Your hot car will not be turning any heads the right way if the aluminum parts are all muddy and in desperate need of a wash. Aluminum unfortunately is one of those metals that needs constant maintenance and care. Oxygen and other chemicals that are typically present in the environment can cause aluminum to tarnish and lose its polish. Even worse, aluminum that has been greatly neglected begins to become rough and may even require the use of sandpaper to smoothen out. Whether you opt for a method by hand or with the use of a machine, know that aluminum parts can be brought back to an almost brand-new like shine.
Safety Alert! When doing things on your own, never underestimate the importance of being aware of the need for safety. Get yourself work gloves, goggles and a mask at your local hardware store before attempting to do any cleaning alone. In addition, be mindful if you are exposing yourself to any chemicals that may prove to be irritants. And never ever work on cleaning your car without first ensuring the engine is off, the car is in park mode, and the hand brake is engaged.
How to polish the aluminum parts by hand. When cleaning aluminum parts by hand, always start by giving your car a nice hose down to wash away the dirt and grime that can be easily removed. This holds especially true when polishing the aluminum rims of your car.
If the aluminum parts are not particularly rough, then you might only need to use some aluminum polish and a clean dry rag. If you are not confident in your skill in controlling the polish, consider taping off all surfaces close to the parts you will be polishing. This includes items such as the car tires if need be. This will keep the polish and whatever other materials you use from hitting and damaging other portions of the car.
Apply a decent amount of aluminum polish to the rag and start easing the polish onto the aluminum part, spreading the polish as evenly as possible. Run the cloth back and forth across the aluminum part to bring a shine onto it. It does not matter if the cloth begins to get black. It should still be effective in bringing back an almost brand-new like sheen to your parts.
When done polishing, dry buff the part with a clean soft cloth. Run the cloth briskly but firmly against the aluminum parts to bring a brighter shine to them.
When polishing with a machine, such as a buffing wheel or cone, you should be very careful not to overdo it. Be mindful as well of where the buffing edge hits. The last thing you want is to damage other parts of your car.
Finally, remove the tape carefully and wipe off the car one last time with a clean soft cloth. Flannel, microfiber cloth or chamois are good materials to use, as they are very effective in absorbing smudges and thinning out any remaining aluminum polish.