If your car has lost its ‘new, just rolled off the lot’ appeal, you can help restore it to its original splendor. With normal driving wear and tear, wheels and rims suffer. Scuff marks and curb rash are a common complaint among car owners.
Don’t worry, there’s any easy way to fix these scrapes and gouges without removing the wheels from the car. Plus, you should be able to find all of the tools and products need for this wheel repair project at your local automotive accessory supply store. Here are the eight steps to repair scraped up wheels and rims.
1. Sand down the scratched wheel surface.
Use 80 grit course, wet/dry sandpaper for automotive finishing to sand the surface of the scratches and scrapes on the rims. You will want to roughly go over the entire area where you see scrapes that need to be repaired. Then, use a sponge and soapy water solution to
2. Locate and treat the more heavily damaged areas.
If you have accidentally hit a curb or sidewalk, your wheel or rims may have deeper gouges or dents. Identify these areas as soon as you can and apply some polyester sand finishing filler. This type of product can be used on alloy rims to fill in the deeper scratches and gouges. This filler creates a substitute surface that can be sanded and painted directly.
At this stage, it’s not important that the surface of the filler be perfect, it just needs to level out the larger damaged areas on the rim. Using this type of filler will ensure that, when this DIY repair is complete, the scratches won’t be visible under the fresh paint. Follow the application instructions provided with the product. Give it ample time to set; most types require about 30 minutes to dry. To test if the auto filler is dry, use your fingernail. If you are able to leave a mark on the surface, that means that it needs more time to dry.
3. Sand the repaired areas of the rims.
When the sand finishing filler has dried completely, you can sand its surface to prepare it for painting. Buff the entire area that has been covered with the filler to make it rough enough for paint to adhere well to it. Start with 80 grit course sandpaper, like the kind used in the first step. Next, go over the surface with a finer 180 grit sandpaper. This step will help prepare the repaired areas for the primer.
4. Prepare the wheel for the first coat.
First, you will need to scuff up the entire surface of the wheel to prepare it for the first layer of primer. Use Scotch-Brite automotive abrasive pads designed for collision repair and pass over the entire surface. Spot repair isn’t really an option here because the paint would be visible and would likely chip away in time.
Be sure to use the abrasive pad around the edge of the rim next to the sidewalls, inside the bolt holes, valve hole and the sides of each spoke. You will know that you have finished this step when the entire metal surface is no longer shiny, but has a dull finish.
Then, you will need to clean off the dust created by sanding the rims. Use a regular micro-fiber cloth to thoroughly wipe off this fine dust.
Lastly, before applying the primer, you should cover any areas that won’t be painted. Use regular masking tape or painter’s tape to cover the sidewalls of the tire, valve, lug caps and center cap of the rims. Insert a plastic drop cloth behind the spokes of the rim to protect the rotor bracket and other wheel components. This step may take some time, but it’s important to getting the best looking results.
5. Apply the first primer coat.
First, spray a thin layer of filler primer all around the face of the vehicle rims, including where the scratches have been fixed. This type of product helps smooth out the repaired alloy and filler, plus it is rust-resistant which will provide extra protection for your car in the future. Filler primer dries quickly, so let it sit for 10 minutes before moving on to the second coat.
6. Apply the second primer coat.
Then, after the first layer has dried, spray a heavier layer of the filler primer all around the rims. Move your hand in regular strokes to prevent an uneven spray and dripping primer.
If the wheel isn’t perfect after the second coat, you can lightly sand it again in the spots that still rough. When you’re satisfied with the results, move on to the silver coat.
7. Apply the silver coat.
Shake the can well. Then, spray the wheel rim with an even layer of heavy metallic paint. This specialized auto paint will dry with a shiny finish. Use short, fast strokes while applying the paint and be sure to spray in all the nooks and crannies. Follow the instructions on the paint can and give it ample time to dry.
8. Finish the repair with a layer of clear coat.
We recommend using SprayMax 2K clear coat or a similar product for cars which guarantees high-resistance to outdoor conditions and a long-term seal of the repair paint job. Start with a very light coat and add layers as needed to avoid running and dripping. Use the same technique as the other layers, spraying the clear coat in quick, short strokes.
Allow the clear paint plenty of time to dry. Then, remove all of the masking tape and plastic. Now, enjoy the restored beauty of your car!
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