Surely an area that nobody gives much care to during the washing stage is the inner wheel arches, just behind the wheels. Most car wheels fill these arches quite well, but they're still there and can easily become filthy, especially during the winter months.
Inner wheel arches bear the brunt of what's flung from a tyre, meaning it can quickly fill up with mud, road tar, grease and even road salt (a death sentence for any rust-prone classic).
While most modern cars are designed to cope with muddy inner arches and have plastic arch liners, there is a potential that these contaminants may eventually lead to corrosion if not adequately cleaned.
So for this reason (and aesthetics), we recommend periodically cleaning the inner arches of your car to ensure that there no rot has taken hold and keep everything nice and protected. While removing the wheel and using a generic brush is an option, we recommend saving some time by using a long-handled wheel arch brush that can simply clean around the wheel.
The best wheel arch brushes
Mothers Wheel Arch Long Handled Brush
The best wheel arch brush
Boasting a 400mm long handle, Mothers Wheel Arch Brush nabs our top pick for cleaning the inner arches of your wheels. That long handle will make cleaning every inch of an inner wheel arch a doddle while the soft bristles will ensure that mud is removed without leaving any nasty scratches behind. We also like the rubber-edged design that'll stop scratching and ergonomic grip.
JVL Comfortable Grip Car Cleaning Wheel Brush Set
The best budget wheel arch brush
A solid option if you're on a budget, this twin pack will give you a long brush for your arches and a wheel face brush at a very tempting price. Both brushes feature soft bristles to limit scratch risks and rubber bumpers to keep the wheel safe in the event of a collision. The long wheel brush is a similar design to the Mothers option, albeit flimsier and with an overall cheaper fit and finish. Still, for the money, it's worth considering.
Auto Finesse Arch Blaster
The best wheel arch brush for narrow arches
Designed for smaller arch openings, this brush from Auto Finesse has a larger head for a bigger cleaning area and makes use of durable but soft bristles to remove dirt without being a scratch risk. The shorter handle limits the usefulness for deeper wheel arches but makes navigating a smaller arch a lot easier. Just be warned that the shorter handle also means your knuckles are at risk if you slip or are slightly over-enthusiastic in your scrubbing.
What you should look for in a good wheel arch brush:
The handle - The biggest consideration has to be the length of the handle. Wheel arches can be rather deep and for the sake of your hands, a longer handle will stop you from bashing them into the hard surfaces that make up the exterior of a car.
Material - The bristles don't need to be hard at all for cleaning the inner arches of a car, a relatively soft set will be more than enough to cut through mud and other contaminants. Almost every car on sale today will use plastic for part of the inner arch and harsher bristles risk leaving nasty scratches in the finish.
Extras - Prioritise ergonomics; a grippy, rubberised handle will be far easier to use once your hands are wet from cleaning. Also look for a rubber bumper of the brush head which will prevent scratches in the event the brush comes into contact with the wheel.
What about carpet-lined wheel arches?
Carpeted wheel arch liners aren't uncommon and are effective sound deadeners and can easily shrug off stones and other debris. However, they do have a habit of becoming caked in mud that can be difficult to remove. A wheel arch brush will help loosen this embedded dirt, but a good pre-wash will inevitably make the process easier.
Anyone familiar with the inner arches of the original Ford Puma will know that carpeted liners can hold moisture that'll lead to terminal levels of rust in crucial areas, like suspension mounting points.
As such, be wary of oversaturating them with water and cleaning products, a quick spray with pre-wash and scrub with an arch brush should clean them nicely without risking rust.