great!! Also cheap and economical for me. I buy it in 5 gallon container.
    Thanks crg001 thanked for this post

  14. #14
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    Re: Concentrated Wheel Cleaners- What`s your preference?

    After 2 coats of FK1000p on my wheels, I don`t need to use a wheel cleaner. Just my regular Surface Wash foam, a boar`s hair brush just to agitate it a bit, and done.

    I haven`t used a dedicated wheel cleaner in over 15 years.
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  15. #15

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    Re: Concentrated Wheel Cleaners- What`s your preference?

    Quote Originally Posted by dwaleke View Post
    I switched from Meg`s wheel brightener to 3D Super Wheel Cleaner for the reason above. It works well but I don`t clean many trashed wheels. Just lots of trashed tires which need a different product.

    In general I find 3D formulates effective products with low to zero VOCs and fewer bad ingredients.

    Many of Superior Products formulas have cancer causing warnings and some have higher percentage of VOCs. You really need to use PPE with them. I find they are relatively cheap because of this. I`d rather buy a safer product with fewer warnings and fewer bad ingredients.

    If you`re working on your own cars you likely don`t need a ton of these products. Once you clean and protect the wheel and tire they both should clean up nicely with just car wash soap if you keep up with maintenance.

    I think too many people are washing wheels and tires with aggressive cleaners at every wash. That`s just not needed for basic maintenance wash.
    I`ve been meaning to try 3D`s Super Wheel Cleaner. I saw a video on the sister site where Tunch Goren (CEO of 3D I believe) emphasized safety in the formulation of his products. I think there`s a knee-jerk that all acid wheel cleaners aren`t safe but it`s my understanding you can formulate one that`s less toxic and corrosive just like you can make a non-acid wheel cleaner that`s not full of caustic (which is almost just as bad).

    But yeah if your rims are coated/LSP`d I could see how you could get by with just a strong shampoo mix or some APC in a pinch. I`m doing fine with just a bucket of shampoo on a daily that has a wheel coating (application was a real hassle tho).

 

 
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