Clean and dress wheel wells

One of the few overlooked areas of a car when doing a detail or exterior car cleaning is the wheel well section. Before you do any of your brightwork, consider taking care of this first. Who knows, it may be the difference between getting first prize, or an honorable mention at the next car show.

Time Required:
15 - 30 minutes

Tools Needed:

  • 2 buckets (1 gal or less will do)
  • 1-2 foam head toilet brushes (the longer and flexible the handle and head the better) or a pair good rubber gloves
  • some large sponges with the scuff pad side
  • Your favorite all purpose cleaner or some dawn dishwash
  • 1 bottle Mop n Glow


    This is a little time consuming, but patience is rewarded here. There are two ways to do this, the "quick way", and the "less quick way". The less quick way requires you to remove all the wheels to be thorough. The quick way keeps the wheels on, but you may not be able to cover as much as with the wheels off. Either method will make the wheel wells look much better in any case. The only difference is how picky you are and your access to other tools such as lug wrench (which you should have anyway), and access to a good lift (so you can forgoe all the running around).

    This covers the quick way.

    1. First, you need to rinse out the loose dirt in the wheel wells. Starting with the fronts, simply lock the steering wheel in one direction or the other. If I am starting on the driver side, I start with the steering to the left, and on the passenger side, lock to the right. Lock the wheel to the other side if you need more clearance.

    2. Spray into the well at full blast from the hose to lossen up any mud or dirt. While you're at it, might as well do the struts and springs If you have a UDP installed and did not replace the shield, be gentle with the spray in that area, or rinse by hand. Also, if you do rinse off the struts and springs, be careful where you aim the water. Reason for this is to prevent any excess water from getting on the strut rod if there is no cover for it. The rod is meant to be lubricated with oil, but to be on the safe side, don't aim at the exposed rod. Rinse around that area by hand if need be.

    3. Spray on your all purpose cleaner. If using dawn, just mix up some in the bucket with water as hot as you can get. Use one of the foam toilet brushes to scrub off the stuck on grime. If you need to to really remove the tougher stuff, get in there with your gloves and the sponge w/ scuff side. If you're doing the springs and struts as well, only use the sponge side, as the scuff side will scratch up the painted surfaces.

    4. Rinse again with the hose, and in the second bucket, mix up some Mop N Glo with water. The intensity of the mixture will depend on how much shine you want in the well; for less shine, use less Mop n Glo, and for more shine, use more Mop N Glo. For maximum shine, don't even bother with the water, just use Mop N Glo full strength. Dip the toilet brush or sponge into the mixture, and squeeze off some of the excess. Apply the mixture to the wells until every bit of the well is covered in the mixture. Let the front sides set, and then go to the back.

    5. Raise and support the rear of the car. Lift the rear up just enough to give you some room to work with, and just follow all the previous steps. If you do not have a jack, or you're a bit squeamish about working with the car raised, then you'll need to just work with sponges, toilet brushes, or a combination of the two.

    6. Once all wells have been treated, you can go back to the fronts and inspect the work. The wells should have a glossy look to them. If you are not happy, you can re-apply another coat of Mop N Glo, and allow to dry.

    7.Once the mixture is fuly dried (which should take about 10-15 mins depending on how much you used), your wells will be much easier to hose out clean, while leaving a nice glossy finish. You can repeat this step every 3-4 weeks, to insure the wells remain clean looking.

    (Submitted by usdm from the discussion forums)

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