How To Clean Model Train Locomotive Wheels

Cleaning locomotive wheels can be a very simple task for someone who knows how to do it properly, but it can also get tedious if you have no idea about what you are dealing with. There are many methods you can follow to get your locomotive wheels clean and tidy, but is that necessary? 

Without further ado, let us jump right in and find out. 


Why Might You Need To Clean Your Train Wheels?

Besides having great model trains, amazing scenery and a great layout, there’s one other crucial part that is essential for running your layout; maintenance. A big part of maintenance is making sure your locomotive wheels are clean, so in this article, we’ll run you through a few quick and easy methods that wont cost you an arm and a leg!

The thing we must understand is that in most cases our locomotives are powered through a wireless connection of sorts. The power is delivered by the interfacing of the rails and the locomotive wheels. So for proper power delivery and control of the whole set, the wheels must be kept clean at all times. Otherwise, you may face various kinds of failures and difficulties. There is no way out of cleaning your model train wheels if you want to maintain the best electrical conductivity throughout the operation.

Damp paper towel and alcohol cleaning method

The simplest way to clean your wheels is by using damp paper towel and alcohol, both of which are easily available and convenient to use. There are many alcohol solvents made especially for cleaning purposes. They are not only effective for cleaning wheels but also can be used to clean the rails.

Simply pour some solvent onto the wet paper towel and gently rub the wheels clean. Make sure to be extra careful as the wheels tend to be sensitive and fragile. You will also need to make sure to clean away any excess remaining so the components are dry.

Wire brush track cleaner

You can also opt for a wire brush track cleaner for the job as they not only do they clean both the locomotive wheels and tracks. However, as they also come in various shapes and sizes you need to make sure you get the right brush for the gauge size you will be dealing with.

Why not use turpentine?

A very common question arises when it comes to cleaning model train locomotive wheels is ‘can we use turpentine to clean or not?’

And the answer is a big NO

The turpentine can not only cause corrosion on some material but is also sure to damage your beautiful paint finishes. Given how small the model trains are, this can be a very complicated fix to handle. So when it comes to cleaning your wheels and tracks, steer clear of turpentine.

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