This document proposes methods for the testing and evaluation of aluminum wheel and wheel trim surface finishes for compatibility with various types of tire, wheel and car wash cleaning materials, and other chemicals that might come into contact with these automotive components. It is recognized that each end user of this methodology might seek answers to questions that are unique to his business or situation. Therefore, the procedure is written in a generic sequence that could be strictly followed, repeated, or modified in order to provide the user with the best results. Example decision tree are provided to help the user select a sequence of exposure steps that would best suit his needs, (reference Figures 1, 2). This procedure should not be utilized if the intent is to evaluate the compatibility of wheel finishes to any flammable products, because those chemistries would require special laboratory safety and handling precautions.
The rationale for this test method is to establish a common method to assess the compatibility of chemicals on wheels and wheel trim. The method may also provide a means to develop new products that are preferred for their compatibility with a wide range of wheels and wheel trim applications. This methodology could be utilized for the following objectives:
a. Develop finishes for improved resistance to degradation caused by prolonged exposure to automatic car wash chemicals, on-the-shelf retail cleaning chemicals and single ingredients found in these cleaning chemicals.
b. Optimize cleaner chemistry, for compatibility with state-of-the-art wheel and wheel trim finishes.
c. Determine the degradation modes that might occur when a finish is exposed to wheel/tire cleaners, for prolonged periods of time and/or temperature.
d. Evaluate the effects of various ingredients, and various concentrations of ingredients used in cleaners, on their compatibility with various wheel finishes, when exposed for prolonged periods of time and temperature.
e. To rank the compatibility of cleaners and wheel finishes, for various degrees of exposure, i.e., various times and temperatures.
This procedure cannot be used to determine the effectiveness of a cleaner to remove foreign materials from a wheel finish. This procedure does not simulate all end user variables when it comes to cleaning wheels.