Exhaust tips are another thing that I treat just like the wheels. Their chrome finish is typically the same as a chrome wheel. The metallic exhaust soot is similar to brake dust. With all of this in mind, I simply give them a squirt of my wheel cleaner when I’m done cleaning the wheels.
For stubborn soot stains, I’ll break out the steel wool. Depending on the situation, I’ll use this with my wheel cleaner, or the soap in my wheel bucket. Keep in mind that even though this is a fine grade of steel wool, it still has the potential to scratch and mar the surface. You’ll probably want to follow up with some type of polish afterward.
For aluminum and stainless steel, I use Autosol. I’ll either polish by hand on a microfiber towel, or use a tool like the Mother’s Powerball. This is mainly for removing oxidation from raw surfaces to bring back a nice shine.
I’ve used other products before, but nothing seems to bring the shine out of chrome for me like Mother’s Chrome Polish. This works great on the chrome parts of a Harley Davidson, exhaust tips, and even some mirror-finish stainless steel. It’s really easy to work with and the excess product buffs off effortlessly. It seems to leave behind some protection as well, which will quickly burn off depending on what you’re using it on. This is very strange, but I swear it smells just like SPF sunblock. Have I been polishing my motorcycle with Coppertone this whole time?!
Once again, I only use cheap microfiber towels for this stuff. Partly because it’s a dirty, contaminated area (exhaust) and partly because any oxidation you remove will turn the towel black. It’s just easier to throw these away than try to care for them.
Next Up: Decontamination/Prep