Time Needed: 30 minutes-1 hour, Difficulty: Beginner, Cost: ~$50
Chrome, on a brand-new vehicle, can be stunning. It’s shiny and makes the car look much fancier than the normal, un-shiny cars on the road. But after a while, that chrome can become pitted and dirty and can start to rust.
When this happens, you can ignore it and leave your vehicle looking ragged, or you can clean it. The process is quick, easy, and quite cheap, and won’t take a ton of fancy cleaning products to get the job done. A little effort, some foil, and vinegar, plus your handy-dandy Car Bibles editors, and you’ll be well on your way to polishing up the chrome on your car.
The Safety Brief
We want for you to exit the garage with all the fingers you went in with. There’s no need for safety to come third, make it first. To ensure your skin stays unblemished and your bones intact, you’ll want to wear gloves. Even if you’re using a non-toxic cleaning product, it’s probably not recommended for use as a lotion.
In the same vein, wear eye protection. You’ll be scraping away rust and small pieces of metal, so it’s important to prevent that stuff from getting into your eyes.Work in small areas at first. You don’t know how the metals will react to your cleaner, and you don’t know your skill level at completing the job. Working small will prevent big mistakes
The Tools & Parts You Need
A trip to the auto parts store or waiting on your porch for Amazon can be a time-suck. Don’t spend the day twiddling your thumbs waiting for a package or driving to and from the store. Get everything the first time, such as:
1. Mix Water And Dish Soap And Scrub Chrome
Using a sponge or towel, use soapy water to thoroughly clean the chrome you’re planning on polishing. The goal here is to remove debris and staining caused by road gunk and other conditions.
During this process, you’ll need to wipe the chrome clean and then rinse thoroughly to remove soap and leftover grime.
2. Use Vinegar To Penetrate Tough Stains
You’re likely to encounter spots on your chrome that appear darker or stained. These tough areas will need some extra elbow grease, and vinegar is a big help. Mix up a 1:1 solution of vinegar and water, and use your towel or sponge to work the vinegar into the trouble spot. Once you’re done, rinse the area and dry the chrome.
3. Inspect For Rust
After you’ve cleaned the chrome and done your best to remove any discoloration and stains, take the time to thoroughly inspect the chrome for rust and other damage. This can be done easily while you’re working on drying the chrome.
4. Use Foil To Scrub Rust
To remove the rust, cut small squares of aluminum foil. You’ll need them to be about 3 to 4 inches square. Fill a bowl with water and dip a piece of the foil in. Use the foil to lightly scrub the chrome. You won’t need to dig in or rub hard, because only a little friction is needed to produce aluminum oxide to dissolve rust.
If you see pitting or other rust-related damage, you can wad up a piece of foil and use the ball to scrub the area gently. The rougher edges of the aluminum foil will help scrub away the pitted areas.
5. Rinse, Dry, And Polish
Once you’re done with the aluminum foil, rinse the area thoroughly with your hose. Make sure to wash away any remnants of your foil scrub, as well as other debris that was broken loose during the process.
Make sure to dry the chrome thoroughly, as leaving it to dry on its own can leave water spots and discoloration.
Your Questions, Our Answers on Rust In Chrome
Car Bibles answer your burning questions!
Q: Are Rusty Wheels Dangerous?
A: It depends on the type of rust we’re talking about. Surface rust is ugly, but it’s not going to cause any operational problems. Rust that has penetrated the metal to the point of causing holes and perforations are what you need to worry about.
Q: Does Vinegar Remove Rust?
A: Vinegar is used to remove discolorations and spots on chrome and can be used to remove rust. It’ll take some soaking and time, but will eventually dissolve rust.
Q: What Is The Best Homemade Rust Remover?
A: Vinegar, baking soda, and salt mixed together is a surprisingly effective rust removal solution. The acid works to break down the rust, while salt provides the abrasive power needed to scrub it away.
Video Tutorial on Rust In Chrome
Car Bibles’ editors understand that not everyone is a text-based learner. For those kinesthetic people out there, we have your back with a video showing you exactly how to remove rust from chrome. We pulled it from one of our favorite, and most trusted, sources and it’s a great additional resource.
Best Places To Buy Tools and Parts to Remove A Rust From Chrome?
We know you have a whole world of choices when it comes to removing rust from chrome. To help with that, we’ve narrowed the field down to a handful of choices from Amazon. These products are well-reviewed, useful, and affordable. They include Mothers Chrome Polish, Mechanix Large Gloves, and AmazonBasics Microfiber Towels.
Disclosure: Carbibles.com is also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associate Programs, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Pages on this site may include affiliate links to Amazon and its affiliate sites on which the owner of this website will make a referral commission.