This is going to be my first product review post. In the near future I will continue to post product review of items I personally purchased and have used. These will be actual firsthand experiences!
So to start off the series I will be going over 3 different types of rim cleaners. They can usually be bought at your local Walmart, Target or any automotive shop. The three rim cleaners that I bought were Meguiar's Hot Rims Wheel and Tire Cleaner, DUB Cleaner and Armor All's Extreme Wheel and Tire Cleaner. They all cost around $10 dollars but it usually varies from store to store. Not too much of a price difference so I would say that the performance of these rim cleaners would be the deciding factor for me if I was to purchase another rim cleaner. Each of these rim cleaners are spray on and rinse off. They say claim that you don't need to wipe the rims afterwards for brake dust. There are 4 rims on my M3 so I used a rim cleaner on each wheel and the 4th wheel I didn't use any cleaner to be our control in this test. And by no means is this scientific at all, it's simply my experience with the products on hand. I drove the car for a couple weeks without cleaning the rims so they were pretty filthy. The rims at the rear of the car are going to be slightly less dirty as the front has the larger brake calipers and are used harder in the event of braking.
In the following sections I will have pics of each rim. The top left will be used with Meguiars, the top right will be used with Armor All, the bottom left will be used as the control and the bottom left will be used as with DUB. You can click on the pictures for a larger zoomed in view
PLEASE CLICK ON PICS FOR HIGHER RESOLUTION IMAGES
Here are the same rims from another angle
As you can tell each of the rims are completely filled with brake dust. Brake dust will only be present on the M cars equipped with the standard steel brakes. Carbon ceramic brakes don't have brake dust deposits on the rims. So next I sprayed the entire rim quite liberally with rim cleaner. The only downside is that using so much cleaner is that it won't last many washes, maybe three or four sets of four rims and the bottle will run out. The next pics show how the chemicals reacted with the brake dust. The DUB cleaner is the only one that changes color.
Here's another angle of the rims
Some of things that I noticed was that the DUB cleaner changed colors but it had a seriously foul odor. It actually gave me a headache after using it. It looks cool when the spray changed colors but I don't really see the point. It just smelled horrible. I don't even want to store it in my garage. The other two rim cleaners had much milder smells. They were very noticeable and quite pleasant in that sense. The big deal breaker will be what happens to the rims after I wash them off. See the results below.
As you can see, the brake dust cleaner did have a noticeable difference compared to our control. But does that mean it's worth the money? I will answer that question later but from what I can tell, the Meguiar rim cleaner did a slightly better job than Armor All or the DUB cleaners. I would rate the DUB cleaner to be third place in our contest due to the foul odor and similar performance to Armor All. Armor All gets second for a good clean with no foul odor from the product itself. Meguiar's gets first place for its overall performance. It cleaned better than the other two brands and didn't have much of an odor. The problem with these rim cleaners is that they don't actually remove all of the brake dust. I'm not talking about hard to reach areas such as where the bolts are or deep inside the rim. I took my finger and ran it on the edges of the rims in multiple places and there was residue left over. To get a complete clean I still needed to get a rag to clean off the brake dust that didn't get washed off. The control rim had significantly more brake dust that those rims that used the brake dust cleaner. I had to wipe two or three times on every part of the rim for the control in order to get all the left over brake dust off whereas I only needed to wipe once on the rims that had used the rim cleaners. I don't think that the brake dust cleaners are the type of product that I would buy again. I don't doubt that they actually work but the fact that I cannot use the sprays on over 20 rims without running out or not completely cleaning the brake dust off for me is the deal breaker. It costs $10 for a bottle and I would rather spend that money on something else. If I need to wipe the rim down regardless why not save my money and go buy a burger? Sure makes a nice snack after all this hard work right? Below you can see the difference after wiping down each rim.
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