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How to Remove Rust from Chrome Trim and Fenders on Your Car or Truck

Updated on May 1, 2018
This is a chrome grill on an Escape. Many newer models have plastic grills.
This is a chrome grill on an Escape. Many newer models have plastic grills. | Source

Chrome Finishes

Here you'll find how to clean and polish chrome. If chrome isn't cared for, it will get rust on it. I'll tell you how to remove the rust.

Chrome is a finish accomplished by electroplating one or more metals onto another metal or plastic. Chrome plating is highly desirable because of its shiny appearance and durability. Tt is more corrosive resistant than just nickle plating and also used for durability. Chrome plating is usually applied over a part that has already been nickle plated.

At one time you couldn't find kitchen appliances, store displays, car bumpers and grills without seeing chrome plated over metal. Most of these items are now plastic or plastic with a chrome finish plated over it.

You'll find chrome on everything from tools, faucets, to automobiles. It is especially popular on high end vehicles and motorcycles. Chromium is very hard, but because it is porous under certain conditions it will corrode. Moisture and salt will cause corrosion.

Keeping the chrome clean and dry will minimize corrosion. Cleaning and polishing it with Gel Gloss or car wax will insure the plating will last for years.

by Chemical Guys, Youtube

How to Clean and Shine Chrome

First, use soap and water and a clean soft cloth and scrub off any grease and grime on the chrome. For hard to reach places in wheels, use a toothbrush. Completely rinse and dry when you are finished cleaning.

There are many chrome polishes on the market and I'm sure that many of the products work fine. My husband works in the plating industry and he says they use Gel Gloss. It leaves a little protection at the same time. This is a a cleaning wax that is easy to use.

If you can't get the Gel gloss, just using car wax should work fine. You need to apply two coats.

This is a rusty socket. As you can see, chrome can get rusty if it hasn't been cared for.
This is a rusty socket. As you can see, chrome can get rusty if it hasn't been cared for. | Source

How to Remove Rust

Sometimes just a cloth and some Gel Gloss will remove the rust. This only works in cases where the rust isn't too bad.

If the Gel Gloss doesn't work, use some aluminum foil and get it wet with water. The foil is not as durable as the chrome, so it won't scratch. Crumple the foil and run some water on it. Use this to remove the rust. Always go easy, because you don't want to remove the chrome plating.

Another method often used, is using the finest steel wool that you can find. Steel wool can leave very fine scratches though and can end up being a lot of work. Be sure to get the finest steel wool you can find.

If you purchase an antique vehicle, bicycle, or motorcycle and the corrosion is really bad it can be taken to a custom plating shop. It can be expensive to have an item re-polished and re-plated. It does pay to keep chrome in good condition and well cared for due to the expense to have it re-plated, because the price can be high.


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    • Barbara Kay profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Badder 

      7 years ago from USA

      Sheri Faye, Be sure that your wheels are chrome. A lot of them are aluminum now. Thanks for reading.

    • Sheri Faye profile image

      Sheri Dusseault 

      7 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      Interesting. I will try this on the wheels fo my truck. Thanks

    • Barbara Kay profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Badder 

      7 years ago from USA

      Bill, It is a Ford Escape. We love it, but miss the Ford Ranger we traded in for it. It doesn't have the bed in the back. Too bad my husband traded it in. He didn't get much out of it either. Thanks for reading.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      7 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Great tips. That looks like a Ford Ranger in the picture. Just happens to be my favorite truck. :) Thanks for the information and I hope you are having a great Sunday.


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