When cleaning a car, it’s common for people to neglect the wheel wells. I’m guilty of it myself, more often than not, I just rinse them off as part of the pre-wash stage.
Depending on the type of splash guards or wheel liners that you have, a rinse could be enough. If they’ve been collecting dirt for a long time, or are carpeted, they could probably benefit from being agitated with a brush and some elbow grease.
If you’re willing to jack the car up and take the wheel off a simple scrub brush is more than enough. However, the best wheel well brushes will allow you to clean the wells without having to take any extra steps such as lifting the car.
The Best Wheel Well Brushes
Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s a one size fits all solution to this answer.
The brush you’ll need will vary based on the type of material that the splash guard is made up of. It’ll also depend on the depth of the wheel well, as well as the gap between the wheel and the fender.
Because of this, you’ll find that the best wheel well brush for one job, isn’t necessarily the best for another.
As a result, I’ve listed what I believe to be the best and most useful brushes. Some suggestions may seem a little odd, but they could get you out of a tricky situation.
Mothers Wheel Arch Long Handled Brush
There aren’t many brushes that are designed and dedicated to the cleaning of wheel arches. In-fact, this Mothers brush may be the only one.
At 400mm long, this long-handled brush will allow you to tackle even the deepest of wheel arches. It’ll also help to prevent your hands from getting wet and cold while washing your car.
The handle is even non-slip so you won’t have to worry about it jumping out of your hand while you’re trying to wash your arches. It also comes with a protective rubber bumper just in case it does.
Despite the fact that it claims the bristles are extra soft and scratch-free, I still think they’re pretty strong and could cause damage to painted surfaces. If you’re buying this brush, please, only use it on your splash guards and surfaces that cannot be scratched.
The other thing to keep in mind is the fact that it’s quite a big brush. The plastic is thick and sturdy and the bristles are pretty long too, so it can be hard to get it into the arches of lowered cars.
Overall, the build quality of this brush is great and it has over 1500 positive ratings on amazon. It’s also not going to cost you a whole lot and will be the tool that you use to clean most arches (Especially on SUVs and Trucks).
EZ Detail EZGO Go Brush
The EZ Detail EZGO Brush is a very popular brush. It’s used by many for cleaning wheels, but in this case, I recommend using it for the wheel wells.
What I like most about this brush is that it has a thick and sturdy plastic handle that’s easy to grip and will last for a lifetime.
I also love the fact that the bristles are all around, making it much less effort to clean tight areas. That being said, it can also be an issue.
The main problem I have with this brush is the fact that the bristles are pretty hard. Like the mothers’ brush, EZGO claim that these bristles are soft. Yet, in a lot of reviews, there are people complaining about scratching.
If I was you I’d rather be safe than sorry and use it on surfaces that can’t be scratched with ease, such as your engine bay or wheel arches.
My only other issue is the amount of “splashback” that you get when you pull this brush out of tight spaces. The bristles are pretty firm and will fling product in your direction whenever you pull it out.
But, when it comes to washing your wheel arches and dirty surfaces that you don’t mind taking a harsh brush to, I can’t fault it.
Quickly agitate your wheel wells using this brush before rinsing with a hose or pressure washer and they’ll look as good as new.
Generic Scrub Brush
Having a scrub brush in your detailing arsenal will never let you down. You can use them on any fabric surface as well as plastic wheel liners.
The scrubbing ability that they offer is great and it will really help you to get rid of some of the stubborn dirt that you find in your wheel wells. It’s especially great for wheel liners that are carpeted or are made up of tougher materials.
Now, the problem that you’ll face when using scrub brushes on the wheels wells is that it takes a lot of effort. You’ll have to get down on your knees and be willing to get up close and personal with your car. This is due to their very short handles.
Secondly, it’s only really possible to use scrub brushes on cars that are lifted or sit high on a stock suspension.
There’s almost 0 chance of getting one of these into the wheel wells of a lowered car unless you’re willing to jack it up and take the wheel off.
Despite their potential downsides, they’re incredibly versatile and can also be used on other upholstery when clean. It doesn’t cost much to get a generic scrub brush either. We’re talking anywhere from 2 to 10 bucks.
Chemical Guys Wheel Woolies
The Chemical Guys offer a great selection of products and can back up all the claims that they make. I love the majority of their products and I love these wheel woolies too.
What I love most about these is the fact that the material is so soft, it can be used on all surfaces. Unlike the other brushes I’ve mentioned so far, these are 100% safe to use on paint, chromes, grilles, and even your wheels.
When buying this Chemical Guys set you’ll receive 3 different-sized wheel woolies that will allow you to clean even the hardest to reach areas. The handles will also bend and flex to make it easier to fit into certain spaces.
The main problem I have with these, especially when using them for wheel wells is the fact that they’re so soft. They’re absolutely great for plastic splash guards but are pretty useless on carpeted ones.
Another stumbling point would be the price. Chemical guys is a really well-known brand and these are among the best wheel woolies on the market. While they’re great for cleaning wheels and can be used on the wheel wells, they aren’t specifically designed for cleaning wheel wells.
Making space for bigger brushes
Cleaning the wheel wells of a car that’s been lowered can be almost impossible, even with the smallest of brushes.
If you’re a professional detailer that does a lot of wheel and wheel well cleaning I seriously recommend investing in a floor jack, some jack stands, a breaker bar, and a torque wrench. Having this equipment will allow you to remove and refit wheels.
Taking the wheels off a car will allow you to perform a much deeper clean on the wheel itself as well as the wheel well. It would also give you the option to use drill brushes and other cleaning equipment that you may have.
Not interested in taking the wheels off of a car? You should still purchase a trolley jack (You can buy them for less than $100).
By jacking up the car you will lift the weight of the car off the suspension and cause the wheels to drop. This will open up a much larger space for your hand and brush, making for much easier cleaning.
Finally, to create more space without even needing to lift up the car, you could always turn the steering. Doing this will allow you to gain more access to the back and front of the wheel wells which are the most visible parts of the wells.
Whatever you do. DO NOT NEGLECT THOSE WHEEL WELLS!