Here's another question I get asked alot... "Should I sand my rims?"
There's Several answers to that question, and hopefully I can shed some light on most of your concerns.
"MY Rim is in great shape" I still see a reflection...
The short answer is YES you should sand. Sanding no matter what state your rim is will always yield better clarity. with this rim in the picture above you can definitely get away with not sanding, it will have a great shine and look really good but if you're picky and want optimum clarity sanding 400, 600 and 1000 then using The Ultimate Heavy cut Kit to polish will get you the high end result you want.
"I got them polished last year, they've been through the winter with the occasional wash."
When rims are in this shape of course sanding 320, 400, 600 and 1000 will yield the best clarity but you can get away with a very decent shine and one step polish by using either an SOS pad or These High Strength buffing discs to clean the rim up first. Then a quick One Step polish at 6000 rpm with the orange/yellow blend airway and 439T Green Menzerna. And a quick hand wipe with the Blue Flash... This is the process I use for 75-80% of my customers. Completed rim Below
"I usually polish my rims every year but I use acid..."
First let me start by saying that Acid is bad very BAD for aluminum... it might be a "quick" way to clean up your truck but it does WAY more harm then good.
When rims are in this shape they absolutely need to be sanding to get any type of shine are clarity. if all you're looking for is a "good" shine you can use the High Strength buffing discs first and then polish but this will be the result.
a shiny rim with shitty clarity and pits... a LOT of pits
rims that have been acid washed should be sanded min 320, 400, 600 and 1000 and if they are very bad I start with 180. Then My Ultimate heavy cut kit to polish.
"My rims haven't been polished in a LONG time"
well we all know that these definitely need sanding :)
for rims like the 2 pics above i use the High strength buffing discs to clean up the surface then sand 180, 320, 400, 600 and 1000. The My Ultimate Heavy Cut Kit to Bring the Bling... :))
I hope this helps answer most questions when it comes to sanding and using the High Strength Discs when Polishing Wheels/Rims
Here's a Video on my Youtube Channel of the High strength buffing discs in action.