I have a stubborn mark on my tyre rim alloy. Please refer to the image below:

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The brown mark on the tyre rim is very stubborn. I have use anti-grease liquid but it does not work.

Can tar removal help? If not, which liquid cleaner should I use? Thank you

  • An alloy cleaner and elbow grease will usually work well, unless the dirt is baked or aged on...
    – Solar Mike
    Mar 21, 2020 at 18:53
  • Looks like iron oxide from rotor wear ; Detergent and elbow grease as noted. It may need some abrasive like rubbing compound , or fine steel wool. A possible problem is that aluminum wheels usually have a clear lacquer , or equal. Mar 21, 2020 at 20:12
  • You talking about the rust or the mark at the edge of the rim? @hunterex
    – Moab
    Mar 22, 2020 at 12:41
  • The general layer of red/brown rust/iron oxide. Mar 22, 2020 at 20:40

5 Answers 5


You need a dedicated alloy wheel cleaner. While almost any cleaner may remove some of the stain it may also damage the clear coat. Be sure to follow the instructions as most require the wheel to be cool and hosed off after application.

  • Completely agree with using a dedicated alloy wheel cleaner. The spray on type usually works pretty well. Mar 21, 2020 at 20:49

As others have said alloy wheel cleaner and some moderate elbow grease is the way to go - but you'll want to be careful with which cleaner, some cleaners are very harsh and looking at the pics there are places where the top lacquer of the alloy has been damaged and harsher cleaners risk further damage/corrosion. Avoid acid-based cleaners such as original Wonder Wheels as this will likely do unpleasant things.

Instead, look for an alkaline cleaner such as Bilberry.

Once you've cleaned of the ingrained dirt use a suitable alloy wheel sealant to prevent dirt and brake dust just building right back up in damaged areas.


Betcha you have some WD40 somewhere. Try it, allow time for it to soften


I've encountered something that looked almost exactly like this before and it was caused by brake pads getting so low that they got to metal on metal which threw little rusty bits all over the place.

The vehicle in question was fitted with painted alloy wheels with a metallic silver finish and a lacquer clear topcoat. I tried all ways to remove the rust and the only thing that eventually worked was to take the wheel off, stick it up on the bench and manually cut it with cutting paste. Even then it took a good hours work to get the wheel back to immaculate condition. I have to say, although this worked, if I ever encountered this again or had a full set of wheels in this state, I'd consider refinishing them as it would probably take roughly the same effort.


To remove iron oxide you can use vinegar,vinegar is acidic so it will disolve the oxide.

You need to be sure to rinse off the vinegar as it is corrosive to aluminium if it stay on for an extended time.

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