How to clean wheel hubs
In this How-to, I'll show you how I service wheel hubs anytime I have a wheel off a car. Cleaning the mating surface of the wheel hub and rim will ensure the wheel is mounted and torqued correctly, and reduce the risk of the wheel nuts coming loose after install.
Corrosion build up is primarily caused by the reaction of mating two dissimilar metals together. In this case, aluminum rims mounted on a cast iron brake rotor have built up a significant layer of corrosion.
This vehicle was in the shop needed the brake rotors replaced due to rust groove and pitting, but it made for a great example vehicle for this how-to.
-wheel stud cleaner
-angle grinder with soft pad for aluminum
STEP 1: This how-to is assuming you have already raised and supported the vehicle SAFELY, and have removed the wheel(s). Remember to always use Jack stands in pairs.
STEP 2: Using a wheel stud cleaner attached to a drill/impact driver/whichever method you use, clean the area where the portion of the rim that is pressed onto the hub by the wheel nut will be.
STEP 3: Use an angle die grinder with a soft pad to tackle the corrosion between the studs where the stud cleaner couldn't reach.
STEP 4: Use a wire brush to clean around the hub ring. Once everything is clean, apply some antisieze compound around the hub ring. This will prevent future corrosion from building up and prevent the center bore of the rim from seizing onto the hub. Be careful not to get antisieze on the lug studs!
STEP 5: Use your angle grinder again to clean the mating surface of the rim.
*I will edit this how-to when I have a picture of this*
STEP 6: Reinstall the wheel and torque in a star pattern to manufacturer specification using a torque wrench.