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Wheel Wax Experiment

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26
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Location
Houston
#1
I recently started an experiment, looking into the best ways to keep the wheels clean of the brake dust that the stock pads put off. I heard that wheel wax can be a great way to keep dust and dirt from sticking to painted wheels, so I decided to give it a bit of a try. In my experiment, I cleaned all four of the wheels thoroughly and applied wax to the wheels on the driver's side. I figure this way I can tell several things. First, does wax help the wheels stay cleaner for a longer period of time? Second, how does this wax stand up to the front brakes vs. the rear brakes. Lastly, once the wheels do need to be cleaned, is it any easier to clean the waxed wheels vs. non-waxed wheels.

Here are starting pictures for reference. I forgot to take starting pictures of the passenger side, but they were almost exactly the same.
IMG_1648.JPG image.jpeg

I bought some "Diamond Edge" wheel wax looks to be exactly what I needed, special wax designed to stand up to the heat and extra debris that wheels face.

First, I jacked up the drivers side and used jack stands so I could take my time cleaning without worrying about the scissor jack failing. Took off both wheels and thoroughly cleaned each, dried them, and applied the wax according to the directions on the bottle. Once they were cleaned up and waxed, I put them back on and cleaned the passenger side wheels. These ones just got my normal cleaning routine since they didn't need wax. I just reached between the spokes as best I could to get the back side and the inside of the wheel.
IMG_1650.JPG

Here are my starting pictures. For reference, these are ordered Driver Front, Driver Rear, Passenger Rear, Passenger Front.
11.JPG 21.JPG 31.JPG 41.JPG


Now that all four wheels were basically the same level of clean and the driver's side are waxed, I planned to drive as I normally do for a week or two without cleaning the wheels at all. I took pictures every few days in order to document the differences. Finally, once my wheels get too dusty to stand again, the second part of my experiment will be to see how much easier the waxed wheels are to clean compared to the wheels that I just cleaned normally.

P.S. - Here's a picture of the scissor jack that comes with the car in it's original location/orientation. It was in there a very specific way so I took a picture in order to be able to get it back the same way. Figured one of you might be able to benefit from this in the same way.
IMG_1647.JPG
 


OP
SStoST
Messages
26
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Location
Houston
Thread Starter #2
Here are the results after one week of normal driving. Actually it was only six days, including the first picture which was right after the wheels were cleaned.

Driver Front:
11.jpg
12.jpg
13.jpg
14.jpg
15.jpg
16.jpg

Passenger Front:
41.jpg
42.jpg
43.jpg
44.jpg
45.jpg
46.jpg

Driver Rear:
21.jpg
22.JPG
23.jpg
24.jpg
25.jpg
26.jpg

Passenger Rear:
31.jpg
32.jpg
33.jpg
34.jpg
35.jpg
36.jpg

As normal, the front wheels got the most dust on them rather quickly. Looks like the wax didn't really keep them much more clean really. The only real difference was that the waxed wheel seemed to dust a bit more evenly so it doesn't look so bad I guess. I'm gonna drive another week or so and see if the wax makes them any easier to clean.
 


Messages
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Location
Oconomowoc
#3
Thanks for this "experiment". I'm looking for something that isn't snake oil that will help out w/ this issue. Keep us updated.
 


Messages
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6
Location
Firth
#4
Only thing I can suggest to 'cure' it would be different pads, as much as I hate to say it. Sadly the weather has been snow or rain pretty consistently since we did the brakes on Amber's car, so we haven't been able to properly clean the wheels for a long enough period to have a good comparison, although they do seem a lot better. We plan to clean them tomorrow, so we might be able to take care of that and let you know for sure. I still believe properly bedding the pads right off the bat will make the biggest difference regardless of pad choice.
 


PhoenixM3

Active member
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Location
Colorado Springs
#6
Only thing I can suggest to 'cure' it would be different pads, as much as I hate to say it. Sadly the weather has been snow or rain pretty consistently since we did the brakes on Amber's car, so we haven't been able to properly clean the wheels for a long enough period to have a good comparison, although they do seem a lot better. We plan to clean them tomorrow, so we might be able to take care of that and let you know for sure. I still believe properly bedding the pads right off the bat will make the biggest difference regardless of pad choice.
Which pads will you go with?
 


Messages
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6
Location
Firth
#7
We went with Power Stop pads front and rear. Wife says the car stops every bit as good as it did with the factory pads.
 


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Firth
#9
We ordered everything from Rock Auto. We had originally gone with Raybestos pads, but the rears did not fit the calipers correctly, and the fronts were wrong altogether. The Power Stop pads fit perfectly all the way around.
 


OP
SStoST
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Houston
Thread Starter #10
We ordered everything from Rock Auto. We had originally gone with Raybestos pads, but the rears did not fit the calipers correctly, and the fronts were wrong altogether. The Power Stop pads fit perfectly all the way around.
New pads are definitely an option, but for now my pads still have quite a bit left on them and I'd like to keep them since they really are good pads aside from a bit more dust than I'm used to. Since I bought the car with around 32k miles on it I'm guessing they're the car's second set of pads at least.

I used carpro dlux on mine with great results, washes very easy!
I've heard that wheel sealant might be a good option for something like this as well. Not sure of the difference between wax and sealant but if the cleaning is not much easier when I get around to it I may have to go a different route.

Side Note: Has anyone else experienced way more squealing from the brakes than there should be? It's not the wear tabs because there's a ton of substance left on my pads. It only happens during light to medium braking and in the last 10 ft or so before coming to a full stop. I'm guessing it just means the pads are not bedded correctly but I don't have any long, empty roads where I can re-bed them.
 


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Location
Gilbert
#11
The different between wax and sealant is that sealant is synthetic. Wax tends to be natural made of carnauba. Sealant basically is just man made to last longer and withstand more. Some of the best waxes can last at the longest 2 months. Sealants can last 6-12 months. Some say wax looks better on painted surfaces, but that's all up to opinion.

A paint coating or "glass coating" on the other hand is something completely different. On my cars I no longer use wax or sealant. A coating gives years of protection and can last up to 5 years. It's much more heat resistant to hot brake dust so the brake dust won't penetrate. Wax melts at 180 degrees... Coatings are chemical resistant too so you can use your favorite wheel cleaners on them and you don't have to reapply it after every wash.
Coatings are pretty much the standard for protection now, and no they aren't snake oil, or I wouldn't keep putting them on all my cars.
 


Messages
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Location
Firth
#12
Side Note: Has anyone else experienced way more squealing from the brakes than there should be? It's not the wear tabs because there's a ton of substance left on my pads. It only happens during light to medium braking and in the last 10 ft or so before coming to a full stop. I'm guessing it just means the pads are not bedded correctly but I don't have any long, empty roads where I can re-bed them.
Bedding would be my guess as well. Even if you did have a good place to do it, you'd need to get the rotors cleaned first too. Not necessarily turned, but deglazed. I've had success using a die grinder with a red twist-loc pad, or even doing it by hand with a red scotch pad. This alone may cure your squeaks. While you've got it apart, be sure to clean all the clips and caliper cradles with a wire tooth brush, and the backs and edges of the pads themselves where they ride on the cradles. Then put a smear of good quality caliper grease on all those surfaces.
 


OP
SStoST
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Location
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Thread Starter #13
After two weeks of driving around without cleaning, here's how the wheels looked.

Left Front (wax), Right Front (no wax), Left Rear (wax), Right Rear (no wax)
FL.jpg FR.jpg RL.jpg RR.jpg

As you can see, there's not really too much of a difference between either side. Both are pretty much equally covered in dust. So all that was really left was to see if the wax made it any easier to clean.

*A bit of a disclaimer here, when cleaning the right front wheel (no wax), I noticed that the axle must be slinging grease because the inside of that wheel had some grease inside it. I've already set up an appointment to have it checked out/fixed by the dealer. I need them to check on a few other things anyways...

Because of the grease, I'll be excluding the inside of the rims when I consider how it was to clean each wheel. Obviously, the inside of the right front wheel was tough to clean because of all the grease. Also, the right front was the last wheel I cleaned so my greasy sponge didn't affect how easy it was to clean the other wheels. I did notice that the waxed wheels were slightly easier to clean in general. Wiping them down with a wet sponge seemed to get the dust right off while the face of the non-waxed wheels took a bit more scrubbing to get them clean.

Cleaned Left Front (wax), Cleaned Right Front (no wax, grease inside wheel)
Clean Driver.jpg Clean Passenger.jpg

Since the results are probably a bit off due to the grease situation, I may need to keep at this. Once the dealership fixes the axle boot or whatever is slinging grease I'll probably start this process back up. I just wanted to get round one of this process done with today, before they do their thing at the dealership.

As of now, here are my results:
  • Wheel wax is pretty easy to apply. It's just a bit of a process taking the wheels off to get the inside. (Maybe several layers would help with doing this less frequently)
  • The wheel wax I used did not seem to prevent dust from accumulating. Both sides had about the same amount of dust building at the same rate each day.
  • The wheel wax I used did make it a bit easier to clean the wheels when the time comes. I had a good amount of grease on the inside of the un-waxed front wheel. This messed up my test a little bit so I only considered how easy it was to clean the face of each wheel.
 


Intuit

2000 Post Club
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#14
P.S. - Here's a picture of the scissor jack that comes with the car in it's original location/orientation. It was in there a very specific way so I took a picture in order to be able to get it back the same way. Figured one of you might be able to benefit from this in the same way.
1615513805186.png
Thanks for posting this.

Anyone have a photo of it installed? Dealer removed and never did put it back right. Another issue is, that plastic filler-neck (not photographed) is cracked-up. Is this common or did they manage to do that too?
 


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