What’s Summer without Clean Rims?

I am one of those people that believes cleaning your car is an art-form, and it is probably one of my few unique skills. I have obsessive compulsive tendencies that make cleaning my car something interesting and worth getting right – that, plus maybe some kind of pride in car ownership. It feels good to drive around in a shiny clean car. One of those simple things in life that make a guy happy, I suppose. Yes, this is a true guy thing.

Those skilled in the art of car detailing will acknowledge the importance of properly cleaning your tires and rims. These require special attention because the brake dust, and dirt, build up fast. Most cars have some intricate rims with nooks and grooves, making it much more difficult and time consuming to clean. And, gleaming rims and tires get noticed as the icing on the proverbial “clean-car cake”.

SONAX Wheel Cleaner Full Effect is a spray-on cleaner for your aluminum rims. It promises to take away all the work associated with scrubbing, mostly on your hands and knees, all the grooves and spokes. You spray on the cleaner, wait a while until it turns purple, and spray it off. Simple enough, right?

The good news is that it does generally get the wheels much cleaner, and it does appear to composed of less chemicals. A benefit here is that it washes away without any harm, such as staining, to your driveway. I have never had any problems with this product harming my rims, wheels or paint finish (i.e., in the event of a few wayward droplets). There are some products, like the one I use for cleaning the tires, which will stain the driveway and will take time, and effort, to wash away. The reviews of this product are resoundingly positive, and it is rated to be one of the best cleaners for your rims out there. However, it does not replace the need to scrub and polish the rims. It will remove most dirt and it is good for a quick wash, but it will not get every part of your rim clean. For those skilled-in-the-art of car washing, you know that the shine and gleam come from avoiding water spots – and you can’t avoid that step with this cleaner.

Keeping with the theme of needing to actually touch something to clean it, the EZ Detail Auto Wheel Brush is a much better way to scrub away dirt without risk of scratching the rims. With your car wash soap and this brush, you can scrub away most of your dirt and grime for a much cleaner rim. And, you can use the brush for quite a bit longer. You’ll be buying at least two containers of the SONAX 500mL size in a season, easily. Scrubbing also burns more calories, so there’s a plus.

Works well enough. Doesn't replace good old fashion scrubbing.

Works well enough. Doesn’t replace good old fashion scrubbing.

The bottom-line: It’s probably the best out there, and good for those wanting to get the most clean for the minimum amount of work, but you are better off with an auto-wheel brush.



It Blows. That’s Good.

I cannot remember not owning a bicycle pump. If you own a bike, soccer ball, pool float or anything else that requires air, you certainly need one.

Both floor-standing and hand-pumps, they have always disappointed and left me frustrated. I have often pondered throwing my old floor-standing pump into the ravine across the street, stopped only by some sense of environmental responsibility. One day a year or so ago, I sought advice from my local bike and ski shop: “Please, I want to buy a pump that doesn’t suck. I don’t care how expensive.” He pointed over the Joe Blow Pump by TopPeak, and at $50 it’s not over-the-top expensive.

The Joe Blow head has a very reliable lever that clamps the ball needles, when inflating my soccer balls, and nicely snugs the Schrader valve on my bike tires. Its name also gives me endless amusement, almost reason enough to  buy it – nothing like household tools that we can anthropomorphize or give personas. When clamping onto the bike tires, there is no awkward fiddling or fussing, as the head clamps reliably onto the valve and pulling the lever gives you assurance it’s on nice and snug. You get the same satisfaction when clamping on the ball needles. The gauge is accurate and easy to read, and the pump has a hose dock that keeps the hose snug and tidy against the pump, and keeps the head from rattling around on the ground. It has a hardened steel base and is well constructed. Most importantly, it delivers a lot of air with each pump – you get to save the effort for the bike ride or soccer pitch, unless you want the excitement of pretending to pump and handrail car down some train tracks.

Blows. Don't suck.

Blows. Don’t suck.

The bottom-line: Just go buy one. You’ll have it forever, and the good quality head will make attaching your valves and pin needles frustration-free.