How to Remove Rust From Hubcaps

A hubcap is a cap that covers the center portion of the wheel. In most cars, this hubcap has some … Continued

A hubcap is a cap that covers the center portion of the wheel. In most cars, this hubcap has some decorations, primarily the logo of the car manufacturer.

But it is much more than a mere piece of decorative item. It is used to cover wheel cap and wheel fasteners to reduce the possible accumulation of any dirt or dust while driving.

In most cases, this hubcap is made of metal, which means, there is always a possibility for rust. The constant wear and tear of these hubcaps make them highly prone to weather elements, so all hubcaps tend to rust sooner or later.

When you see rust on your hubcaps, make sure to remove it right away.  Rusted hubcaps are not just an eye sore, but can also disintegrate the metal, thereby exposing the wheel studs to weather elements.

wash hubcap

Removing Rust From Hubcaps

Keep an eye on your hubcaps all the time, and remove rust as soon as you spot it. Here is how you can remove them.

First off, remove the hubcap from your wheel and inspect it both inside and out. Many times, you may not be able to spot the rust on the outer side of hubcaps because of the decorations on it. But spotting rust on the inner side is easy, so don’t go just by the outer looks. Remove them once every months to see if rust has formed on the inner sides, and do the necessary cleaning, if you spot them.

To remove rust, follow the below-mentioned steps.

Run With Aluminum Foil

As a first step, rub the hubcap with an aluminum foil. This helps to remove mild rust that has just started building on your hubcap.

As long as the rust is minimal, you don’t have to follow extensive procedure to fix it. Just a simple rub with aluminum foil should do the trick for you. This is another reason why you should check your hubcaps often to ensure that rust does not form on the hubcaps.

Before rubbing though, dip the foil in water and then rub against the affected surface for best results.

Use a Steel Wool

If your rust is fairly moderate, then rubbing it with just an aluminum foil won’t be enough. You will need a steel wool for this job.

Apply polishing paste on the rusted area and buff it gently with a fine steel wool, and this should remove all your rust. Some people opt to use brass instead of steel simply because it will scratch lesser than steel. But then, brass wool is not always feasible or available, so steel wool is a good option.

Scrub With a Brass Wire Wheel

If the rust is fairly severe, buffing with a steel wool alone will not remove it. For this, you need a brass wire wheel.

To get the rust off your hubcaps, take your power drill and use it along with this brass wire wheel. Scrub hard in places with more rust and use the two together to remove all the rust completely. Finally, finish the process by gently rubbing the area with a fine steel wool. Optionally, add some rubbing compound to give a nice finish.

Muriatic Acid

Muriatic acid is another name for hydrochloric acid. This acid is a strong corrosive one that can pretty much remove anything you want.

One key difference between muriatic acid and hydrochloric acid is that the former is a diluted version of the latter. In this sense, muriatic acid is not pure hydrochloric acid, but is one mixed with water. The exact level of concentration depends on the intended end use of this acid. There are many products with 31.5 percent hydrochloric acid or even 14.5 percent. Just depends on what is needed.

To remove rust, just buy the muriatic acid available in auto stores. You don’t really have to worry too much about the concentration levels for this job. Regardless of what level of concentration you buy, mix one part of acid with ten parts of water because this acid is so powerful.

One word of caution here. Since muriatic acid is a very strong component, it is best you use it sparingly and in limited quantities because there is always a possibility for it to remove the finish of your hubcap along with the rust.

wheels

Rust Proofing Spray

From the above discussion it is clear that removing rust is not going to be easy at all. You will have to buy more equipment and even spend time and effort to get rid of them. There is always a possibility for your hubcap’s finish to get spoilt, especially when you go overboard with brass wire or muriatic acid.

A better alternative is to avoid rust formation altogether. There are many rust proofing sprays available in the market today that will ensure that no rust forms on your car at all, even during adverse weather conditions and exposure to weather elements.

There are many kinds of rust proofing sprays and paints available today, so do some research before picking the one that is most ideal for your car make and model. The instructions are fairly simple to understand and follow too.

Simply open the can and spray it on your hubcaps. Ideally, you should do it before rust starts to form in your hubcaps. If rust has already formed, it is best you remove the rust using one of the above mentioned methods and spray this paint to ensure that rust does not form again.

In most cases, these paints will protect your hubcaps from rust for many years, so you don’t have to go through the hassle of checking them often and using a wide range of methods to remove this rust at the earliest.

In short, removing rust from your hubcaps is not such a difficult job, but one that you may have to do often. It is best you check both the outdoors and indoors often to ensure that there is no rust formed on them.

Sources:

  1. How to Remove Rust from Chrome – wikiHow
  2. How to Remove Rust From Hubcaps – It Still Runs