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Simple Steps for Scintillating Wheels

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Everybody knows how to clean a wheel, right? Don’t be so sure. The makers of cleaners and polishes have a few words of advice, some of which are basic, some of which are not.

If the wheel is aluminum, start by washing with water. Even high-pressure water can be used to remove dirt or mud. While the wheel is wet, spray aluminum wheel cleaner evenly over the wheel and wait 10 to 15 minutes until the cleaner works itself into the wheel.

When the wheel becomes white, and the dirt is removed, wash thoroughly with plain water to remove the cleaner. Continue this cycle if necessary. A brush might be used for heavy dirt, but avoid strong brushes, which could cause scratches on the wheel. After rinsing with water, air-dry the wheel.

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After cleaning and drying an aluminum wheel, use polish to recover the aluminum shine. Use a soft cloth and apply a little polish to the wheel surface – about 15 square centimeters at a time.

Rub the polish gently over the surface until the cloth turns black. Concentrate on one small area at a time to keep the polish from drying out. Then, buff the wheel with a dry, clean cloth to revive the shine.

There is one note to add to the process of cleaning an aluminum wheel. Use a mild product or cleaner recommended by the makers of aluminum wheels. Industrial cleaners with coarse aluminum polish may cause degradation, air leaks or scratches.

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With clear-coated, factory painted and chrome wheels, cleaning and polishing methods are different. Have you ever wondered how a body shop always gets wheels so clean? Many professionals use Meguiar’s Wheel Brightener, a concentrated wheel cleaner.

According to Meguiar’s, its brightener removes brake dust, tar, dirt and grime with little or no scrubbing. With a dilution ratio of 4:1, this product is an easy choice for cost-conscious tire dealers. Why? You can get 16 32-ounce bottles of wheel cleaner out of one gallon of Wheel Brightener, says the company.

Importantly, this product is for professional use, so it must be diluted as directed. Do not use on polished aluminum or anodized wheels. For severe accumulation of brake dust, use a wheel brush to agitate the wheel surface. Spray on and let the product sit for 30 to 45 seconds before rinsing, and wash one wheel at a time.

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 Buying a Compressor? Check the Warranty

After determining the brand and type of air compressor you’re going to purchase, be sure to read the fine print. As a general rule, large typeface in a warranty document means the manufacturer has nothing to hide, so there’s no need for a magnifying glass.

One company we checked lays it all out there for your examination. At the very beginning, it clearly states that each of its units comes with a five-year warranty on the compressor pump only and against defects in materials or workmanship under normal use and services. Pretty good.

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It also says this part of its warranty takes effect from the date of installation, or 66 months from the date of shipment to one of its distributors, whichever comes first.

A five-year extended warranty from this compressor manufacturer also covers parts and labor prorated over the five years as follows:

Year One: 100% coverage

Year Two: 90% coverage

Year Three: 80% coverage

Year Four: 70% coverage

Year Five: 60% coverage

This is huge; all of us have paid a small amount of money for a part but a much larger pile of cash for labor costs. A full 90% to 100% warranty for the first two years deserves your attention.

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Digging deeper, we learned that head valves are warranted for year one only. This company makes no warranty on components and/or accessories furnished by third parties, such as electric motors, gasoline engines and controls. Further, electric motors must be equipped with thermal overload protection to have warranty consideration.

Such items are warranted only to the extent of the original manufacturer’s warranty. Our findings also revealed that the extended five-year warranty will apply to ASME air receivers if they are installed on rubber vibro isolator pads or an approved equivalent.

Speaking of electric motors, this company notes clearly that any of its packages purchased after Jan. 1, 2003, built with a Baldor or Toshiba electric motor are warranted for five years from start up, or 63 months from date of shipment. If the customer asks for another type of motor, the requested motor will carry the optional motor manufacturer’s warranty.

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Look also for the U.L. mark on the nameplate of the compressor (It should be there.), and carefully read the limited warranty section. The warranty being reviewed here doesn’t apply to any equipment that has been subject to misuse, neglect or accident or to any equipment that has been repaired or altered by any person(s) not authorized by the manufacturer. That’s clear. Just follow the instructions and enjoy your new air compressor.

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