How to

How to Fix Scratched Aluminum Wheels – Tips to Get Scratches Off Rims

Our car looks amazing when everything is spot on and clean, doesn’t it? Everyone loves what’s commonly called “squeaky clean.” But, regardless of how much we take care of our vehicles, due to regular wear and tear, some things can go wrong. One of the biggest issues that people have faced (including us) is a scratched aluminum wheel. 

The rims of a wheel look shiny and beautiful when they are new. They, in fact, increase the overall appeal of a car. But, we only realize how aesthetically important they are when they get scratched and turn into eyesores. If you have noticed multiple scratches on your aluminum wheels, we suggest that you do not panic. It may look difficult, but you can actually fix this problem all by yourself without spending money on a mechanic. 

This article covers the entire process in detailed steps to help you do this without external help. Let’s begin.

How to Fix Scratched Aluminum Wheels?

What you will need?

  1. Primer
  2. Water
  3. Sponge
  4. Soap 
  5. Masking tape
  6. Masking paper
  7. Wash-cloth (preferably lint-free)
  8. Sandpaper – 400, 600, and 1200 grit
  9. Putty
  10. Paint thinner
  11. Paint
  12. High gloss clear lacquer
  13. Lots of patience!

What you should do?

  1. All good things start with thorough cleaning. So, start by washing the wheel with soap and water. This is the first step towards removing all the grit, grease, and dirt. 
  2. Now, use the lint-free washcloth and paint thinner to wipe out stubborn dirt or wax from the aluminum rim. Take your time here to ensure that every unneeded particle is out of the rims. After this, wash a couple of times.
  3. Now, you need the masking tape. Grab it and put it around the scratches. The masking tape is essentially to isolate the area that needs to be fixed. Remember never to put the tape on the tire, though. If the scratches are on the edge, tuck the tape underneath the rim.
  4. Bring out the 400 grit sandpaper to sand the scratched surface. Sand it well until you see small grooves.
  5. Apply the putty and cover the scratched area completely.
  6. Use the 600 grit sandpaper now to force the putty down into the scratches. This will smoothen the surface. At the point, you should wait for 5 minutes and then repeat this step. 
  7. Wait 5 more minutes and then use the masking paper to cover the wheel. Cover everything around the scratches because it is time to paint now!
  8. Spray the paint on the scratches. The only thing to make sure is to use the same color as your rims.
  9. Let the paint dry and then use the 1200 grit sandpaper to sand it properly. Spray another coat and sand again.
  10. Continue this until the putty disappears completely and you have a smooth, shiny surface. 
  11. Wait until the paint dries completely. 
  12. Now, wash the entire wheel again. Wipe it and let it dry.
  13. Hold the can of high gloss clear lacquer 8 inches away and spray from one end of the scratch the other quickly. Do not hold it in one place longer than a second.
  14. Repeat step 13 four times.
  15. You can now remove all the masking paper and tape, and leave the paint to dry overnight. 

Wasn’t so hard, was it? Please try it out and let us know if it worked well for you.

Also, we would like to emphasize that even though this is a relatively easy and safe process, you must wear gloves and safety goggles. You never know what might cause an issue, and it is always better to be safe than to be sorry. Another thing we would like to emphasize is that if you are unsure or do not engage in many DIY projects, it is best to leave it to the professionals. It may cost a few bucks, but it is safe and hassle-free. All the best!


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