(Author’ note:  This is Part II of a three-part series on Wheel and Tire Care.)

As mentioned in the previous blog submission, clean wheels can greatly enhance the appearance of a vehicle.  Unsightly and damaging brake dust build-up can be prevented through proper wheel care, including regular washing as well as application of protective products that help repel brake dust and other grime.

Brake dust, of course, comes from the particles that abrade off the brake pads every time the vehicle braking system is engaged during normal driving.  The resulting brownish-red coating that builds up between washes, if not removed regularly, can etch into the surface of the wheel.  In extreme cases of neglect, etching can lead to permanent damage.

Although it is impossible to prevent your wheels from becoming dirty, regular wheel cleaning including the proper chemicals, brushes, and procedures, will go a long way to preventing build-up, with the added benefit of always having great looking wheels and tires.

The specifics of proper wheel cleaning, including the items that are needed, were discussed at length in the previous blog submission entitled “Wheel and Tire Care, Part I”.  In this blog entry, let’s talk about finishing up the freshly cleaned and rinsed wheels and tires.

Shiny and Protected

Most factory wheels are painted or powder coated, which for our purposes can be treated like vehicle paint.  Brake dust and other grime will be partially repelled by following up the cleaning with an application of a product with ingredients that are designed to protect paint.  This extra step will make next week’s wheel cleaning easier, as well as adding to the overall appearance of the wheels.

There are several options from the Proje Premium Car Care line.  For a quick wipe-and-shine of the cleaned wheels, any of the Proje spray-and-wipe paint protection products will work great.  These include SiO2 Quick Coat, Show Shine, Express Spray Wax, and Surge Quick Detailer.  The choice of which product to use will be mostly one of personal preference (or, perhaps whichever one you happen to already have on hand). 

However, there are some differences in the amount of protection provided.  For example, Express Spray Wax will offer a week or two of carnauba-type protection, and wipes off extremely quickly.  Surge Quick Detailer is similar in performance, but also offers anti-static properties.  On the other hand, SiO2 Quick Coat and Show Shine contain more durable nano-ceramic ingredients, that may offer a stronger and more durable barrier to brake dust and grime.

Regardless of the spray-and-wipe product you choose, follow the directions on the label for proper use.  Some perform better if they are allowed to dwell for a moment on the surface before wiping off.  Also, you may want to lightly mist the freshly-cleaned inner barrels with the spray protection.  It is not necessary to wipe off the product, and is often nearly impossible to do so, but the simple act of misting some product in the barrel surface will help keep brake dust from sticking between washes.

Taking Wheel Protection to the Next Level

Painted wheels, if in great condition, can also be protected on a more permanent basis by using Proje’s 9H Ceramic Coating and standard Ceramic Coating.  Follow the directions on proper application, just as you would if applying these products to the painted main body of the vehicle.  Remember that a ceramic coating needs several days of zero exposure to water, so take this into consideration if you are planning on ceramic-coating your wheels.

Once the wheels are properly coated with ceramic, you will find that regular wheel cleaning and maintenance is a breeze.  Although the wheels are already coated with the premium protection of a Proje ceramic coating, always follow up normal washing with one of Proje’s spray-and-wipe protective products mentioned above, which will boost the longevity of the ceramic coating, as well as keep the wheels looking shiny.

Tire Dressing

Tires that are properly cleaned certainly look better than those that are left with brake dust and grime build-up.  Nonetheless, to really make a tire “pop”, it is necessary to use a tire dressing.  The answer to this is simple . . . Fusion Tire Dressing.  Once the tire is properly cleaned, the Fusion Tire Dressing can be applied by spraying directly onto the tire, or by wiping it on.

Spraying directly will lead to wasted product that blows away in the wind while spraying.  The mist will also get onto your clean wheels.  The mist will also go onto the ground, possibly discoloring your driveway, or leaving your epoxy-coated garage floor slippery.

The solution?  Take a lesson from the hard-working finish workers at your local full-service car wash.  Almost all of them use a dedicated “tire dressing brush”, applying the tire dressing to the brush and then “painting” it onto the tires.  The Proje Wheel and Tire Brush is perfect for this.  It has just the right amount of stiffness to allow good contact with the tire surface, while also having the flexibility and soft bristles that will easily coat all the uneven surfaces on some tire faces.

No need to clean the tire dressing brush.  Simply place it brush-side down in a plastic container like an old margarine tub or the bottom half of a gallon plastic jug.  Using a brush versus spraying the tire dressing will use up to 50% less dressing, and almost all of it actually gets onto the tire!

Another method of applying tire dressing without spraying is to use a dedicated applicator pad, like a Proje Large Applicator Pad.  Like the brush, this does not have to be washed between uses.

For super-shiny tires, simply apply more Fusion Tire Dressing.  For a more natural satin tire appearance, wipe on the dressing, allow it to dwell or “soak in” for a few minutes, then wipe off the excess with an old towel or wash cloth.  This final wipe of the applied dressing will also prevent tire dressing from slinging off the tire and onto the side of your vehicle (or getting on your clothes if you accidentally rub your leg up against the tire!).


The wheels and tires, when properly cleaned and protected, will help make your car look its best.  In the last part of this “Wheel and Tire Care” series, we will cover how to restore neglected wheels.