Scratches, dents, and curb rash can age your alloy wheels and make them look dull.
The good news is, if the damage is mild, you can probably perform the repairs yourself. If your rims have seen better days, here’s a step-by-step guide to removing scratches and making them shine like new again.
1. Clean your rims
Make sure the rims are nice and clean before you begin working on the repairs. Do an initial wash with a microfiber cloth and mild cleaner.
After, put on the rubber gloves and wash the rims again with paint thinner. Dip a cloth in paint thinner and rub it all over the rim. It should have the power to break down any remaining dust, dirt, or debris. While you’re cleaning the wheels, take note of any dents and scratches.
Use a lint-free cloth to dry your rims or let them air dry before moving on to the next step.
2. Tape your tires
Apply masking tape to the rubber tire surface behind your rims. 1-2 inches of coverage should do the trick; this will prevent you from accidentally sanding your tire.
3. Sand the scratches
Using 240-grit sandpaper, smooth the rough edges of scratches and small dents. Hold your sandpaper over the surface of the damaged area and gently rub until it is smooth to the touch. Wipe with a damp microfiber cloth to remove the residue.
4. Fill in scratches and dents with putty
Use metal-reinforced spot putty to fill the scratches and dents. Using a putty knife, scrape a small amount of putty from the container. Apply it to the damaged area with pressure and spread it around with the putty knife. Maintaining consistent pressure will ensure that every scratch and dent is adequately filled.
Afterward, use your fingers to smooth the putty so there are no raised areas.
Let the putty dry according to its instructions (usually around two hours).
5. Sand the putty
Using 400-grit sandpaper, smooth any remaining raised areas. Continue until the previously damaged area is level and uniform.
6. Put on safety gear
Before you apply the primer or the spray paint, put on the necessary safety equipment, namely, goggles, gloves, and a respirator. Paint and primer are dangerous to inhale so the proper safety equipment is essential.
7. Cover your wheel with tape and kraft paper
Cover the areas of the tire you aren’t painting in tape and kraft paper. Keep in mind, only the previously damaged areas should be uncovered. You do not need to paint the entire rim.
8. Apply a metal alloy primer
Stand 6 inches away from the rim and spray a metal alloy primer on the damaged area. A single coat will usually suffice. Allow the primer to completely dry (which usually takes 30 minutes to an hour).
9. Paint the rim
Stand 10-inches away from the rims and apply a base coat of silver metallic spray paint. Allow the paint to dry according to the product’s instructions. Apply an additional 1-2 coats, as needed.
10. Apply a spray lacquer
Lacquers prevent the wheels from chipping, scratching, and flaking. Apply a spray lacquer to seal your paint job. Allow to dry according to the product’s instructions before taking your fresh rims for a spin.