How to Polish your IROC Wheels

So why would you want to polish your IROC wheels? Well if your wheels were starting to look like mine were you would want to polish them. The wheels on my ’86 IROC were starting to look like they were 12 years old, the clearcoat had fallen off some parts of the aluminum. Where there was clearcoat on the aluminum it was starting to discolor (turned yellow) and caused the wheel to look constantly dirty. The rest of the car looked good but the wheels never looked clean – definitely detracts from the car at a car show. The following procedure will tell you how to polish your wheels and this should work for any aluminum wheel.


  • Busch’s Clearcoat Remover for Aluminum Surfaces (I got my bottle at a local speed shop for $16)
  • Mother’s Mag and Aluminum Polish ( $5)
  • Rubber surgical gloves
  • 1/2 inch wide paint brush
  • Dremel tool
  • Cone shaped plastic bristle brush for the dremel tool
  • Lots of time and patience!!!!!


  • Clean the wheel and take it off the car.
  • Put on your surgical gloves
  • Read the directions on the bottle of the clearcoat remover!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Brush the clearcoat remover on to the aluminum. Tip: don’t get any remover on the painted part of the wheel or the remover will take it off. If you do, take a paper towel and quickly wipe it off. If you wanted to you could mask off the painted parts of the wheel. Also if you use a plastic handled brush, do not get any remover on the plastic. The remover will melt the plastic so be careful, this is some powerful stuff.
  • Let the remover sit for 5 to 10 minutes and take it off with a paper towel starting with the areas you did first.
  • Take off your surgical gloves and throw them away.
  • Clean the wheel again.
  • You may have to repeat the removal procedure to remove all the clearcoat, depending on how much clearcoat is left on the wheels.


  • Take the mag and aluminum polish and apply a liberal amount onto the aluminum parts of the wheel. Do not rub the polish in (that’s what the dremel is for!!) just apply it.
  • Take your dremel tool with your cone shaped brush, set it to its lowest speed and start working the polish in. If you put the dremel on a fast speed you may burn swirl marks into the aluminum. Go slow as you work your way around the wheel. The polish should turn black where you used the dremel.
  • After you are finished with the whole wheel let the polish sit for 10 minutes. This allows it to dry and makes it easier to take off.
  • Use a clean terry cloth towel to remove the polish. You may use a lot of towels to get all the residue off. There are a bunch of machining grooves in the wheel so you have to use a fair amount of pressure while removing the polish.
  • After removing all the polish go over the aluminum with a clean paper towel to polish it more.
  • You may have to repeat the polishing procedure a few times to get the best results.
  • You may notice some swirl marks where you used the dremel, but these are barely noticeable. You have to be right on top of the wheel and in the right light to see them, so I don’t think it is a big deal. Hey for 25 bucks and some of your time, you can save yourself a lot of money by doing this and have the results turn out similar to what a pro could do, in my opinion.

Now, you only have to repeat this three more times. It should take you about three hours per wheel to polish them, this is based on one coat of remover and one coat of polish. The more coats the more time it will take. Remember to keep after the aluminum, there is not any paint to protect it now so it can corrode. If you polish regularly (whenever you wax the car) there should be no problem. If you have any scuffs or deep scratches this procedure won’t get rid of them, but it will make them look a little better. By no means am I an expert at this, so don’t take my word as gospel!!! I just tried something that worked well for me and wanted to pass it along to others. If you ruin your wheel it is not my fault, so don’t blame me!! Sorry that I had to say that but I have seen to many people accused for things on the board. Well now that I have covered my butt, enjoy having polished wheels. I know I am!!

Written By Joe Burda ([email protected])
’86 IROC-Z28 "BLUR" w/ polished wheels!!!