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How to detail Pretoria wheels

Article updated by Jay Kay   10 April 2017 08:04 pm | Motoring

This is a detailed how to on how I cleaned the Mk7 Golf R DSG wheels and arches (post winter detail) as per my video. Here I explain step by step with a link to the products I use

Be prepared to put the time and effort in where detailing is concerned!

Detailing the Pretoria wheels requires taking quite a bit of care and having a lot of patience. Because these wheels are diamond cut, they are very susceptible to being chipped. Several times when detailing the rear wheel I managed to drop the locking wheel nut on the wheel, but luckily it caused no visible damage! So as I mentioned in the video, this is a step by step guide on how to detail your wheels! Bare in mind this took just over 18 hours to do, i started doing it on a Sunday afternoon and finished it by the Wednesday night.


The Kit

To start with I will list all the kit I used. These are links to the Amazon merchants I actually bought the items from, so if you click on the links and buy these items I'll get a small percentage from the sale.

1.) Kärcher K2 Full Control Home Pressure Washer

2.) Valet PRO Bilberry Wheel Cleaner (5 Litres)

3.) Valet Pro Professional Chemical Resistant Plastic Car / Motorbike Wheel Cleaning Brush

4.) Valet PRO Long Reach Wheel Brush

5.) Auto Glym Intensive Tar Remover, 325ml

6.) Auto Glym Surface Detailing Clay Kit, 5 Pieces

7.) PoorBoys Wheel Sealant 8oz (236ml)

8.) Meguiar's Tyre Dressing Applicator Pad

9.) Autoglym High Performance Tyre Gel 500ml

Further to the above, I used 6 microfiber clothes, two regular towels and three polish application pads.


The process

Now that you can see the kit involved, I will begin explaining the step by step process:

1.) The first thing you have to do is thoroughly jet wash the rims. Do this both inside (and out) and also jet wash off the tyre and the part of the rim where the rubber and rim actually meet. Have the jet wash on maximum setting but take care in avoiding the wheel weights.

2.) Get a standard brush (small scrubbing brush for example) and begin scrubbing the tyres clean with shampoo. You can use the two bucket method if you wish but I myself used only a single bucket. The aim here is to clean the entire tyre, removing all contaminants between the tyre tread, and getting the tyre as clean as possible where rubber meets rim

3.) Rinse off the tyre and rim thoroughly with water removing all traces of soapy water.

4.) Spray the rim with the alloy wheel cleaner generously. Starting with the inner of the wheel and with the wheel lay down, spray the alloy wheel cleaner from where the rubber meets rim and then down into the inner of the rim. Once you have applied the cleaner over the entire area of the wheel, get your wheel cleaning brush and gently start scrubbing away the dirt, grime and brake pad dust. Where the rubber meets rim, you might be best off using a micro fibre cloth to clean the hard to reach areas. Make sure you don't hang about at this point as you want to avoid letting the alloy wheel cleaner dry on the wheel.

5.) Turn the wheel over and repeat process 4

6.) Rinse off the tyre and rim with your jet wash set to minimum setting thoroughly and then dry the tyre and rim with a large towel. Take care in making sure the towel doesn't touch the floor and pick up grit and grime.

7.) Turning your attention back to the inner of the rim, get your tar remover and spray it on the areas where you see tar and stains. As the tar remover forms a puddle on your rim, you can roll your wheel around (keeping the tar remover on the rim) until you see the tar starting to dissolve. This might take a few minutes so keep at it and be patient. Once the tar starts dissolving, get your microfiber cloth and then gently rub the tar and stains away. Make sure you wear gloves as this stuff is highly toxic and harmful to your central nervous system.

8.) Turn the wheel over and repeat the process as best as you can on the front of the rim. You should only need to do it in the trench of the rim in-between the spoke's (as I said in the video), because I found that the clay bar easily removed all stains which were found on the actual spokes. However you might find stubborn stains in-between the spoke and the trench, so you will need to use tar remove first followed by a repeat attempt with clay bar.

Do not use clay bar with tar remover because it totally destroys clay!

9.) Although you are not instructed to on the tar remover packaging, I personally rinsed the entire wheel again thoroughly and then dried it again with the towel

10.) Turn the wheel back over again and start clay barring the entire inner rim and back of the spokes. Repeat this process until the entire rim is smooth as silk and looks clean enough to eat your dinner off. You should be able to do a bit of the trench from here too but it won't be perfect as you won't be able to see properly, but at least it helps in weakening the stubborn stains ready for when you turn the wheel over and focus on the front of the rim

11.) Buff off the inner rim and rear of the spokes with a microfiber clothe. No need to rinse off as I think the clay bar lubricant provides a layer of protection to the treated surface.

12.) Turn the wheel over and repeat the process. This is where you are going to be hard at work for a good couple if hours and least, as the brake pad dust really does dig in deep within the trenches in-between the spoke!! But after a bit of time, elbow grease and patience all contaminants will come off. It is down to how OCD you are!

13.) After clay barring and confirming that the wheel is as contaminant free as you can possibly get it, turn the wheel over and begin applying the super resin polish using any wax application pads you have. The idea is to work the polish into the wheel just like you do when you polish the paint work of the car. Cover the entire inner wheel and rear of the spokes and use the polish quite generously.

14.) Once you have covered the whole of the rear wheel, give the polish a minute or so to settle and then start buffing it off with a microfiber clothe

15.) Turn the wheel over and repeat the process for the front of the wheel

Keep an eye on your application pad for any dirt. If you spot any then it means you didn't clean the points where the rim and tyre meet thoroughly enough. Try not to use the contaminated part of the pad and do that part of the wheel last

16.) Turn the wheel over and begin applying the poor boy wheel sealant. I personally really loved the smell and feel of this stuff, and applied it generously on the entire rear of the rim including the spokes, and the trench in-between (and behind) the spokes. Once you have covered the rear of the rim, let the sealant cure for 5 to 10 minutes. It is said that if you let it dry too long then it becomes more difficult to buff off, but after 10 mins buff it off with a micro fibre clothe. This will then count as one layer of sealant

17.) Turn the wheel over and repeat the process as above. Make sure you go over the trench again so that you are applying a second layer of sealant on the trench in-between the spokes. This is because this was the most hard to clean area of the wheel in my experience, and so needs to most protection from the brake pad dust.

I applied one layer of sealant on the inner rim, front of the wheel and spoke, but applied two layers on the trench of the wheel because it needs the most protection. Feel free to apply a third layer if you wish, but the ret of the wheel certainly only needs a single layer of protection in my opinion

And there you have it! That is how I got my Pretoria's on my Mk7 Volkswagen Golf R DSG absolutely gleaming after not cleaning them since last September. Admittedly there were bits I missed, particularly near the wheel weights, but that was because I did the wheel out the in the garden using natural light. So another tip for you is to have a couple of bright lights available so that if the daylight turns dull or if it starts getting dark, you can use man made lights and are then able to review the whole wheel constantly, going over anything you have missed!