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  1. #1
    Super Member Desertnate's Avatar
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    The power of a normal wheel cleaner: Griots Garage Wheel Cleaner

    Simple, regular-strength wheel cleaners don't get much attention these days, and I think the Griots Wheel Cleaner is really an overlooked gem. I've been using the Griots for a couple years now and I'm on my third gallon jug. I like it that much.

    In addition to doing a quick review of this great wheel cleaner, I thought I'd show how well a regular wheel cleaner will work on some seriously nasty wheels. There is a time and place for products like Meguiars Wheel Brightener or Brown Royal, but in the spirit of using the least aggressive approach first I'd encourage everyone to try a regular strength cleaner first. You might be surprised by the level of cleaning power.

    Now on with the wheels:

    A few weeks ago I delaminated the outer tread blocks on one of my front tires following an autocross event. For several years, I ran events on my regular wheel/tire sets, but soon realized I was tearing through tires faster than I should and by running a staggered wheel set on normal summer tires I was giving up several seconds to my competitors. So I went in search of a dedicated set of wheels and tires in a square set up. This lead me to stumble across a screaming deal on a used set in a city not far away. While the wheels and the sticky tires were exactly what I needed, they were a bit, ummm....grimy. I understand these are race wheels and you aren't gong to show them the same love as a set you drive on daily, but these were so bad you couldn't touch them without turning your hands black with brake dust!

    Here is what they looked like after I brought them home. The previous owner wiped down the faces, but hadn't touched the barrels...maybe ever.




    After giving the barrels a good spray down with the Griots Wheel Cleaner, I found the 50/50 to look pretty amazing. The wheel cleaned up pretty effortlessly.



    The wheels were then finished off front and back, and here are the results. I bet they haven't looked this good since the owner pulled them out of the box!





    I will freely admit there were a few globs of rubber and tar from the track which the wheel cleaner didn't remove, but I wouldn't expect it to. A little Stoner's Tarminator and those were easily removed as well. Also, two of the wheels were oddly dirtier than the others. The dust looked no different than the one I pictured, but after the first cleaning there were areas on the barrels that simply wouldn't come off. I spot cleaned them with a bottle of Meguiars Hot Wheels Chrome Cleaner after Eldorado2K letting me know it's the consumer form of Wheel Brightener. That stuff is SERIOUSLY strong, and knocked out those trouble spots like they were nothing. No way I'd use that stuff on a regular basis, but it does serve a purpose!
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  3. #2
    Super Member Klasse Act's Avatar
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    Re: The power of a normal wheel cleaner: Griots Garage Wheel Cleaner

    I love Griot's Garage and have been a customer since 2005. Their wheel cleaner was one of the first products I tried from them and I loved it! I can't quite explain it but I love the smell of itThe power of a normal wheel cleaner:  Griots Garage Wheel Cleaner As you know it's not fruity or anything like that, I just like it.

    For me though it's just basic economics. Brake Buster in an IK foamer is my go to for maintence wheel cleanings. This said, if Griot's Garage ever makes a wheel cleaner geared towards a foamer, I'll be trying it and if the price is close, I may be switching over (hope it has that additive that slows down the rusty rotors)

    In closing I do agree with you, it is over looked and if someone isn't into a foaming wheel cleaner, this product can't be beat...PERIOD The power of a normal wheel cleaner:  Griots Garage Wheel Cleaner

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  5. #3
    Super Member Desertnate's Avatar
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    Re: The power of a normal wheel cleaner: Griots Garage Wheel Cleaner

    It does have a nice scent that's hard to place other than it's "pleasant". I typically don't pay attention, but I know some people do. Should have mentioned that.

    Why are you such a fan of the foaming wheel cleaners? Is it due to dwell time? I typically just spray my wheels with the cleaners and start brushing them, so there is no real dwell time. The sprayer I use puts out a pretty good mist, so it stays on the surfaces without running too badly. Once my brush gets a good amount of cleaner on it, it serves as a product carrier too.
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  7. #4
    Super Member MisterSnoop's Avatar
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    Re: The power of a normal wheel cleaner: Griots Garage Wheel Cleaner

    Quote Originally Posted by Desertnate View Post
    The sprayer I use puts out a pretty good mist, so it stays on the surfaces without running too badly. Once my brush gets a good amount of cleaner on it, it serves as a product carrier too.
    Not using one of the Griot's sprayers? I did think their heavy duty wheel cleaner stayed put better than the regular wheel cleaner.

  8. #5
    Super Member Klasse Act's Avatar
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    Re: The power of a normal wheel cleaner: Griots Garage Wheel Cleaner

    Quote Originally Posted by Desertnate View Post
    It does have a nice scent that's hard to place other than it's "pleasant". I typically don't pay attention, but I know some people do. Should have mentioned that.

    Why are you such a fan of the foaming wheel cleaners? Is it due to dwell time? I typically just spray my wheels with the cleaners and start brushing them, so there is no real dwell time. The sprayer I use puts out a pretty good mist, so it stays on the surfaces without running too badly. Once my brush gets a good amount of cleaner on it, it serves as a product carrier too.
    Price and dwell time, plus it's fun and get to use a designated toolThe power of a normal wheel cleaner:  Griots Garage Wheel Cleaner

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  9. #6
    Super Member Desertnate's Avatar
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    Re: The power of a normal wheel cleaner: Griots Garage Wheel Cleaner

    Quote Originally Posted by MisterSnoop View Post
    Not using one of the Griot's sprayers?
    Nope. I buy wheel cleaner by the gallon and not in the individual spray bottles. I do like their spray bottles, though. I re-used one I had on hand until it wore out. After that, I picked up a bag of no-name chemical resistant spray bottles off Amazon for cheap and use them for stuff like QD spray, wheel cleaner, bug remover, etc. They work great and are really durable.
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  11. #7
    Super Member dcjredline's Avatar
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    Re: The power of a normal wheel cleaner: Griots Garage Wheel Cleaner

    So which GG wheel cleaner are we talking about? The green? I tried it back before I turned "professional" and wanst impressed. Maybe I didnt have the right tools/technique. Id be willing to give it another try if you got those wheels mostly that clean with just the plain green GG wheel cleaner.
    "Dirt likes detergent so much better than the surface that it's attached to, it'll leave that surface to go hang out with the soap"...aim4squirrels

  12. #8
    Super Member Klasse Act's Avatar
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    Re: The power of a normal wheel cleaner: Griots Garage Wheel Cleaner

    Yes we are talking about the green but since then they've added the heavy duty wheel cleaner for more stubborn wheelsThe power of a normal wheel cleaner:  Griots Garage Wheel CleanerThe power of a normal wheel cleaner:  Griots Garage Wheel CleanerThe power of a normal wheel cleaner:  Griots Garage Wheel Cleaner

    Sent from my SM-G991U using Tapatalk
    2018 Hyundai Elantra Sport...coated, finally!
    JUN B.L.axle-back/SXTH Element CPLT intake & catch can
    Some say..."He likes Swedish fish because they're made with caranuba wax"

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  14. #9
    Super Member Desertnate's Avatar
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    Re: The power of a normal wheel cleaner: Griots Garage Wheel Cleaner

    Quote Originally Posted by dcjredline View Post
    So which GG wheel cleaner are we talking about? The green? I tried it back before I turned "professional" and wanst impressed. Maybe I didnt have the right tools/technique. Id be willing to give it another try if you got those wheels mostly that clean with just the plain green GG wheel cleaner.
    Quote Originally Posted by Klasse Act View Post
    Yes we are talking about the green but since then they've added the heavy duty wheel cleaner for more stubborn wheelsThe power of a normal wheel cleaner:  Griots Garage Wheel CleanerThe power of a normal wheel cleaner:  Griots Garage Wheel CleanerThe power of a normal wheel cleaner:  Griots Garage Wheel Cleaner
    Klasse nailed it. Yes, this is the regular, green wheel cleaner, the green stuff, not the clear, color changing product labeled as "Heavy Duty".

    After trying a few wheel cleaners over the years I've settled on the regular Griots Wheel cleaner as being "just right" for me. It's not too harsh, and not too mild. On this nasty job it was 90% effective and I only had to resort to something more harsh for a few trouble areas.

    As for technique, I don't do anything special. I rinse off the wheel, and then spray the wheel cleaner on every surface. On my daily wheels in good shape and on the vehicle, I'll immediately go after them with my SpeedMaster brush and a soft wheel brush I found at WalMart. On the wheels used for this review, I let the cleaner sit for about 30 seconds. From there I went after the barrels and backside of the spokes with an old Mothers wheel brush I'd demoted to engine bay duty and used the soft wheel brush for the facing surfaces.
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