How to Refinish Aluminum Wheels? – Aluminum wheels alter the appearance of the ride and they add a set of custom wheels. In reality, these seem to be the first modifications that are done on a vehicle getting customized and changed. The correct pair of wheels can turn an average-looking car into a cool car! Our aluminum wheels are vulnerable and it is a very tedious task to refinish aluminum wheels, but we can do it by ourselves and save our precious money.
A quick tip to see if your wheel is coated or not is to take a clean rag with some metal polish and give a quick rub on the wheel. If it comes out clean, then the wheel is coated and that will need to be removed before polishing but if it turns out black, then the wheel is bare aluminum.
Why do we Need to Refinish Aluminum Wheels?
In most cases, the aluminum wheels are painted with a clear coat to protect them from scratches and chipping. This protective layer can get damaged over time due to road debris or other factors such as extreme temperatures. If you have ever hit something while driving and felt your car bumping like it’s been hit by an invisible force then chances are that your aluminum wheel’s clear coat has been damaged.
It is due to our climatic and weather conditions as alloys do corrode which eventually leads to air loss. But replacing these alloys can be a costly exercise and refurbishing is always an alternative to replacing and normally a lot cheaper.
When we refurbish your alloys we sand them down and try to sand away all the corrosion BUT there is always the possibility that it has eaten so far into the alloy that eventually it will come back. The longer we leave the corrosion the more likely it is to come back. If we get them refurbished at an early stage there are more chances of the delay to be inevitable.
What materials are required to Refinish the Aluminum Wheels?
- Spraying gun.
- Wire brushes.
- Metal polish and wheel polish
- Clean rags.
- Tape and some paper
- Gloves and masks
How to Refinish Aluminum Wheels at Home?
1. Prep Work
We prepare the work area by jacking the car on ground level so our tire can rotate. If this enables our lug nuts to protrude then remove all that doesn’t extend beyond the wheel’s surface. Also, try to mask the tires and protect the valve stem from any damage that may be inflicted.
2. Initial Cleaning
Try to use the wheel and tire cleaner to remove any dust and dirt to build-up on the wheels. We need to make sure to rinse our tires well and let them dry. This step is very crucial as we do not want to sand the grime in the aluminum.
3. The Sanding Process
Begin here by sanding each of the lug nut holes and between the spokes with coarser sandpaper. This is an important step in starting point because it is easy to scratch the surface and we can smoothen out the scratches next. Now sand the wheels at a lower speed with a sander-polisher and a full range of sandpaper grits. Make sure, to begin with, a higher grit and then lower the grit to smooth out any scratches.
Begin the polishing process with polishing cream and polisher. Moisten the polishing pad with water first and then rinse and repeat this process until achieving the desired shine.
Once we are done washing and drying the entire aluminum wheel we can begin to wax the surface or degrease it and coat it with crystal-clear paint. The addition of a clear coat of paint adds a layer of protection.
6. Remount Tire
We must make sure our lug nuts and weights are balanced and the valve stem is in a proper position. Here we are finishing to refinish the aluminum wheel. Next is to leave it in an airy space for at least five hours to make sure the paint is dry absolutely. Lastly, we can remove the tape and paper, and finally, we have new aluminum wheels!
Precautions to take when refinishing aluminum wheels
At all times, wear safety glasses and gloves while working on your car’s wheels or refinishing them. You may also want to have some protective clothing on hand, such as pants and a long-sleeved shirt with long cuffs that can be pulled over the top edge of the drill bit when drilling out studs, if required (this is not recommended since it could cause harm).
The most essential thing here is security! Wear these items every time just as a precautionary measure, which hopefully won’t be needed but better safe than sorry!
- No one likes a messy workplace
If you’re planning on carrying out the refinishing process yourself, keep in mind that it’s a messy operation. Because cleaning up afterward might be difficult, you’ll want to work in an area that can easily be cleaned, such as a garage or driveway. To protect the surface from overspray, spread some old newspaper or cardboard on top.
- Check the tools
If you are using a power drill, make sure the bit is the correct size for the screw or bolt you are removing. Before refinishing your wheels, remove all of the lug nuts. If you have any stickers on your tires, remove them before refinishing so that they don’t get damaged.
- Don’t skip any step
When repairing the wheels we must completely strip off the paint. Once wheels are stripped and scratches are sanded out then the wheels are ready to be repainted or sprayed with a clear coat.
The correct method when refinishing the wheel is to remove the tires from the rims available. In case we don’t want to waste money and effort reinstalling it again we can omit this step. It would help if you chose an open area to refinish the aluminum wheels because there will be so much dust and odors that can hurt you in the small and closed garage.
- After you are done
When applying the paint we must use three layers of color while giving them some time to dry amongst each layer. You must not keep wheels under the sun because the sunlight can not only dry the paint faster but can also hurt the tires.
How Long Does It Take to Refinish Aluminum Wheels?
The typical time for an aluminum wheel to get restored is about five days or more. If you’re doing it yourself, the whole process takes roughly four days. However, because most professionals already know what has to be done at each stage and their experience aids in speeding up all aspects of the work, don’t worry too much about how long it will take–simply hire someone who knows better than we do how to refinish aluminum wheels!
Usually, the aluminum wheels are painted with a clear coat so they don’t get scratched or chipped.
It is not cheap to have a car. When taking vehicles to the garage any small item can cost dollars in rate. So we must have specific knowledge if we own a car. Because we can always fix and repair things by ourselves.
Refinishing aluminum wheels is a great way to give your car that new look and feel. When done correctly, it can increase the value of your vehicle too! So what are you waiting for? Pick up some paint today so you can get started right away.
My name is Nick, and I am a car mechanic from Wichita, Kansas. And I drive a 1967 Chevrolet Impala.