How to Remove Rust From Hubcaps

by Kelly TownsendUpdated October 25, 2017
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Items you will need

  • Aluminum foil

  • Steel wool

  • Drill

  • Brass wire wheel

  • Muriatic acid

If you have inspected your car and found rust on your hubcaps, several methods can help remove it. Not only is rust unattractive, but it will eventually disintegrate the metal in your hubcap and expose those vital studs to the elements.

Remove the hubcap from the wheel. It is imperative that you inspect the hubcap inside and out. Looks are deceiving and rust is one heck of a liar. A lot of rust can be an indication of a deeper problem.

Rub it with aluminum foil. Once the extent of the rust problem has been determined we can move on to eliminating it. When confronted with minimal rusting, a simple and inexpensive way to remove said rust consists of rubbing a piece of aluminum foil dipped in water against the affected surface.

Buff out with steel wool. Applying polishing paste and buffing with a fine steel wool should take care of your rust problem. Some people prefer using brass instead of steel to prevent any scratches, but given brass wool is not always available, fine steel wool is as good an option as any.

Use a brass wire wheel. If you've tried gently buffing the rust off with a steel wool but the rust isn't coming off, you can use a brass wire wheel. Simply grab your trusty power drill, combine it with a brass wire wheel. Finish it off by buffing with a fine steel wool and some rubbing compound.

Apply muriatic acid as a last resort to remove stubborn rust. It is very aggressive and although it will remove rust, it may also damage the finish of your hubcap. Mix 10 parts water to one part acid. Wear rubber gloves and apply the muriatic acid with a cloth. Add more muriatic acid to the solution if the rust is still resistant.


Don't go overboard with the brass wire wheel or muriatic acid. You don't want to damage the hubcap itself.

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