Gleaming with Pride

| August 02, 2001

Polished aluminum tarnishes easily, but many cleaning products and polishes are available to help keep it looking good. A badly tarnished piece can be restored to a bright finish by buffing with jeweler’s rouge. Some polishes formulated specifically for chrome can react with aluminum and damage the finish. Metal polish should not be used on anything that has been clear-coated because it can remove the coating.

Merrit advises against using a buffer on chrome because the friction created by a rotating pad can quickly wear through the thin chrome plating. “It’s safer not to use a buffer on chrome. Once you cut through the chrome, it’s too late – and you won’t know it until it’s too late. Then the part has to be stripped and replated,” he says. Stainless steel does not gleam like chrome or polished aluminum, but it polishes to a nice shine when it is buffered by any number of metal polishes on the market.

Role Model for Shiny
Owner-operator Darian Stephens, perennial winner of truck beauty contests with his showy, chrome-bedecked 1995 Freightliner Classic XL, has been looking for something to replace Easy Does It, one of the finest polishes for chrome and stainless he has ever found. He used the polish for years, and bought it directly from the man who made it in Fort Worth, Texas, until he lost touch with him, says Stephens.

“I like a polish that I can apply and keep going, polishing as much as I can before coming back to wipe off the haze,” says Stephens. “You shouldn’t have to stand there and rub off the polish marks. And it shouldn’t leave an oily residue that you have to keep wiping. Easy Does It was ideal, and I can’t find anything that works like it did.”

Stephens has his truck professionally buffed and detailed two or three times a year at Mirror Images in Oklahoma City. “They use jeweler’s rouge to bring out a high luster to the aluminum. Then, all I have to do is maintain it,” he explains. Most recently, he has been using Car Glow on the chrome and stainless.

Taking good care of his brightwork paid off for Stephens last November at the Great American Trucking Show Pride & Polish contest. He was declared Overall Winner in the Chrome Corner category, and he took first place in the Engine category.

Stephens prefers California Custom polish to keep up the aluminum on the truck, which has gone more than 847,000 miles in the last six years, hauling meat for National Carriers out of Liberal, Kan. To clean and bring back the mirror finish of polished chrome, he sprays it with Windex and dries it with a paper towel. In the winter, to protect the chromed parts on the undercarriage from road chemicals, he applies polish and leaves it on without buffing it.

Stephens is careful about where he has the truck washed. “Make sure the truck wash does not use any real harsh chemicals and brighteners because they can streak and stain your stainless steel and aluminum,” he says.

Carol Watson, manager of America’s Truck Wash & Chrome Shop, off I-70 (Exit 11) near Wheeling, W.Va., knows what harsh detergents and washing chemicals can do to a truck’s bright metal. “We use a milder formula, similar to Dawn dishwashing soap. It won’t leave brown spots or mark stainless steel, and it won’t dull polished fuel tanks,” she says. The truck wash facility, which washes approximately 8,000 trucks a week, does not use recycled water, says Watson, which can dull shiny metal.

In the chrome shop, Watson displays chrome and other bright accessories much like a jeweler displays jewelry. “That’s what it is, truck jewelry,” she says. “Chrome makes your truck look good and makes you feel better about it – and it helps you take pride in what you do.” The shop sells many triple-chromed, “show-quality” accessories. “You get what you pay for in chrome. The heavier plating lasts longer.”

Zephyr metal polish is popular among Watson’s customers. Other popular brands are Hoosier Metal Polish, Freedom Alumina-Shine, MFX Jeweler’s Rouge, Freedom Micro-Seal Polish & Sealant, Magic Mix wax and polishes and California Custom products.

Wheels are produced from various metals and finishes, including anodized aluminum, polished aluminum, machined aluminum and chromed steel. Select a cleaner formulated for your particular wheels, advises Eagle One, a manufacturer of metal cleaners, polishes, waxes and tire dressings.

Gleaming with Pride

| August 02, 2001

Polished aluminum tarnishes easily, but many cleaning products and polishes are available to help keep it looking good. A badly tarnished piece can be restored to a bright finish by buffing with jeweler’s rouge. Some polishes formulated specifically for chrome can react with aluminum and damage the finish. Metal polish should not be used on anything that has been clear-coated because it can remove the coating.

Merrit advises against using a buffer on chrome because the friction created by a rotating pad can quickly wear through the thin chrome plating. “It’s safer not to use a buffer on chrome. Once you cut through the chrome, it’s too late – and you won’t know it until it’s too late. Then the part has to be stripped and replated,” he says. Stainless steel does not gleam like chrome or polished aluminum, but it polishes to a nice shine when it is buffered by any number of metal polishes on the market.

Role Model for Shiny
Owner-operator Darian Stephens, perennial winner of truck beauty contests with his showy, chrome-bedecked 1995 Freightliner Classic XL, has been looking for something to replace Easy Does It, one of the finest polishes for chrome and stainless he has ever found. He used the polish for years, and bought it directly from the man who made it in Fort Worth, Texas, until he lost touch with him, says Stephens.

“I like a polish that I can apply and keep going, polishing as much as I can before coming back to wipe off the haze,” says Stephens. “You shouldn’t have to stand there and rub off the polish marks. And it shouldn’t leave an oily residue that you have to keep wiping. Easy Does It was ideal, and I can’t find anything that works like it did.”

Stephens has his truck professionally buffed and detailed two or three times a year at Mirror Images in Oklahoma City. “They use jeweler’s rouge to bring out a high luster to the aluminum. Then, all I have to do is maintain it,” he explains. Most recently, he has been using Car Glow on the chrome and stainless.

Taking good care of his brightwork paid off for Stephens last November at the Great American Trucking Show Pride & Polish contest. He was declared Overall Winner in the Chrome Corner category, and he took first place in the Engine category.

Stephens prefers California Custom polish to keep up the aluminum on the truck, which has gone more than 847,000 miles in the last six years, hauling meat for National Carriers out of Liberal, Kan. To clean and bring back the mirror finish of polished chrome, he sprays it with Windex and dries it with a paper towel. In the winter, to protect the chromed parts on the undercarriage from road chemicals, he applies polish and leaves it on without buffing it.

Stephens is careful about where he has the truck washed. “Make sure the truck wash does not use any real harsh chemicals and brighteners because they can streak and stain your stainless steel and aluminum,” he says.

Carol Watson, manager of America’s Truck Wash & Chrome Shop, off I-70 (Exit 11) near Wheeling, W.Va., knows what harsh detergents and washing chemicals can do to a truck’s bright metal. “We use a milder formula, similar to Dawn dishwashing soap. It won’t leave brown spots or mark stainless steel, and it won’t dull polished fuel tanks,” she says. The truck wash facility, which washes approximately 8,000 trucks a week, does not use recycled water, says Watson, which can dull shiny metal.

In the chrome shop, Watson displays chrome and other bright accessories much like a jeweler displays jewelry. “That’s what it is, truck jewelry,” she says. “Chrome makes your truck look good and makes you feel better about it – and it helps you take pride in what you do.” The shop sells many triple-chromed, “show-quality” accessories. “You get what you pay for in chrome. The heavier plating lasts longer.”

Zephyr metal polish is popular among Watson’s customers. Other popular brands are Hoosier Metal Polish, Freedom Alumina-Shine, MFX Jeweler’s Rouge, Freedom Micro-Seal Polish & Sealant, Magic Mix wax and polishes and California Custom products.

Wheels are produced from various metals and finishes, including anodized aluminum, polished aluminum, machined aluminum and chromed steel. Select a cleaner formulated for your particular wheels, advises Eagle One, a manufacturer of metal cleaners, polishes, waxes and tire dressings.

Comments are closed.