Winter roads can turn sparkling chrome dingy overnight. Salt, sand, oil and other contaminants splashing onto your vehicle can create permanent spotting and corrosion.
“The good news is that it can take a real aggressive cleaning,” said Mike Stoops of Meguiar’s car care products. “If kept clean and dry, chrome will last an incredible amount of time,” he added. “If you get it wet and keep it wet, it’ll get pitting and start to dull down.”
Rust and haze can damage chrome, reducing the value of your vehicle, Stoops said.
“If you start to see some surface pitting, you’ll start to see rust spots. Use some 4/0 steel wool along with a real fine metal polish to pull the rust out,” Stoops said.
Because of chrome’s hardness, scratches are difficult to buff out, according to Stoops, who recommends not using heavy cleaners on chrome. A heavy cleaning product can dull the chrome by leaving a haze.
Stoops offered the following tips to help keep your vehicle’s chrome shiny for the life of your vehicle:
• Clean off salt as quickly as possible.
• Clean whenever it begins to dull or when performing weekly car washing.
• Make sure that the chrome surface is cool to the touch when using chrome cleaning and polishing products.
• Don’t use chrome wheel cleaner on other surfaces. It can damage paint, plastic and vinyl.
• Spray the chrome with glass cleaner to remove spots and contamination.
• Wipe with a microfiber towel, not terrycloth or paper towels.
• If you are using harsh cleaners near delicate materials such as wood trim or cloth, avoid overspray by applying the cleaner to a microfiber towel and carefully wiping the chrome surface.
• Apply wax protectant over the chrome to help extend protection between cleanings.