Alloy wheels are one of those car parts that not only improve the visual appeal of your car but also increase its performance. Repairing of alloy wheels depends on the nature and extent of the damage. Cracked, distorted, and fractured alloy wheels are usually irreparable and need replacement.
Luckily for minor damages, you have DIY remedies. Doing the repair yourself saves you money on professional fees but will require an alloy wheel repair kit that you can buy from shops selling car accessories and tools.
Before proceeding with the actual repair, make sure that you have a spacious, ventilated and well-lit space, and protective gear. The following step-by-step guide will help you through the rest of the process.
Assess the extent of the damage and decide whether you need to remove the tyre from the alloy wheel or not. You can do minor repairing without removing the tyre, but for a better finish, you should always opt for removing the tyres from the damaged alloy wheel.
Also during this step, you will be able to decide whether to go with repair or replacement of the alloy wheel. If the fracture runs to more than an inch wide, the prudent decision would be to replace the alloy wheel.
Next comes thorough cleaning of the wheel from grime and dust. Don’t forget to remove the lead weights before cleaning. Use a brush to access the problematic areas. To attain good results with the paint, you may want to wash the alloy wheels with an acid-based wheel cleaner. Skipping this step will cause paint to not properly adhere to the wheels and flake off after a short period.
3-Rubbing and Filling
Proper cleaning of the alloy wheels exposes the damaged part more clearly. Rub the damaged parts with fine-grade sandpaper. Rub those parts where corrosion and paint blistering have set in. Feel the rubbed part with your finger to check its smoothness.
To attain a matte finish, you need to use a 600-grit sandpaper. The use of water and detergent during sanding will prevent sandpaper from clogging into the alloy wheel. Most alloy wheel repair kits have resin-based fillers to build up the depressed areas to match these with the rest of the surface. Always start filling after the alloy wheels are thoroughly cleaned and dried.
Repeat the sanding and filling process as many times as necessary to perfect the shape of the rim. You can also use spray fillers if there are small holes in your alloy wheels. Use at least three coats of filler, allowing each coat to set before applying the next.
Mask all parts of the tyre that you don’t want to have paint sprayed on. There is little to no need for masking if you remove the alloy wheel from the tyre. Masking also protects the brake pads from paint overspray.
After masking, you can either go with painting or priming. We recommend priming because it helps you to get an excellent final finish. Always choose a primer that resembles your alloy wheel’s finish. Apply three coats with a gap of fifteen minutes between each coat. Start priming from the internal parts of the rim, gradually proceeding to the face and outer edges. Sand the primer coating with 800 grit sandpaper after 24 hours to get a consistent and clean base.
After sanding the primed surface, you may start painting. Remember that sanding the primer is a necessary step to make the surface rough and coarse. Never attempt to paint on a smooth surface because the colour coating will not adhere completely. Apply the paint in thin layers, allowing an hour for each layer to set and dry. Experts recommend painting when the day is warm. Also, all wheels should be arranged side by side for perfect matching.
7-Applying Protective Lacquer
After painting the alloy wheels, let them dry for at least 24 hours. Avoid washing or sanding the paint layer because it will degrade the final finish. You can now apply protective lacquer coating in a thin layer. After a gap of 15 minutes, apply two heavier coats of lacquer.
8-Final Round of Sanding and Polishing
The last step in repairing alloy wheels is the final round of sanding and polishing. Allow the paint to dry completely and sand the surface with 1500 grit sandpaper to remove the orange feel that appears after applying lacquer. Use water and detergent during sanding. Avoid pressing the surface hard because it will make the finishing dull. Polish the repaired alloy wheels. Various paints need a different amount of polishing. Usually, darker colours require more polishing as compared to lighter tints.
For repairing, you will need alloy wheel repair kits. For dents that are not repairable, you may opt to replace them with new or secondhand alloy wheels. Remember to always buy these tools, auto spare parts and accessories from reliable sellers.