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About Wheel Coatings
Wheels can be one of the dirtiest areas of a vehicle to clean and can be quite difficult to clean as well. If there’s anything that can be done to make the task of cleaning the wheels easier, it may be worth looking into. There is a solution in fact, and that is applying a wheel coating to the surface of the wheels to make maintaining and cleaning them easier in the future.
Gtechniq makes a wheel coating called C5 Wheel Armour that not only protects wheels (and brake calipers), but also minimizes brake dust and dirt from sticking to the surface that it is applied to. A wheel coating may differ from a ceramic coating due to its ability to withstand higher temperatures—temperatures that can be seen coming from the brakes of a car. In this post, I show the preparation and application of Gtechniq C5 Wheel Armour to a set of wheels, as well as how easy it is to wash later down the road.
Tools & Materials
Gtechniq C5 Wheel Armour Wheel Coating
I chose to apply the wheel coating on only the face of the wheels as I did not want to take the wheels off of my truck. Because I only applied the coating on the face of the wheels, I only used about 15mL of the coating. Gtechniq recommends the 30mL bottle if you’re applying to the inner face & barrel of the wheel as well.
Wheel Cleaner & Wheel Brushes
Using a wheel cleaner along with wheel brushes will help you get your wheels clean so that it is properly prepped before applying the wheel coating. A clean surface will allow the coating to adequately adhere to the wheel surface, as well as ensuring the coating does not coat over any loose dirt and grime underneath. A general-use wheel brush works great for cleaning the face of the wheel and a wheel barrel brush helps you get in-between the spokes to clean the inner barrel.
After washing the wheels using wheel brushes, I like to use some microfiber towels to completely clean any areas where the wheel brushes did not get to. Using wheel cleaner on a microfiber towel with your hands ensures you can completely clean every bit of surface area of the wheel surface that you intend on applying the coating on. I recommend throwing away the used microfiber towels after using it on something as dirty as the wheels. Finally, I use a microfiber towel to buff away the applied wheel coating after its application.
How to Apply Gtechniq C5 Wheel Armour Wheel Coating
To start off, the wheels should be completely clean. I recommend using a dedicated wheel cleaner along with wheel brushes clean the entire wheel face and inner barrel. If you plan on applying the wheel coating on the face of the wheel, back of wheel, and inner barrel, then it would be best to remove the wheel.
I chose to leave the wheels on the car and to only apply the wheel coating to the face of the wheel. I still thoroughly cleaned the face as well as the inside of the wheel to ensure there would be no contaminants that might bleed onto the face of the wheel later.
After completely cleaning the wheels with Sonax Wheel Cleaner, I rinsed it down and completely dried the wheel. I then went through every wheel doing this and cleaned it even further with some of the same wheel cleaner using a microfiber towel. Working with my fingers behind the towel, I could ensure I get every nook and cranny so that I could be sure every square inch was completely cleaned.
With the wheels completely cleaned, let it sit for some time to allow it to air dry in case of any runs. With the wheels completely dried, you can now apply Gtechniq C5 Wheel Armour. I highly recommend reading through the instruction manual that comes with the product to ensure proper application.
The coating comes with a number of lint-free applicator pads. Take the wheel coating and apply some onto the first applicator pad.
Apply it over the surface of the wheel that you intend to cover. Gtechniq recommends buffing off the applied wheel coating within 30-60 seconds of application with a microfiber towel. With this in mind, you should be able to work through a certain amount of the wheel before having to start buffing it off.
Work methodically to apply the wheel coating so that you get even and consistent coverage, then buff off every 30-60 seconds as outlined in the instruction manual.
For my application, I coated the face of the wheels. My working method was to go one wheel at a time and apply the coating on face of the wheel, buff off, apply between the spokes, then buff off. I found that I could coat the face of the wheel in about 60 seconds and in between the spokes of the wheel in about the same amount of time. This worked perfectly for buffing off the product in between these steps.
Once you’ve completed coating all of your wheels, allow the wheels to completely cure without exposure to the elements for at least 12 hours. The instruction manual says to avoid the elements, but it also recommends doing this work indoors. However, not everyone has access to the indoors to apply this product (I certainly do not.) The one thing you really do want to avoid is applying this stuff when there is a chance of rain. You definitely do not want to have rain coming down during installation nor the 12 hours afterwards during the cure time.
The Ease of Washing Coated Wheels
With the wheels coated with Gtechniq C5 Wheel Armour (or any other ceramic wheel coating for that matter), you’ll find that the wheels won’t get as dirty as they would normally. When washing wheels during subsequent washing, you may not even need to use a dedicated wheel cleaner. It may be sufficient to use just a car wash soap in place of a wheel cleaner.
Having a wheel coating doesn’t mean that you don’t have to brush your wheels at all. Just like with ceramic coated paint, you can’t rely on just spraying on soap and washing it off without any sort of agitation. I still use a general wheel brush for the face of the wheel and a wheel barrel brush for the inside of the wheel whenever I wash coated wheels, but I find that car wash soap is good enough to clean coated wheels.
You’ll find that washing coated wheels doesn’t take as much effort as it does with non-coated wheels. Although coating your wheels has some small level of added protection, I find that the largest benefit is how easy it makes washing wheels later.
As you can see, coated wheels makes maintaining them much easier in the future. The most time consuming part is the preparation and coating application, especially if you fully coat the wheels which requires you to remove the wheels off the vehicle to do so. Therefore, if you are going to coat your wheels, spend the time to ensure you prep and apply the wheel coating properly as that will ensure you have a better performing and longer-lasting result.