Iron dissolving liquid cleaners first appeared in the UK in 2010, and have profoundly changed the way in which we tackle wheel cleaning and exterior decontamination duties. Unsurprisingly, most product manufacturers now offer an iron-dissolver, but in many cases exactly the same product is recommended for use on both the wheels and the bodywork. If you stop and think about it, this is somewhat odd, as we tend to tackle wheels and bodywork differently; with wheels, we soak them with the iron-dissolver right from the outset (while the rim is still covered in dirt and grime, as well as brake dust), but with bodywork we always complete a full wash process first (meaning that the iron-dissolver is only ever applied to clean surfaces). As such, would it not make more sense to use two different products? One optimised for removing dirt and grime as well as brake dust, with as much grime-busting power as iron-dissolving potential, and the other a straight iron-dissolver, as required for use on bodywork? Bilt Hamber certainly think so, which is why they've formulated a pair of iron-dissolvers; auto-wheel for use on wheels, and korrosol for use on bodywork. By doing this, they've produced class-leading products that well and truly raise the bar.
Bilt Hamber auto-wheel is a fast-acting wheel cleaner, designed to clean even the filthiest of wheels without the need for any agitation. In fact, it's formulated to offer the same level of cleaning power as highly acidic wheel cleaners, but without any of the associated safety risks. Highly acidic wheel cleaners are certainly effective, but they attack underlying rim substrates if the protective clearcoat is compromised (by kerbing or stone chips). Rims are continually bombarded by extremely hot particles discharged by the braking surfaces; the most destructive of these are iron-based. Being incredibly hot, they embed themselves in the rim surface by melting their way into the clearcoat. As they accumulate, they form an increasingly rougher surface that dirt and grime readily adheres to, thus making the rims progressively harder to clean. Highly acidic wheel cleaners work by attacking these iron-based particles, reducing their size and releasing them from the rim surface. Bilt Hamber auto-wheel works very differently, by using a potent neutralised acid salt to render the iron-based particles water soluble, thus enabling them to be rinsed away. Powerful biodegradable surfactants complete the process, by safely dissolving and lifting residual dirt and grime.
Bilt Hamber auto-wheel comes pre-diluted to the correct strength for safe use on all wheel types, and should thus be used neat. For best results, we recommend that it is sprayed on liberally and then left to dwell for 3-5 minutes; during this interval the initially transparent gel will rapidly turn a deep red as ferrous compounds and sintered iron particles dissolve into solution (this effect can be very pronounced, but don’t panic because it’s quite normal and to be expected). Although Bilt Hamber auto-wheel is essentially a touchless cleaner, you may agitate it using suitable brushes and/or a microfibre wash mitt if you wish (ideal choices include EZ Detail Wheel Brushes, PB Luxury Wheel Woolies and the Meguiar’s Microfibre Wash Mitt). After 3-5 minutes rinse the cleaner off thoroughly with a stream of water and dry your wheels off in the normal way. Note that if the deep red residue has started to dry out you may need to use a stronger jet of water from a pressure washer in order to remove it fully.
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