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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I should preface this with the fact that I live in a very small town, in which there is only one car wash. At the car wash there are obligatory pressure washer bays, vacuum stations, etc. On the other side there is a small bay where they do detailing. I always take the necessary precautions of telling them to only hand wash, not use pressure washers, no simple-green, etc. Today I got my car back with the wierdest film on the wheels. I have the OEM Exige black wheels, so it obviously stands out easily, but I can only compare it to what sweat stains look like on clothing (white/gray, pooling, dripping) I immediately asked what they used, to which they showed me an unmarked, generic spray bottle with mystery fluid inside. I've tried scrubbing with a bristle brush with water and soap, and Turtle Wax wheel cleaner, but it just won't budge. It also looks like it even ate away at the caliper paint too :eek:. Anyone have any experience in this area? Recommendations? Advice? :shrug: I'll take pictures and post them up if it will help. It's a shame to have a beautifully detailed Exige with wheels that look like they've been neglected for months.
 

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Did you open the mystery fluid? What does it smell like? I'm thinking maybe they sprayed acid on the wheels and maybe it ate the finish? But really I have no idea.
 

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I immediately asked what they used, to which they showed me an unmarked, generic spray bottle with mystery fluid inside.
Showing you an unmarked generic spray bottle with mystery fluid certainly did not answer your question of what they used. You need to speak with the manager/supervisor/head detailer/owner etc and hold them responsible for fixing the damage that they have done. Stick to your guns as I'm sure they will deny responsibility etc. If that does fail, file a claim with their insurance company.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Did you open the mystery fluid? What does it smell like? I'm thinking maybe they sprayed acid on the wheels and maybe it ate the finish? But really I have no idea.
I'm really hoping this isnt the case. That would mean my only solution is a harsher abrasive to clear away the marks, right? :shrug: ]

or having the wheels coated :(

I'll try to get pictures up to help explain.
 

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Well, I detailed cars for 3 summers at local car dealers (I wasn't all that good to be honest) and we always used acid on the wheels, but they key was to spray it on and take it off right away. If you left it on too long it would eat at the finishes of the wheels and look pretty bad. However, I don't know if that is what they used or not. If it is indeed acid, my guess is that you would need to repaint them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Showing you an unmarked generic spray bottle with mystery fluid certainly did not answer your question of what they used. You need to speak with the manager/supervisor/head detailer/owner etc and hold them responsible for fixing the damage that they have done. Stick to your guns as I'm sure they will deny responsibility etc. If that does fail, file a claim with their insurance company.
That's where it gets tricky, and mainly through a fault of my own. I was running late, and didn't do that great of an inspection (read: just took my keys and ran) before driving off. My little detail ticket (signed by me, of course) removes all liabiltiy from them once the vehicle is removed from their property. Live and learn, I guess :(
 

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Pictures would help with suggesting a treatment but I definately wouldn't use anything course or harsh. I cringed a little when I read you said you tried scrubbing with a bristle brush. The paint on an Exige wheel is as tricky as the paint on the car.

Without seeing it the only thing that comes to mind that might help is paint cutter/cleaner, swirl remover or claying. Kind of a pain with the intricate deails and impressions in the rims but clay is meant to remove contaminates. But it is really impossible to speculate with any kind of accuracy without pictures.
 

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That looks permanent to me. I know it can be caused by a petroleum-distillate (oil) based tire shine, but even then only after it sits on the wheels for several days. Looks like the clearcoat was burned pretty severely.
 

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Petroleum-distillate is a possibility I guess, but that usually (at least initially) is an oilly/greasy like residue.

Going back to the other theory of acid looks like a possibility too.

My last guess is they used a rim cleaner that contained alkaline in it, it wasn't fully washed off and when the car was driven and rims got hot - it baked it into the finish.

Regardless of what caused this, I hate to say it but this looks permanent and can probably only be corrected by refinishing the wheels - meaning respraying them.

Does any of that white come off on your finger if you touch it? If so - there may be hope, but if you dont get anything come off - I don't know you have much choice.

One last suggestion - and it wont hurt at this point to try this - get some Scratch X (you can get this anywhere from Auto Zone to Wal Mart) or Meguires Professional Swirl Remover (a little more specialized -I don't know what is in your area but paint shops often carry it), put it on a microfiber rag and give it a few coats. If it isn't too deep or etched, that may help but it will take a lot of elbo grease and time.
 

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The petroleum-distillate is an oily residue, but if left on for an extended period can cause the same kind of clear coat clouding that is shown here. It's very important to remove tire shine overspray from these wheels immediately.

The alkaline cleaner theory is probably more relevant, though. Especially since the OP didn't notice the problem when picking up the car.
 

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My two cents:

Does not look like there will be an easy fix if you have already tried recleaning and scrubbing the areas without any change. I agree withe theory it is something caustic left too long.

And I do think you should make loud and long noise if it is the type of business and locality you say. They can't afford the negative publicity of someone who clearly has a unique car for the area.
 

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My two cents:

Does not look like there will be an easy fix if you have already tried recleaning and scrubbing the areas without any change. I agree withe theory it is something caustic left too long.

And I do think you should make loud and long noise if it is the type of business and locality you say. They can't afford the negative publicity of someone who clearly has a unique car for the area.
I agree with him, you should try to get them to fix the problem. If they hadn't left it on so long there wouldn't have been any problems.

Oh, and it looks a lot like they left acid on too long...
 

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Amateur detailer here. Before you put any more products on those wheels (assuming you've already waived liability by signing the ticket), try some automotive clay. Meguiars make some (many others produce it to). It comes in different grades (soft to hard)and is intended to decontaminate your paint surface of tar and rubber deposits prior to polishing it. The hard clay even gets rid of overspray on body panels. Works just as well on wheels.

My Exige wheels had baked on brake dust from various trackdays (and no washes in between), and some "medium" clay managed to remove it. It takes patience but it's worth a go.

Get a recommended online detailing store and pick some clay up along with the following product: "P21S Wheel Gel". That stuff is a simple but highly effective "spray on and leave". Using a decent wheel brush to then agitate the gel through the spokes, and preferably some smaller detailing brushes (an unused paintbrush would make do), could solve your issue.

If none of that works, it's time to get them re-coated, but all the above will cost very little, except of course for your time.

Good luck
 

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Gah! I hate the generic bottle!

Flashback to 2002 right there for me. I drove from Seattle to Chicago for a car meet. My car was silver with gunmetal wheels. It was 100 degrees out when I was there, and I didn't want to wash my car myself, so I did the same thing. I watch my car roll through the auto rinse after the hand wash and i'm lookin' going "why are my wheels black?"

It comes out and my powdercoated gunmetal wheels had black streaks everywhere on 'em. I came unglued, and demanded they show me the wheel product they use.

Sure enough... translucent spray bottle, unmarked except for the masking tape label that said "acido" on it. I gave them two choices, buy new wheels, or wash the wheels enough times to turn them completely black. I drove home with black wheels on my silver car. Had they turned white like yours, they'd never have had the option. That's ridiculous. Best of luck man, and remember when you refinish them, paint. Don't powdercoat. It fatigues the wheels. :(
 

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holy sh*t!! You can't use just any wheel cleaner on the LSS wheels. I'd have them cover the set. Damage looks permanent to me.

What about clay bar? That stuff removed crap from my car that I couldn't get off with paint cleaner and a polisher.
 
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