Detailing Front Suspension and Wheel Wells

Washing and detailing front suspension components as well as the front wheel wells is a great weekend DIY project that shouldn't take more than a couple of hours. Of course the cleaner the components are, the easier it is, but even if they are super dirty that's what degreasers were invented for.

You will need to procure a few items if you don't have them available and they include:

  • A floor jack
  • One or two jack stands (if you plan to do both sides at the same time)
  • Wheel chocks (or at least a piece of scrap 2x4)
  • 3/4" socket, short extension, and breaker bar (or a 4-way lug wrench)
  • Shop rags or paper towels
  • Disposable nitrile gloves
  • A good cleaner/degreaser
  • A stiff parts brush
  • Garden hose and access to clean tap water
  • A detailing spray (I used Turtle Wax Clean and Shine)

I did not want to get my portable QuickJack lift wet, so I used my floor jack and a jack stand and did the left side wheel well.

If you don't have a good breaker bar, get one! I bought the one above at Harbor Freight Tools a while ago. They are of great quality and affordable! Find a 20% off coupon and save even more.

I loosened the lug nuts, then raised the car and removed the wheel. I then sprayed water to remove any loose road grime from the suspension, control arm dust shield, and the wheel skirt, followed by a heavy coat of engine degreaser.

There are many products available that will clean most of the dirt and contaminants, but use a degreaser that will be safe on plastics and rubber parts. I've used Gunk Engine Degreaser to clean wheel wells and suspension components in the past with great results. I've also had similar results with Simple Green, but I just happened to have a can of Gunk handy.

I've also heard that Chemical Guys offers a product called Orange Degreaser which I have not tried yet, but it sounds a lot like one of the many citrus-based degreasers available, such as Citrus Magic Heavy Duty Cleaner/Degreaser.

Back to work! I allowed the engine degreaser to work its magic for about five minutes, then scrubbed as many things as I was able to reach with the small parts brush.

The photo below shows a portion of the A-arm before I washed and detailed the whole area. And even though it looks okay, for the most part, you can also see plenty of dirt on it. Actually, the whole area was covered with dirt and grime, and I suspect most cars look just as bad.

Several years ago, I applied Herculiner to the front wheel wells, control arms, and portions of the frame. It's helped keep things rust-free and looking okay, but I would like to redo the frame portion by scraping off the undercoating, then sanding and repainting it one of these days. I would also like to apply a fresh coat of either undercoating or truck bedliner to the wheel liners (or skirts), so stay tuned!

After scrubbing everything, I rinsed the whole area thoroughly and went over it with a shop rag to remove excess water, then allowed it to air dry for a good 20 minutes.

Once it was dry, I gave it a once-over with a clean rag and then sprayed everything (excluding caliper and rotor) with Turtle Wax Clean and Shine with decent results.

With this side finished, I re-installed the rim. Now I have to do the other side.

Even though everything looks pretty good, I'd like it to look even better. The wheel well walls, control arms, and exposed frame sections have a faded black look to them which does not look great in my opinion.

So, and after a little bit of online sleuthing, I learned about Bare Bones Premium Dark Shine Spray for Undercarriage by Chemical Guys.

The product is supposed to "protect and enhance the underside of the vehicle," so I'll go ahead and order a bottle to see what kind of results it yields.

Thank you for following my '76 Vette Blog!

Product Links... (#sponsored)
Disposable Nitrile Gloves. Powder Free, 5 mils, Large, Black (Box of 100)
Citrus Magic Heavy Duty Cleaner/Degreaser, 32-Ounce
Turtle Wax Quick & Easy Clean & Shine
Chemical Guys Bare Bones Premium Dark Shine Spray for Undercarriage
Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner (Three 32oz Spray Bottles)