Learn the different types of wheels, brake pads, and the products needed to get your vehicle’s shoes back to perfect.

Differences in Wheel Finishes and Brake Pad Types

Your wheels are the most expressive part of your car, and the hardest to keep clean. Through miles and miles of road travel, your wheels and tires take a beating no matter how harsh the climate or elements are. Your paint, windows, and exterior surfaces are the easiest to protect and the last to show signs of dirt and grime buildup. Wheels become dirty almost immediately and have a specific regiment of cleaning and decontamination. In this segment, we’ll show you the different types of wheels, brake pads, and the products needed to get your vehicle’s shoes back to perfect.

Wheel Cleaner Vs Eco Wheel. What are the differences. why would you use one over the other?

Wheel Cleaner: heavy duty, iron-targeted to remove buildup of brake contamination and road grime. High performance brakes require a high performance cleaner. This is the ultimate way to remove stubborn brake dust and metallic contamination from your wheels, changes color as it works and eliminates even the toughest brake contamination. Read more below for everything you need to know about our Wheel Cleaner.

Eco Wheel: Mild duty, designed for routine washes and wheels with delicate and fragile finishes. This wheel cleaner not only smells great, but also leaves your wheels clean and slick. Contains Direct Release to the Environment Technology for a thorough cleaning experience, safe on all surfaces. Find out additional details at the bottom on our Eco Wheel Cleaner.

Wheel Types

[Aluminum] - Eco Wheel Cleaner + Metal Polish & Why

When cleaning polished aluminum wheels, you tend to have porous metal that hasn’t yet been clear coated. By using a stronger chemical like our Wheel Cleaner, you’re running the risk of staining the fragile metal and damaging the face of your wheels. Eco Wheel Cleaner, a cleaner designed for fragile and delicate wheel finishes, cleans thoroughly and leaves your raw aluminum wheels dirt-free. To gain the luster and brilliance back into your aluminum wheels, use Adam’s Metal Polish system (#1 & #2) for the ultimate aluminum wheel restoration.

[Powder Coat] - Wheel cleaner & Why?

During the wash process, thoroughly cleaning your wheels and tires is a must as it can make or break the exterior appearance of your vehicle. When cleaning your powder coated wheels, you have a couple of options: Adam’s Wheel Cleaner will target iron contamination on factory powder coated wheels, however, we recommend Eco Wheel Cleaner for aftermarket, powder coated wheels. Aftermarket powder coats sometimes contain metallic flakes and don’t have a clear coat over the top, making the metallic flake the first thing to be targeted and stained by our Wheel Cleaner.

[Clear Coat] - Wheel Cleaner & Why

Most production cars have wheels on them that are painted on and have a baked on clear coat from the factory— Our Wheel Cleaner thoroughly cleans the brake dust and iron contamination away from wheels and brake components.

[Matte] - Eco Wheel Cleaner & Why

For wheels with a Satin or Matte Finish, we recommend our Eco Wheel Cleaner to avoid staining or brightening of the surface.

[Plasti-Dip] - Eco Wheel Cleaner (or Car Shampoo or Tire & Rubber Cleaner?) & Why

A common “mod” on some modern vehicles is a rubberized, removable coating that you can spray out of the can. Because it’s temporary and not a permanent coating, you want to take extra care when washing them and not scrub to hard or aggressively to peel up an edge. We recommend our mild-duty Eco Wheel Cleaner or Car Shampoo, combined with our soft Wheel Wash Mitt to avoid bristles scrubbing too hard on the surface.

[Anodized] - Eco Wheel Cleaner & Why

For starters, let’s start with what exactly is anodizing-- Anodizing is an electrochemical oxidation process of an aluminum surface that produces a stable film of colored aluminum oxides, depending on your choice of color. It’s unique because unlike powder coating or painting, anodizing is fully integrated into the underlying aluminum surface. Although it can’t chip or peel, you still want to use a mild-duty Eco Wheel Cleaner as the temperature or metallic nature of the metal can resort to staining when using our regular Wheel Cleaner.

Brake Dust Types

Organic Vs Metallic Vs Ceramic & why it matters for cleaning wheels

Let’s get down to why our wheels are dirty in the first place… The brakes. In this day and age, you have 3 main types of brake pads to deal with when cleaning your prized possession.

Most vehicles come from the factory containing a toss up of organic or metallic brakes, less than 70% being organic due to the reduced noise and longevity. Organic brake pads may not be made out of what you’re thinking, but they do have rubber, carbon compounds, fiberglass or Kevlar on the ingredient list. They produce less dust than metallic pads, and are quieter but for daily commuting or driving.

Now, let’s talk performance pads and those brakes that dust like crazy but stop on a dime— those are composed of mostly metals including copper, iron, steel or composites, making them the ultimate target for our Wheel Cleaner. These can be noisier than usual, but because they are more rigid there is less pressure needed to fully stop the car.

As for the performance freaks, ceramic brakes are increasingly popular as the years go on— Not only do they produce less brake dust and less sound, but they also last longer because they aren’t wearing dusting away as quickly— making them another prime target for some extensive wheel cleaning with one of the two products.

Wheel Cleaner

Adam’s Wheel Cleaner is the ultimate product for removing metallic contamination from your wheels. This thicker, more viscous formula clings to your wheel surfaces, allowing it to dissolve the harsh brake contamination and allow for an easy rinse and streak-free finish. The new raw material cleans effectively, and the color changing formula lets you know it's working, turning to a deep purple as it activates and does the hard work for you.

This product dissolves metallic brake contamination on contact, and although incredibly effective, still remains pH neutral. Adam’s Wheel Cleaner removes the risk of staining your wheels from harsh, acid-based cleaners and sometimes soapy water just doesn’t cut it. Adam’s Wheel Cleaner contains a low-odor, iron-activating ingredient that allows your wheels to “bleed” as the brake dust and contamination is cleaned away. As always, clean your wheels, tires, engine bay and exhaust tips prior to touching your painted surfaces with water to avoid water spotting or surface contamination. Adam’s Wheel Cleaner can be sprayed on small troublesome areas known for iron contamination and used to dissolve the iron from these surface. Make sure to rinse very thoroughly afterward, and do not allow the clear to dry onto any surfaces.

As always, clean your wheels, tires, engine bay and exhaust tips prior to touching your painted surfaces with water to avoid water spotting or surface contamination. Adam’s Wheel Cleaner is designed for use on cool to the touch factory painted, factory powder coated, and factory clear coated wheels. Best of all Adam's Wheel Cleaner is safe for most wheel finishes. Whether you have factory clear coated, aluminum, or painted wheels, the highly effective cleaning solution will remove stubborn brake dust but won't harm your wheels. With the surface cool to the touch, saturate the wheel with Adam's Wheel Cleaner and allow the color changing formula to activate. As there are countless finishes in the aftermarket community and customization world, some finishes contain a metallic-infused clear that give your wheels that extra pop, however, our Wheel Cleaner thinks it’s part of the problem and could result in staining. Always use Adam’s Wheel Cleaner on cooled wheels and work diligently when cleaning your wheels one at a time.

Adam’s Wheel Cleaner is endorsed and proven by Vossen Wheels.

Eco Wheel Cleaner:

When developing this product we wanted to make it chemically advanced for cleaning, but safe on fragile finishes, aftermarket wheels, and raw aluminum surfaces. Eco Wheel Cleaner contains EPA approved ingredients from Safer Choice that are Direct Release to the Environment safe. This formulation can be used full strength or diluted down to conserve chemical usage. Many wheel cleaners are designed to target brake dust and metallic contamination at the source. Although effective, those products clean so much in fact that they have a tendency to mistake a particle of brake dust for your finish, resulting in increased chances of staining. Adam’s Eco Wheel Cleaner is safe on any wheel finish and effectively removes contamination with the hassle.

Eco Wheel Cleaner contains EPA approved ingredients from Safer Choice that are Direct Release to the Environment safe. This formulation can be used full strength or diluted down to conserve chemical usage. When developing this product we wanted to make it chemically advanced for cleaning, but safe on fragile finishes, aftermarket wheels, and raw aluminum surfaces. Eco Wheel Cleaner contains no raw materials that activate on contact with iron or ferrous metals, meaning this wheel cleaner has no chance at staining your wheels when cool to the touch in your cleaning process. Naturally derived surfactants in this formula allows the cleaner to produce a high amount of suds and lubrication, allowing you to scrub and clean your wheel without issue of scratching or marring the surface. Adam’s Eco Wheel Cleaner doesn’t have the putrid stench of most wheel cleaners on the market that will leave both your wheels and nose stinging from a single wash.

As always, clean your wheels, tires, engine bay and exhaust tips prior to touching your painted surfaces with water to avoid water spotting or surface contamination. Adam’s Eco Wheel Cleaner is designed for use on any wheel surface that is cool to the touch. Always use Adam’s Eco Wheel Cleaner on cooled wheels and work diligently when cleaning your wheels one at a time.


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