WhoCanFixMyCar has created this simple guide to help you understand more about the different ways alloy wheels can be refurbished and repaired
If your alloy wheels have seen better days, it might be worth considering whether to refurbish them. It’s possible to do this at home, but each wheel can take up to four hours to finish, and if you don’t have the right tools then the outcome is likely to be poor. For a guaranteed high quality result the best option is to have the job done by a professional.
How to refurbish alloy wheels at home
To do this you will need:
Wheel removal tools
Alloy wheel filler
Follow these steps to refurbish your alloy wheels:
Remove the wheels (this makes the job a lot easier), then clean and dry them
Use masking tape on the tyre so that only the alloy is visible
Sand the alloy
Fill in any dents/gaps
Once the filler is dry, sand it so that you have a smooth finish
Wash and dry your wheels again before painting them with primer
Paint the wheels using either a spray can or powder coating
Once dry, finish with a protective clear coat
How to find alloy wheel paint code
When you carry out an alloy wheel refurb at home, you'll need to work out what colour of paint to use. Unfortunately, most manufacturers don't provide a paint code for their alloys, so you'll have to find as close a match as you can.
Many paint suppliers offer smaller sample pots or cans so you can test the colour before buying a larger quantity. Most alloys are silver and come in very similar shades, so it shouldn't be difficult to find a close match.
How to clean alloy wheels with WD40
You can clean your alloy wheels using WD40 in just a few steps.
Firstly, spray plenty of WD40 onto a dry microfibre cloth. Wipe your alloys with the cloth, focusing on any areas which are particularly dirty or dusty. The grease from the WD40 should do an excellent job of lifting stubborn patches of dirt.
During this process, try to avoid getting any oil on your brake pads. The last step is to hose down your alloys to get rid of any remaining oil.
Alloy wheel refurbishment and repair
If all of that sounds like too much effort or you don’t want to have to spend money on equipment you’re unlikely to use very often, you should consider booking a professional alloy wheel refurbishment.
What kind of damage can happen to an alloy wheel?
Alloy wheels commonly pick up cracks and damage around the outer rim which is typically caused by a car hitting a curb or a speed bump too hard.
If the impact is especially hard, an alloy wheel could even split, meaning the entire part needs to be replaced and a spare fitted until you can get into a garage and have a brand new wheel fixed to your car.
Dust particles and small stones will also chip away the paint on alloy wheels over time resulting in the degradation of the paint.
How much will a repair cost?
The cost of repairing an alloy wheel will depend on the extent of the damage to the part.
Alloy wheel crack repair
One or two cracks can be welded shut by a mechanic, so don’t think that you need a brand new alloy if you spot a couple of cracks. However, if there are three or more cracks on the alloy, you will need to buy a new one entirely.
This is because the structural integrity of the part will be compromised to an extent which is beyond repair. If a weld was completed on several cracks, the wheel would not be safe to drive on.
The cost to weld a crack will also vary on the length of the crack itself meaning the only way to get an accurate price is by getting a free and personalised quote from the best garages in your local area.
The cost of a new alloy wheel will also depend on the type of car you drive, simply put, the bigger the wheel, the more it will cost.
Alloy wheel powder coating
If the damage is purely cosmetic, as shown in the third image at the top of the page, the repair is much more simple and will not require heavy treatment.
Powder coating is a service which restores the cosmetic appearance of an alloy wheel and the process is a relatively simple one.
The wheel is blasted by hand or given a chemical strip to remove the top layer of lacquer and paint.
The wheels are then dressed and filed in order to deal with potential damage to the edges of the wheel rim.
The wheel is then gently heated to remove air from the alloy before the first layer of powder coat finish is applied.
The wet-in-wet procedure can then be applied before further thermal treatment.
The cost of having a powder coat applied to a wheel is also dependent on the extent of the damage and the size of the wheel so get in touch with a great local garage with our site!
Alloy wheel repair cost
If you need a wheel repair or replacement you can take your car to a garage after getting quotes or you can have a mobile mechanic perform an alloy wheel repair by coming out to your home or place of work. Please note though that a mobile mechanic will NOT be able to perform a powder coat or perform a diamond cut as large machines are required to carry out the work.
Alloy wheel FAQs
What are alloy wheels?
Alloy wheels are made from an alloy of either aluminium or magnesium and are therefore much lighter.
What are diamond cut alloy wheels?
Diamond cut alloy wheels have had the entire painted surface of the wheel removed by a machine to leave a shiny finish.
Can I buy an alloy wheel repair kit?
You can buy various alloy wheel repair kits online. These usually consist of masking tape, gloves, wheel paint, wheel repair putty or filler, sandpaper and files.
How to remove baked on brake dust from alloy wheels
Brake dust is notoriously hard to remove. The best things to try are DW40, oven cleaner and wheel cleaner (this can be acidic or non-acidic as per your personal preference).
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