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How to Remove Rust from Chrome Trim and Fenders on Your Car or Truck

This is a chrome grill on an Escape. Many newer models have plastic grills.

This is a chrome grill on an Escape. Many newer models have plastic grills.

Chrome Finishes

Here you'll find how to clean and polish chrome. If chrome isn't cared for, it will get rust on it. I'll tell you how to remove the rust.

Chrome is a finish created by electroplating one or more metals onto another metal or plastic. Chrome plating is highly desirable because of its shiny appearance and durability. It is more corrosion-resistant than just nickel plating. Chrome plating is usually applied over a part that has already been nickel plated.

At one time you couldn't find kitchen appliances, store displays, or car bumpers or grills without seeing chrome plated over metal. Most of these items are now plastic, or plastic with a chrome finish plated over it.

You'll find chrome on everything from tools and faucets to automobiles. It is especially popular on high end vehicles and motorcycles. Chromium is very hard, but because it is porous under certain conditions it will corrode. Moisture and salt will cause corrosion.

Keeping the chrome clean and dry will minimize corrosion. Cleaning and polishing it with Gel Gloss or car wax will insure the plating will last for years.

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How to Clean and Shine Chrome

First, use soap and water and a clean soft cloth and scrub off any grease and grime on the chrome. For hard-to-reach places in wheels, use a toothbrush. Completely rinse and dry when you are finished cleaning.

There are many chrome polishes on the market and I'm sure that many of the products work fine. My husband works in the plating industry and he says they use Gel Gloss. It leaves a little protection at the same time. This is a a cleaning wax that is easy to use.

If you can't get Gel Gloss, car wax should work fine. You need to apply two coats.

This is a rusty socket. As you can see, chrome can get rusty if it hasn't been cared for.

This is a rusty socket. As you can see, chrome can get rusty if it hasn't been cared for.

How to Remove Rust

Sometimes just a cloth and some Gel Gloss will remove the rust. This only works in cases where the rust isn't too bad.

If the Gel Gloss doesn't work, use some aluminum foil and get it wet with water. The foil is not as durable as the chrome, so it won't scratch. Crumple the foil and run some water on it. Use this to remove the rust. Always go easy, because you don't want to remove the chrome plating.

Another method often used is steel wool. Steel wool can leave very fine scratches, though, and end up being a lot of work. Be sure to use the very finest steel wool you can get.

If you purchase an antique vehicle, bicycle, or motorcycle and the corrosion is really bad, you can take it to a custom plating shop. It can be expensive, though, to have an item re-polished and re-plated. It does pay to keep chrome in good condition and well cared for.

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