Disclosure: I received free review samples from JML Direct for the purpose of this review. I received no payment and was not required to submit a positive review.
Alloy wheels are as popular as ever on new cars, but they can soon start to look scruffy and dull if they are not cleaned regularly and kept free of a build-up of brake dust and road grime.
Washing alloy wheels with a good quality car shampoo will get most of the dirt off if it is done regularly – but the design of alloy wheels often makes it hard to clean into all the nooks and crannies. In addition to this, wear and tear and winter road salt often gradually takes its toll on the wheels’ original finish.
We recently received a bottle of Mantis Perfect Wheels wheel cleaner and a Mantis Wheel Brush to review. Wheel brushes are increasingly popular these days and are shaped to allow effective cleaning of areas where a cloth or sponge will not easily reach – especially a problem on some spoked alloy wheel designs.
Mantis Perfect Wheels (RRP £9.99)
Mantis says that its wheel cleaner is non-acidic and uses a “special foaming action” to lift road grime and brake dust from your wheels, leaving a long-lasting shine.
I decided to put it to the test by cleaning the wheels on one side of my test car with Perfect Wheels and just using a good quality shampoo (Autoglym Bodywork Shampoo Conditioner) to wash the wheels on the other side of the car.
My test car was a one-year old Renault Megane – not an ideal subject – as the car is not really old enough for the finish on the factory alloys to have deteriorated – but a reasonable test nonetheless.
Health Warning: The label on the back of the bottle advises you not to get Perfect Wheels directly on your skin. This is probably good advice – you do get a mild burning sensation if you spray it accidentally onto your hand. It is a bit like certain strong bathroom surface cleaners – and it smells like it (bleach smell) too.
Mantis advise you to spray Perfect Wheels on and leave it to work for a few minutes if the wheels are very dirty – otherwise it is just a case of spraying on and wiping and rinsing off. This product is not something that can be left to dry – it does need rinsing off or it may damage your wheels’ finish permanently.
The spray is a foam and is fairly easy to spray on accurately without covering your brake discs in foam, too. I found the Mantis Wheel Brush worked well for hard-to-reach areas but for the wheels I was cleaning, a cloth was nearly as good as access around the spokes was not a problem.
Perfect Wheels seemed to work well, but the wheels I cleaned with shampoo only came clean almost as easily and neither I nor the car’s owner could see any difference between the two, once I had rinsed and dried the wheels.
In addition, I was a little disappointed that Perfect Wheels did not work better at removing small tar spots, which were the only marks left on the wheels when I had finished.
Here are some before and after pictures:
Mantis Perfect Wheels seems to be a reasonably good product and would probably achieve more impressive results on an older set of wheels or on wheels which had been neglected and not washed regularly. My results were not noticeably different to those achieved with a decent shampoo.
The Mantis Wheel Brush ‘does what it says on the tin’ – if you have awkward-shaped alloys, then a wheel brush is a useful accessory, even if you are just washing your car with shampoo.
Buy Mantis Perfect Wheels direct from JML (RRP £9.99)