How to Polish Harley Rotors to Make Them Shine Like Chrome
If you want a show-stopping Harley, you'll need to polish every bit of chrome, including the brake rotors. Fortunately, it's fairly easy to polish the rotors without removing them from your bike. But this is a relatively long and involved process, so make sure you set aside a couple of hours to give your rotors the attention they deserve. By the end of this procedure, everyone will be able to see their reflections as you roll by.
- Moderately Easy
- Motorcycle jack
- Car wash soap
- Car wash mitt
- Old towels
- Rubber gloves
- Sandpaper at several different grit levels between 150 and 2000
- Microfiber buffing cloths
- Safety goggles
- Dust mask
- Power drill
- Buffing disc attachment for power drill
- Stainless steel polish
Slide a motorcycle jack under the center of the Harley and pump the handle to raise the bike. Raise it high enough so that you'll be able to position a chair in front of the bike and stabilize the bottoms of the tires with your knees, as this will be the best way to keep the wheels from turning while freeing up your hands.
Mix some liquid car wash soap and water in a bucket, then use the solution to thoroughly wash both rotors with a car wash mitt. When you're done, rinse off the suds and dry the rotors with old towels.
Put on rubber gloves. Fill a bowl with water and grab a piece of your lower-grit sandpaper; anything from 150 grit to 400 grit is suitable for starting, but you should stick to the lower grits if your rotors are really dull and scratched.
Dip the sandpaper in the water and start sanding the rotor surfaces. Sand in one continuous direction around each rotor, and dip the sandpaper back in the water after every 20 seconds or so. Continue sanding until the rotors look noticeably brighter and cleaner all the way around.
Switch to a finer-grit sandpaper between 400 and 800 grit. Sand the rotors just as you did before, only this time sand in the opposite direction.
Continue sanding up to five more times. Each time, switch to a finer grit sandpaper and sand in the opposite direction as the time before.
Wipe down the rotors with a damp towel to mop up any loose particles, then buff them dry with clean microfiber cloths. Make sure the rotors are completely free of loose particles before proceeding.
Lock the polishing disc bit onto the end of your power drill and put on your protective eyewear and dust mask.
Apply the stainless steel polish you've chosen using the method recommended on the polish packaging. There are several different forms of stainless steel polish, and different types work best with different application methods. Typically, the best approach will be to either apply the polish directly to the rotors with a clean cloth or to apply it directly to the polishing disc. Always refer to the polish manufacturer's directions for the best result.
Polish the entire surface area of both rotors by spinning the polishing disc flat against the surface. Polish one small section at a time, making sure that each section is shining to your satisfaction before moving on. This way, you'll get an even shine all the way around. Push the disc into the rotors with some pressure, but not so much pressure that it slows down the drill. If necessary, add more polish as you go.