Friday, July 8, 2016

Quick Review: Chemical Guys Diablo Gel Wheel & Rim Cleaner (Honorable Mention: CarPro Iron-X)

As a follow up on my previous post on wheel cleaners (that are either too acidic or too basic) I have been in search for a pH neutral wheel cleaner. After reading a few reviews and some recommendations, I decided to get my hands on Chemical Guys Diablo Gel Wheel & Rim Cleaner.

This gel cleaner comes in a translucent red thick liquid with a strong cherry scent. Think cough syrup. I got this from Lazada and it costs me around RM150. Yup, it is not cheap but given the fact that it is to be diluted 1:3, a 16oz bottle will give me 64oz of ready to use wheel cleaner. If I were to compare with the most expensive wheel cleaner that I have on hand (Autoglym Custom Wheel Cleaner RM72/500ml or RM4.24/oz), Diablo is RM2.34/oz. Still acceptable.

So let's move on to the manufacturer's descriptions for Chemical Guys Diablo Gel Wheel & Rim Cleaner.

  • Safe for all wheels
  • Easily and safely lifts brake dust, dirt and contamination
  • No need for rubbing and scrubbing that can scratch and damage surfaces
  • Efficiently looses and lifts contaminants
  • 100% pH balanced and neutral

Chemical Guys Diablo Gel Wheel & Rim Cleaner

The main reason for me getting this wheel cleaner is that it is stated to be pH neutral.

I went ahead and diluted this wheel cleaner with 3 part water and 1 part gel. The results are as shown below.

pH neutral Chemical Guys Diablo Gel Wheel and Rim Cleaner

It was in the range of pH5-6. So it is not pH neutral after all. pH neutral should give a result of pH7.

"WAIT! Hold it right there", I thought to myself. Maybe it has something to do with the water. So, to be fair, I checked the pH level of the water.

As it turns out, the water supply to my place is slightly acidic (soft water). Unlike waterless wash where I used RO or distilled water, I used tap water for this wheel cleaner. My logic is simple. Wheels are exposed to hasher environments with heavier road grime and hot brake dusts. So there is no point for me to go OCD about them. However, if you have access to cost-effective distilled or RO water, you could use them.

Okay, with the acidic water source and the same pH level with or without Diablo Gel, I give the benefit of doubt to Chemical Guys. Diablo Gel is pH neutral. Yay! Do watch this post as I might dilute this cleaner with RO water and check the pH again in future.

Besides pH neutral, Diablo Gel is a good wheel cleaner with quite a lot of suds. Cleaning ability is comparable to my other wheel cleaners. It tends to stick on wheels surfaces and not runoff like other wheel cleaners. I think that helps in encapsulating the dirt. It lives up to the manufacturer's claim of lifting up the dirt.

I think I will be looking for gallon form of this Diablo Gel in the near future..

Honorable Mention: CarPro Iron-X

Technically, CarPro Iron-X is not a wheel cleaner but because of its ability to release trapped iron particles on surfaces, there are some detailers that use it for wheel cleaning. This product comes in ready to use form, so no dilution is needed. When sprayed on to car surfaces (yes this can be used on painted surfaces) or wheels, it will turn pinkish-purplish when it comes into contact with iron particles. It then release the particles from the surfaces and sort of dissolves the particle. This, to me is a strong decontaminant. I will sometimes use this on lower side of the car during a full wash.

On the bottle, it is claimed to be pH neutral but its it really? Let us see what the manufacturer claimed for CarPro Iron-X.

  • Removes Iron Particles and prevents the spread of iron-related damage & helps to protect your vehicle from paint system failure.
  • New Formula combines Cherry perfume to aid in masking Iron Dissolving Chemicals
  • Safe to use, Acid Free, and pH neutral (pH 6-7).
  • Safe to use on Clear Coat Paint
  • Safe to use on Aluminum, Chrome, Alloy, or Clear coated wheels.
  • Safe for use on all solid car surfaces and will not deteriorate clear coats. (Avoid using on Fabric Convertible tops)

CarPro Iron-X

CarPro Iron-X is acidic!

Okay, from my own test, this seems to be in pH5. Unlike Diablo Gel, this product is ready to use and no dilution is needed. So, no soft water effect here. This product is confirmed to be slightly acidic here.

A long time ago, I did use this as a wheel cleaners. However, I noticed that it would "oxidized" untreated brake calipers and even wheel nuts (after the coating had worn off due to wear and tear). Those untreated surfaces would turn greyish-blackish and unable to wash off. Most Japanese cars (and all local cars) here in Malaysia have untreated brake calipers. With that, I stopped using CarPro Iron-X as a wheel cleaner.

CarPro Iron-X corrodes untreated metal

The manufacturer claimed that this comes with a cherry perfume but trust me, the strong chemical smell will overpower the cherry perfume. This smells like a combination of rotten egg and hair perming chemical!

There you have it, pH neutral wheel cleaners.

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