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Thread: PBL Surface vs Wheel Coating?

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011

    PBL Surface vs Wheel Coating?

    PBL Surface vs Wheel Coating?

    So I got a new set of wheels. Niche Targa in the anthracite color.

    They are much more satin finish than I had hoped for, but still very happy with them. I also want to try a coating on them as I know carnuba is just going to attract the brake/road dust, so hoping to avoid that.

    Price aside (I guess they're similar given the bottle size), why choose one over the other?

    Yes, who doesn't want the protection, but that's not my main concern. My priorities would be which will repel dust the best, and top priority would be appearance.

    Will one offer more shine/sheen over the other? Basically, why choose one over the other for just wheels?


  2. #2
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Stuart, Florida

    Re: PBL Surface vs Wheel Coating?

    Hi galaxy,

    I just read your Private Message to me. Thank you for alerting me that no one had answered your question in this forum group. It's hard to stay on top of the forum 100% as I wear a lot of other hats. For this reason I never mind and in fact encourage people to send me a PM if they have a question on the forum that they would like me to answer.

    And just to note, I much prefer to answer questions on the forum, not in private messages.

    Hope you don't mind, I did a little formatting to make my reply easier to read. Something by the way you can't do on Facebook.

    Quote Originally Posted by galaxy View Post

    PBL Surface vs Wheel Coating?

    Price aside (I guess they're similar given the bottle size), why choose one over the other?

    First I am not an expert on the chemistry behind these two products. My guess is that the dedicated wheel coating will have more of the key ingredient or solids than the All Surface Coating.

    Now as to the below two questions, let me take a moment to educate...

    Quote Originally Posted by galaxy View Post

    Yes, who doesn't want the protection, but that's not my main concern.

    My priorities would be,

    1: which will repel dust the best,
    While it is true and accurate that quality brand coatings WILL create a self-cleaning surface to which they are applied, there's a limit to just how much dust or in your specific question, how much BRAKE DUST any coating will repel.

    My experience is because there is such a HIGH VOLUME of both brake dust and road film if you drive in the rain, that coated or not, brake dust is going to build up on your vehicle's wheels and it is going to be noticeable just like it would be noticeable if you applied nothing. At least after a week or so....

    Here's the REAL BENEFIT to applying a coating to your vehicle's rims...

    Faster and easier cleaning and drying.

    See the difference?

    If you coat your car's wheels the realized benefit isn't a set of wheels that stay clean and shiny - the realized benefit is how fast you can clean the wheel and how much easier it will be moving into the future.

    I know this first hand from coating the wheels on our Mercedes-Benz SL 500.

    The front and rear brakes on this car get a film of brake dust and road grime, (it rains here in Florida and road grime comes from driving in the rain).

    When it comes to washing a car, I have been teaching the practice of starting with the wheels and tires FIRST and then moving to the top of the car and working down.

    I started practicing this when I started detailing my own cars as a kid and when I took a formal job with Meguiar's at their Corporate Office I taught this in all the Detailing 101 classes.

    Besides making great sense to start with the wheels first which I also explain in my how-to book,

    The Complete Guide to a Show Car Shine

    I'm the type of person that ALWAYS starts with the hardest part of a job first to get it over with. So here's the deal... I hate washing wheels and tires. It's a pain in the rear. But it's both important and in my opinion the hardest or at least the least fun part of washing a car.

    Let's circle back to our Mercedes-Benz. This car has factory clearcoated rims. We bought this car with only 9000 miles on it and the rims were perfect. They were also clean, not just the front but the barrels also. At least there wasn't a HUGE build up of brake dust and road grime from lack of care.

    So the first time I washed the car and thus the first time I washed the wheels I spent a LOT of time getting them perfectly clean to apply a coating to them.

    Then after getting them cleaned and dried, I applied a wheel coating.

    Now every time I wash the car, as is my normal practice, I wash the wheels and tires first.

    I'm always amazed at how FAST the dirty rims wash up. Both the face of the wheel and the barrel of the wheel. I use the Speedmaster Wheel Brush for the barrels and I use the Wheel Woolies Black Wheel Brush for the face of the wheels.

    I made the worst part of washing this car as fast and easy as I possibly could and I recommend this regimen to anyone that likes their car's wheels and wants them to look good but also doesn't want to sped an hour cleaning each wheel every time they wash their car.

    So yes by all means, coat your car's cool wheels and then on the follow-up side, get the right tools and products to properly wash/clean your car's wheels.

    For me I use,

    McKee's 37 Foaming Wheel Cleaner Gel


    My car's wheels have a factory clearcoat finish. The clearcoat paint used on wheels is DIFFERENT than the clearcoat paint used on your car's body panels. It's VERY HARD. Once you stain clearcoated paint on wheels I've never seen a process to remove the stain. So I want to use a wheel cleaner I know won't stain the clearcoat on the Mercedes-Benz factory rims and I trust the McKee's wheel cleaner.

    Speed Master Wheel Brush


    This brush easily reaches behind the spokes on the front of the wheel to scrub the wheel barrels behind the spokes. The back barrels on our rims are very deep and light gray in color. It's easy to see when they are clean or dirty and if you miss a spot that shows up to. With this brush and some focused attention on my part to move the bristles over the entire area I can reach as I poke it in-between each spoke I'm able to thoroughly clean the barrels without removing the rim.

    I also bend it to make a U-shape and the spray the bristles with some of the wheel cleaner and then run the brush up and down the back of each spoke. While I can't see back there I know they're clean and because I always do this I know they'll always be clean. Takes only a few more minutes.

    Wheel Woolies Boar’s Hair Wheel Brush

    I've written this hundreds of times on this forum and shared it in videos and here goes again. First this brush is SAFE on any delicate rims. I like this feature because I know I can recommend it to anyone and it won't damage whatever they have for rims. Besides the safety feature it offers the PERFECT balance of bristles that are not to limp or soft and not to firm or hard. This means it works perfect for agitating your favorite wheel cleaner to fully clean the face of your wheels fast and easy.

    Now remember, I'm talking about MY car's wheels which if you look up to what I previously wrote, the FIRST time I washed this car I spend a lot of time getting the wheels so clean you could eat off of them. Then I coated them. This means that NOW they wash fast and easy but to make the wash fast and easy you still need both a great wheel cleaner to break the surface tension between the brake dust and road grime to the coated rim surface and a great brush to agitate the cleaner and the built-up brake dust and road grime and THIS IS THE BEST BRUSH.

    The next time I wash the wife's car I'll take some dedicated pictures and write a full article and maybe I can get the resources to make a video.

    So to summarize...

    Yes you want to coat your wheels.

    Yes a coating will help to repel brake dust, normal dirty type dust and to some degree road grime but the reality these two things, brake dust and oily road grime will work together to create a build-up or film on any set of wheels within a few weeks of normal driving.

    The good news is if you use a quality coating when you go to wash your wheels, they will wash and dry faster than if you did not coat them. Part of getting your wheels back to clean not only includes the coating side but the cleaning side.

    Make sense?

    Quote Originally Posted by galaxy View Post

    2: And top priority would be appearance. Will one offer more shine/sheen over the other?
    No. Not on a satin finish.

    Also, on our Mercedes-Benz wheels I use

    GTechniq C5 Wheel Armor

    Amazing stuff. It's not that I don't like the PBL Wheel Coating it's just that I used this one first and was so impressed I tend to like to go with what I know.

    Now for the PAINT on our Mercedes-Benz I exclusively use the Pinnacle Black Label Surface Coating and love it and highly recommend it. I use it on the paint, the glass and the headlights, (that's paint glass and plastic, as in SURFACE coating)

    Love this stuff and our Mercedes-Benz always looks not just amazing... but it looks brand spanking new.

    Pinnacle Black Label Diamond Surface Coating

    I have my own technique of using/applying the PBL Surface Coating that makes using it fast and easy. Next time I wash the car and take pictures of how I wash the wheels I will also take pictures showing how I use the PBL Surface Coating on the body and write an article.

    Hope the above helps... took me at least a half hour to type that out and format it in a way that it's easy to read and also includes links to the things that will make your life easy. I could never do this type of answering questions using the Facebook interface.

    Misterpaul likes this.
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