Most of the aluminum alloy wheels look shiny as they have a finishing of chrome plated to the wheels.
This chrome plating is like an additional layer over the aluminum alloy and they are susceptible to normal damages like corrosion, dust, moisture, oxidation, and salt effect.
As a result, you can witness some scratches and pits here and there on the wheels, which makes it look clumsy.
The ideal suggestion is to remove the damaged chrome plating completely and apply a brand-new layer of chrome coating or painting on it to give it a shiny touch and finish.
Removing Chrome Plating from Alloy Wheels
As you imagine, the removal of peeling chrome plating is not a cumbersome process, but it takes a few days to chrome plate all the wheels again to give a uniform look.
Here is a brief step-by-step process to remove chrome from your car rims at home…
Step 1- Remove the wheel rims
You have to start first by removing the wheel rims from the tire. For this, you need a tire iron to unscrew the bolts on the wheelbase to displace the wheel rims.
But there is a way you need to follow so that you won’t put pressure on the bolts while unscrewing.
You need to remove the bolts in the opposite direction after removing the first bolt.
For instance, 1st top left bolt followed by the bottom right bolt, and then 2nd top right bolt followed by the bottom left.
After all the bolts are loosened and removed, you will have to use a pry bar to remove the tire from the wheel rim.
Step 2- Apply wheel polish
Cover the entire wheel rim with a quality wheel polish and let it sit on it for a minimum of five minutes.
Choose a good polishing compound that can be applied to aluminum without any problem.
Step 3- Sand and polish again
Next, you need to use sandpaper of medium-grit level to remove the chrome plating during the sanding process.
If you use high-grit sandpaper, this step takes a lesser time.
Now, get ready for a second time coating wheel polish on the whole wheel rim and let it soak in it for another five minutes.
Do sanding again using 1200 grit sandpaper.
Step 4- Final polish and scrub with steel wool
For the third and final time, apply the wheel polish coating and let it sit for another five minutes.
Instead of grit paper, this time you have to use steel wool for scrubbing to get rid of any residual signs of chrome plating.
After this, use cool water to wash the wheel rim and clean with a soft cloth to remove any residual chrome and polish from the wheel rim.
Can Alloy Wheels Rust: How to Remove Rust?
Rusting is not for alloy wheels, but they will get corroded due to their chemical properties.
You should not get confused between rusting and corrosion and they are slightly different.
Due to corrosion, you can see white stains but not the rust color. Colloquially, they call the corrosion to be rust.
Most of the alloy wheels have a protective layer of polished coating to avoid corrosion.
But still, there are chances for the corrosion to happen when this polished layer wears out.
You can still rework the corroded area and give it a new finish like before.
Step 1- Get a rust remover
The first step is to buy a rust remover, which works well with the alloy. You have to follow the guidelines as stipulated in the container to exercise caution.
As per the instructions given on the label, put on the remover product on the surface of the alloy.
Give it ample time as recommended before you proceed further.
Step 2- Scrub with a nylon scrubber
Make use of a nylon scrubber to scrub it.
In most cases, this scrubbing itself is enough to get rid of the rusty spots.
If this works out for you, you can skip the next step and move on to the next one. If it is not working, then do the next step before proceeding further.
Step 3- Scrub with a steel wool
After the nylon scrubber, scrub the corroded or rusted areas that still appear after the previous step with a scrubber made of steel wool.
Gentle scrubbing is enough as hard scrubbing will lead to scratches on the alloy.
While scrubbing, make sure you reach all the rusted spots and remove the rust completely.
Step 4- Wash the wheels and dry
Wash the wheels with water to remove the dust or fluff of rusts, if any.
Immerse the sponge in soap water and clean the wheels using the sponge. If small rusty areas are visible to you, clean them.
Rinse it well and let it dry. Once it is dried completely, use a polish on the alloy wheels.
How Can You Clear Coat Alloy Wheels After Cleaning?
Alloy wheels usually come in two different colors, namely, silver or grey.
They are used at large by predominant car manufacturers due to their cost-effective price, sturdy quality, and long-lasting life.
But they are also given an additional layer of protection by coating a layer of paint which gives a shiny and glittery look.
As time flies by, this coat tends to wear out due to external factors and looks yellowish due to oxidation.
With the help of certain equipment and material, a new clear coat can be re-applied.
Step 1- Sand
Start sanding by using your alloy wheels using 400-grit sandpaper and make sure to sand every nook and corner of the wheel.
Following the 400-grit level, use an 800-grit level and 1200-grit level sandpaper one by one for sanding and stripping purposes.
While doing this, make sure you water the wheels continuously, as it prevents the formation of an old clear coat sticking with sandpaper.
This watering process helps to prevent scratches and removes the clear coat completely.
Step 2- Wash and wipe
Wash the wheel once it is over. After getting it dried completely, use a towel to wipe it gently.
Dab a bit of wax or grease remover on the towel and wipe it all over the wheel to make sure there are no grease marks or wax still sticking onto the wheels.
Step 3- Spray paint
Next, three to five coats of clear coat paint should be sprayed covering the entire wheel.
The sprayer should be held at a distance of six to eight inches from the wheel.
These are optimum instructions to be followed so that the paint will not run and it will give an even smooth look.
Let it dry for a few hours according to the climate and once it is completely dry, you can handle the wheels.
Based in Orem (Utah) John Paterson graduated from Utah Valley University and has begun writing in 2009. He has a large wealth of experience in writing articles related to cars, automotive repair, wheels, cleaning/maintenance, and much more. He has also written instructional articles in a similar niche for a few online publications as well. Currently, he works as a mechanic in his personal garage shop where he loves serving his countrymen from his heart.