Meguiar’s Ultimate Wheel Cleaner Review: Wheel cleaning can be quite an arduous and time-consuming process, especially if I’m strapped for time or just aren’t in the mood for spending hours on a wash.
To avoid spending much time on the wheels, the alternative would be to simply spray on some wheel cleaner, maybe agitate dirtier areas with a brush, then blast it off with a jet washer.
Unfortunately, this process means sacrificing a high-quality finish, because you’re usually left with some stubborn brake dust staining. Meguiar’s seem to have identified this problem and have answered with their Ultimate Wheel Cleaner.
- Great cleaning ability against brake dust
- Gel clings to wheels for a more effective clean
- Quick and easy to apply
- High quality product offering great value
- Not the best smelling product
View on Amazon: Meguiar's Ultimate Wheel Cleaner
In terms of applying the product, Ultimate Wheel Cleaner is designed to be sprayed directly onto a dry wheel, and there are clear directions on the bottle advising to do so. I would usually prefer to pre-rinse the wheels with water before applying any chemicals, as a way of diluting the chemicals.
If I was cleaning my wheels with a brush, my usual view would be that the wheel cleaner should simply assist with removing heavier contaminants, not do all the hard graft – but Ultimate Wheel Cleaner is an acid-free, pH-balanced product designed to be quick and easy to use, so dry wheels it is!
Meguiar’s Ultimate Wheel Cleaner uses a gel, rather than the more traditional foam or liquid solution. I first noticed the difference when applying the product, as the nozzle releases a sneeze of fairly heavy particles that cling to the contaminated wheel.
On a side note, I know the importance of a good trigger mechanism, and this trigger is a model example of how a trigger mechanism should be. In true Meguiar’s fashion, it feels robust, its light on the pull, and it offers the accuracy needed to avoid overspray.
With this and the gel in mind, this product offers an easy application which gives you confidence that you’re not spraying your money into the wind, instead, you’re putting it to work.
Depending on the level of contamination, the product begins to turn to a deep purple fairly quickly which indicates it’s reacting with and dissolving any contaminants on the wheel. I know that this colour changing technology isn’t groundbreaking, as it’s been a feature in other wheel cleaners and fallout removers for some time, but I love how Meguiar’s have gone to the trouble to include this in this product.
Not only does it scream product quality, but it’s also incredibly useful as an indicator for which areas are more contaminated than others, hence potentially warranting an agitating interception with a wheel brush.
On the matter of agitation, the bottle does advise agitation for heavily soiled or neglected wheels, which I’ve tried myself. Due to the thicker nature of the gel, I found it trickier to brush the wheels when compared with a traditional liquid or foam, as it doesn’t offer the high foaming properties of other cleaners and it feels slightly stickier under the brush.
I’m not saying that this process was ineffective because it certainly wasn’t, it just feels like the product wants to be left alone to eat the contamination by itself, without the help of a wheel cleaning brush.
I would describe the process of rinsing the cleaner off the wheels at the same level of satisfaction as power washing a thick layer of snow foam off your car. Most of the product is removed with one pass of the jet washer, but I would advise taking your time to ensure that all the product has been removed to avoid leaving behind any residue.
The first time I’d used the Ultimate Wheel Cleaner, I was very surprised with the finish it left on my wheels.
As you can see in the photos, the product reacted quite strongly with my wheels, indicating quite high contamination, but they were left gleaming after this product had been removed – and at no point did I agitate the cleaner, I let it do all the work.
Furthermore, this cleaner seems to leave behind a slight hydrophobic layer on the wheels which leaves a great finish that you wouldn’t even need to dry if you didn’t have the time.
Meguiar’s Ultimate Wheel Cleaner Verdict
Meguiar’s Ultimate Wheel Cleaner is the first wheel cleaner that I’ve encountered which gives you the ability to clean your wheels without expending significant time and effort doing so, whilst maintaining a finish that suggests you’ve put a lot more effort into cleaning them than you have.
The fact that it’s acid-free and pH balanced is incredibly important because it means it can be used weekend after weekend for those quick maintenance washes without having to worry about damaging your rims.
I believe that this product has been tailored to clean wheels quickly and effectively, which is why I don’t think it would be the best choice for full detail – for that, I think a slicker, high foaming solution would be a better choice.
Ultimate Wheel Cleaner is definitely a product worth keeping on the shelf for those situations where you don’t want to spend hours on your car, but you still want that ultimate finish – and it will certainly have a place on mine. Meguiars have put together a really useful how-to guide for this product!
View on Amazon: Meguiar's Ultimate Wheel Cleaner