Updated at: 20-08-2022 - By: Lucas

The appearance of your car wheels can make or break the overall appearance of your vehicle, as all gearheads know. A car’s overall appearance can be marred by rusty or unclean wheels, even if the rest of the vehicle is spotless.

There is no need to worry about your steel rims and wheels, vehicle enthusiasts, because they can be restored to their former glory with a little elbow grease and a little elbow grease.

We’ve put together a list of the best ways to remove rust from steel rims and wheels in this article. We’re confident that following our step-by-step instructions will return your rims and wheels to their former lustrous condition in no time.

Why Do Car Wheels Have Rust?

rusted wheels

The weather, road friction, heat, and oxygen all come into contact with a car’s wheels. The corrosion process known as oxidation results in the formation of rust. Rust can form as a result of the electrochemical process that occurs when oxygen, iron, and moisture come together.

Steel rims are a common and affordable option for low-end automobiles. Because steel rims are more susceptible to corrosion than aluminum rims, you’ll likely notice rust more quickly on your vehicle. Because of its higher oxidation resistance, aluminum is less likely to rust.

Rust on your car’s rims can cause expensive damage to the wheel as a whole if left unchecked. If the rust isn’t very heavy, it’s not too difficult to remove.

It is possible that you will not be able to remove the rust on your own and will be forced to hire the (expensive!) services of a professional to save the wheels from further harm.

How To Remove Rust From Steel Rims And Wheels

rusted wheels-

All of your steel wheels, whether they are covered in patches of ugly oxidation, can be cleaned by using various methods, such as pressure washing and chemical cleaners.

Have no idea where to start?

To remove rust from steel wheels and restore the shine to your car rims, here are our top three tips:

Tip 1 – Water and Scrub method

The thick and hard rust covering your steel wheels may look impossible to remove, yet in some circumstances, all you need is water to remove it.

It’s possible to remove oxidation from your wheels in a few simple steps and with minimal tools if the oxidation isn’t too serious.

Rinse the wheel and the rim thoroughly in a bucket of hot soapy water. Clean out as much debris, sand and corrosion as possible.

Rust may be removed from steel rims by using degreasing detergent and brushing the rims.

The third and last step If the rust still won’t come off after following these instructions, you may have to put in a bit extra effort. Scrub the rust with a scouring pad or wire brush while using hot water and a degreasing soap to help it separate from the steel.

In the fourth and last step, use a microfiber cloth to polish the rim once it has been thoroughly cleaned of all rust.

Tip 2 – Use safe acid-based cleaners

Rust can build up on steel wheels and rims even when hot soapy water is used to clean them. Acid-based cleaners can be used to remove stubborn rust from your wheels if you are unable to get them as clean as you would want.

Most auto parts stores sell acid cleaners, but some of them might be hazardous. Steel wheels can be safely cleaned of rust using cleaners other than the acid-based ones that employ harsh chemicals.

Homemade acid-based cleaners are the safest for your wheels. Your car’s wheels can be cleaned with white vinegar, lemons, limes or other citric acid sources.

Using a degreaser after using an acid-based cleaner like Autoglym Acid Wheel Cleaner is essential to neutralizing any acid residue left on the wheel.

Homemade Rust Removal Cleaner

The use of store-bought acid cleansers and rust removers can be dangerous for some drivers. If this sounds like you, here is a simple recipe for a DIY rust remover that works great on steel wheels and rims.

This is the first step: Spray a spray bottle with 12 ounces of white vinegar.

Step 2: Saturate the rims with vinegar by spraying it all over them.

Step 3: Using a fine-grade steel wool pad, scrub the vinegar into the rims.

Step Four More vinegar should be sprayed over the rims.

Remaining 30 minutes is all that’s required in Step 5.

Water from a yard hose can be used to wash away the vinegar and rust. Use a clean, soft cloth to thoroughly dry the rims.

Tip 3 – The Sandblaster Method

A buildup of oxidation can be extremely difficult to eliminate if left untreated for too long. If degreasers and rust removers fail to remove the rust from the steel wheels and rims, you could try sandblasting them.

A last-ditch effort to remove the paint from the rim and surrounding area should only be used if all other options have failed. You can use a sandblaster to remove rust from your car’s wheels if you don’t mind painting and refinishing the rims.

Ready for some sandblasting action?

To get rid of that unattractive rust, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Clean the rims with soapy water and a clean towel. Wipe the wheel down with a clean cloth and let it air dry completely.

Step 2: Take off the wheel rim and set it down on a flat surface in the yard. Use a huge tarp or plastic sheet to support the wheel.

Wearing goggles, a face mask, and heavy duty gloves is the third step. Take aim with the sandblaster and blast away at the rusted portions.

The sandblaster should be moved back and forth so that the sand from the nozzle may directly reach the most oxidized spots on the rims.

When the rust has peeled off the steel rim, continue blasting.

Finally, wipe the rim with hot soapy water and dry with a clean cloth to ensure that all the rust has been gone.

The paint and finish of your rims will have been stripped away by the sandblaster, and this isn’t only limited to the regions where there was rust. You’ll need to refinish the rims once they’re entirely dried and you’re satisfied with the rust removal process.


What is the best homemade rust remover?

Using a homemade rust remover instead of harsh chemicals or tools can be a good option if your goal is to avoid damaging your car’s wheels and rims by removing rust.

If you want to make your own DIY rust remover, you can find several recipes online. The most effective are those that call for salt and citrus juice, those that combine vinegar and baking soda, or those that call for a paste of tartar, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide.

Rust removal can be done at home, but the results will be affected by the level of rust on your car

How can I make my steel rims look better?

When it comes to your car’s overall appearance, your wheels play an important role. Dirty rims can do serious damage. Steel rims can be improved in a number of ways. To begin, thoroughly clean your wheels and remove any rust that may have formed.

Steel rims can be made more visually appealing by painting them. It’s up to you whether you want to go discreet with silver rims or go all out with vibrant colors like yellow or red for example.


The entire appearance of your car is greatly enhanced by having stylish wheels. Corrosion and discoloration of steel wheels can be a real problem, especially if they are not properly cared for.

There are times when it is necessary to act quickly in order to effectively remove rust from steel wheels on a vehicle.

Our top three best tips for removing rust off steel rims and wheels have been revealed in this article, and we hope this knowledge is beneficial and helps you to restore your car wheels to their original condition.