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How to Refinish Aluminum Wheels the Right Way

  • April 21, 2020
  • Articles , Tire Retreading , Tire Service ,

aluminum wheel refinishing


Aluminum wheels are more than just a touch of elegance to your commercial vehicle. With time, these glistening rims can succumb to wear and tear, gaining unsightly scratches, pits, and fading. But, restoring their pristine appearance is within your reach, and this comprehensive guide will show you how.


Why Refinishing Aluminum Wheels is Crucial

Driving in areas with frequent rain or snow means your wheels regularly face the harsh elements. These conditions, combined with road salts, make wheels prone to corrosion. Not only does this diminish their aesthetic appeal, but corroded wheels can also harm your tires, causing sudden and hazardous blowouts. Moreover, for those running fleets, rusty wheels are like a beacon for vehicle inspectors, hinting at potential underlying damage. Thus, to maintain their functional integrity and visual appeal, it’s essential to refinish your aluminum wheels periodically.


Step 1: Assembling Your Toolkit

Before diving in, make sure you have everything at hand. Here’s what you’ll need:

SandpaperVaried grits (200, 500, 1000, 2000)
Steel woolFor smoothing out surfaces
Wheel cleanerFor cleaning the wheel surface
Polishing compoundFor shining and polishing
Clear coat sprayFor final finishing and protection
Safety glassesEye protection
GlovesHand protection
Masking tapeFor protecting areas not to be refinished
Drop clothsFor protecting surrounding areas

Step 2: A Thorough Clean

Before anything else, get rid of all the grime, dirt, and brake dust. Using a potent wheel cleaner and a brush (soft bristles to avoid scratches), ensure the wheels are spotless. Remember to work in a well-ventilated space for safety.

Step 3: Sanding to Perfection

Sandpaper is your friend here. Begin with the 200-grit sandpaper to tackle deep-set damages and imperfections, then gradually move up the grit levels. This process removes scratches, pits, and oxidization, prepping the wheel for polishing.

Step 4: Polishing for That Mirror Finish

After sanding, it’s time for polishing. Employing a quality polishing compound and pad, buff the wheels to attain that dazzling shine. This not only enhances appearance but ensures a smoother surface for the next steps.

Step 5: Clear Coat Application

A clear coat acts as a protective barrier for your wheels, shielding them from potential future damage. Using the spray can, apply multiple even layers of the clear coat, allowing adequate drying time between coats. This ensures long-lasting protection and a glossy finish.


Final Thoughts

Refinishing aluminum wheels might appear daunting, but with the right tools, steps, and a touch of patience, you can achieve professional-grade results right at home. By following this guide, you’ll ensure your commercial vehicle’s wheels remain both functional and aesthetically pleasing for years to come.


Extra Tips:

Heavily corroded wheels might need a wheel acid treatment before sanding.

Safety first! Always wear protective gear during the sanding and polishing processes.

Ensure complete drying between each step for the best outcomes.

For those seeking professional assistance, STTC offers unparalleled aluminum wheel refinishing services. Backed by state-of-the-art robotic aluminum wheel polishers and a robust money-back guarantee, STTC remains the top choice for commercial fleets. Contact us today to book your appointment and let us restore the sparkle to your wheels.