A set of smart alloy wheels makes a huge difference to how your car looks. Keeping them smart can be tricky though, because it’s all too easy to scrape them on kerbs when you’re parking. The good news is that it’s also surprisingly easy – and cost effective – to return them to their former glory.
First, a disclaimer: if there are any cracks or large dents in your alloy wheel, you should get these looked at by a professional since they can be a safety issue. If the kerb damage is minor, however, repairing an alloy wheel isn’t as tricky as you think. A wide variety of DIY repair kits are available that contain everything you need, including sandpaper, filler, primer and paint. Using these might seem a little bit of a dark art, but it’s very straightforward if you follow the instructions.
Preparation is all-important, of course. Sanding down the damaged area takes time, but it’s important to make sure that the end result is as smooth and effective as can be. After sanding down the area you’ll need to fill the gap that’s left, usually using a putty that’s supplied as part of the kit. Once filled, you need to leave this cure.
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The next step is crucial – you need to carefully sand down the putty so that the rim of the wheel is flush and smooth. Take your time and regularly step back and look at the wheel as a whole to make sure everything looks good.
Once you’re happy with the work, you need to apply a layer of undercoat. This will not only give a good base for the paint but will also highlight any scratches or dents that you might have missed, which means you can go back and give those areas more attention before painting. This may take a few attempts, but if you’re hoping for a showroom finish then you’ll need to do it.
When everything’s dry, it’s time to paint. This is best done in several layers, taking plenty of time with each one and allowing it to dry before reapplying. If you apply the paint too thickly there’s a good chance that it will run and you’ll have to start the process again. Once you’re happy with the paintwork, allow it to dry and then finish with a coat of lacquer. This will give a factory-fresh appearance and help protect all your good work.
Once repaired, a set of scuff-free alloy wheels not only improves the look of your car, but also its value. A set of shiny, new-looking alloys will make your car much more desirable and could boost its trade-in value significantly.
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