How to Repair Rims with Curb Rash or Scratches


Hey Guys, ChrisFix here! And today I’m gonna show you how to repair aluminum rims. So if you have aluminum rims and they have any kind of damage such as this curb or gutter rash, whatever you want to call it Or even if your rims have the clear coat that’s bubbling up And it just doesn’t look good at all, Or if you even just have simple scratches like this This video is gonna go through the process that will show you how to fix your rims to make them look really good again. So let’s begin! With this process we’re going to keep the tire on the rim to make it really simple, and we have the rim off the car. The next thing you want to do is remove the center cap from the rim. Just gonna want to pop this out. For most cars, just tap the cap outwards and it will pop out just like that. OK, so I just really just want to quickly outline the basic steps for fixing an aluminum rim After you get that center cap out, the first thing you want to do is clean the rim. After the rim is nice and clean, we’re gonna work on all our scratches. And by work on it, I mean we’re gonna sand em’ down, and make em’ nice and smooth. After we sand em’ down, make em’ nice and smooth, we’re gonna strip the clear coat from the rim. After we strip the clear coat from the rim, we’re gonna polish the whole rim. Make it nice and shiny. After the rim gets polished, we are gonna clear coat it which will put that protective barrier on it and after that clear coat dries we are done. The first step is we want to clean off the rim so just soapy water, what ever you wanna use. In this case I’m just using dish soap and water. You wanna remove as much dirt as possible so you can have a clean rim to work on. Now with this rim we have a lot of damage everywhere, we have damage all over the place. Pretty much the whole entire rim has to be redone. We are going make it go from looking like this… to this. So let’s begin. So there is a couple of ways you can go about removing this scratches in your rim. My favorite way is using a rotary tool like this dremel with a flat disc. This is a 120 grit flat disc. It’s a little to coarse, honestly you should use something around 200 grit but it will get the job done. After the flat disc we’re gonna be using this sandpaper and make sure it’s wet and dry sandpaper because we’re gonna be wet-sanding. It’s also a good quality sandpaper because the better quality the sandpaper, the better the job’s gonna come out, and the better finish you’re gonna get. With the sandpaper we’re going to go for for 400 grit, to 600 grit, to 1000 grit, to 2000 grit. And then we’re gonna buff the rim with some type of metal polish. You want something that will buff aluminum and both of these will work so let me show you how to remove the scratches from the rim. I’m gonna show you how to remove this curb rash right here and this process will work for any type of scratch on the rim. Since we’re going to be using a rotary tool, make sure you use your safety glasses, and maybe something even to protect your lungs so you don’t breathe this dust in. With this rotary tool, I’m staying between 10 and 20 thousand RPM’s and the key is you want to move this tool back and forth. You don’t want it to dig into one area too long. You can see I’m not just focusing on the spot that has damage, I’m focusing on the whole area because you don’t want to just dig into that one little spot it will create a divot and look really bad. You want to evenly sand this whole area with a little bit of focus on that scratched area and you can see that
damage just disappeared, it’s not there anymore. Now you’re probably asking why didn’t
you remove the clear coat first. Well the clear coat actually acts as a
protectant so if you go a little bit too far using your flat disk or using any
sanding method that clear coat’s going to protect the aluminum finish because you
don’t need to sand everything and you can see here that scratch is completely gone. So now let’s get rid of these scratches
right here. Now we’re going to use the same strategy for these scratches keep
that flat wheel moving around a large area and don’t focus on one spot don’t worry over time the scratches will
be sanded away so be patient. If you focus on one area you’ll sand off too
much aluminum and cause waves and that won’t look good. So spread out the sanding over a large
area. Notice how I sand passed the scratches. I’m even sanding areas with no
scratches which are right next to the deep scratches so it’s a smooth
transition. I’ll tell you one thing it’s addicting
to watch this curb rash disappear. Now check this out! We removed all the
scratches. I need to work on this over here but the
area we focused on and I showed you is perfectly smooth. This looks gorgeous. And that’s all it
takes, a little bit of flat wheel keep it moving around to make sure
you’re not digging into one area there’s no waves there’s no divots this
is one completely smooth piece which is exactly what you want. Check out this before and after; here’s
the before with the curb rash, and here’s the after. Look at that difference! That is awesome and we aren’t done we’re
going to make it look even better than this. And once you get all the scratches out
we can move on to the next step which is stripping the clear coat. So I’m going to do the rest of the rim
and get everything to the same finish I just showed you. The whole rim is
covered in curb rash and scratches so there’s plenty for me to remove. Alright, I am done getting all the
scratches out. This rim looks awesome there are no
deep grooves or scratches anywhere on the rim, all that curb rash is gone. Look at that! Now this is looking great,
the next step is going to be clean all this aluminum powder off the rim and
then we’re going to go and remove all the clear coat. Honestly at this point, just get your hose
and hose it down. So this next step is my least favorite
part, and it’s using a chemical stripper to strip the clear coat off the rim and
the reason why it’s my least favorite part is because the stripper is not something
you want to get on your skin and you don’t want to get it on the tires either. And it’s just that this is the most tedious
part and have to make sure all the clear coat comes off. I put the stripper into a spray bottle
and i’ll rub it onto the clear coat with a sponge brush but before any of that
make sure you dry the rim completely so there’s no water which will dilute the
chemical stripper. Alright so we’re just going to spray
some of this on here and work it in. You’ll have to use a lot of that
chemical stripper so don’t be afraid to really cover the rim in a thick coat and
make sure you don’t get any on the tire and if you do clean it off right away
after the whole rim is coated, sit back and let the stripper do its thing. You can see how it works to bubble up
the clear coat and you can actually hear it cracking and popping away. After about
an hour the clear coat is all bubbled up and now we’re going to neutralize the
chemical stripper so we can hose off the rim. Alright so
let’s go neutralize this. As you wipe on this neutralizing chemical hopefully
your clear coat comes right off. So now that this is neutralized i’m
going to use an abrasive sponge to remove any clear coat that hasn’t come
off yet. If your clear coat doesn’t come off
easily, you might need to use another coat of chemical stripper. For my rim
about eighty percent is coming off with this first coat of stripper. Now hose it
down and let’s see where we’re at. In this case after one dose of clear coat
stripper and some rubbing with an abrasive sponge you can see there’s
still some clear coat left on here so we’re going to have to go back with the
abrasive sponge and the chemical stripper until the clear coat is
completely removed. This is the most difficult part and it’s
super tedious but once you’re done with this, you’re almost done. I’m going to use another coat of
chemical stripper and skip ahead to where the clear coat is removed. You don’t need to see me do this process
all over again. OK, so after the second coat of stripper and then using this
abrasive sponge again we have removed all of the clear coat on this rim. This is the most difficult part and
realize that this doesn’t get all the clear coat off. Which is why you have to go back in with
either an abrasive sponge or even with your flat wheel and get all that clear
coat removed. It’s very important to get the clear coat completely removed. Now
that the clear coat is off let’s move on to the sanding and
polishing step. The flat disk that we used is a hundred and twenty grit so we
want to make sure we move up in grit from there. Because we had that on a
rotary tool, it made it pretty smooth we could start off with 400 grit sandpaper. We’re going
to be doing a wet sand which means that you want to use water or in this case
soap and water. The soapy water is going to help the
sandpaper and prevent the aluminum pieces from sticking to the sand paper
so you get a nice even sand. Don’t be afraid to use too much soapy
water. So with your 400 grit if you see any imperfections you wanna
make sure you get those imperfections out now. Don’t worry about the light scratching
that is caused by the sand paper because that will slowly get buffed out but any
deeper scratches that you can see you want to get out now, so don’t be afraid
to push hard in the areas that you really need to get those scratches out.
When you sand you want to sand in random circular motions if possible, and just put a medium
pressure on the sand paper. You don’t want to press so hard that you
get exhausted and you don’t want to press too light where the sand paper
isn’t smoothing out the surface. So we just used our 400 grit now we’re going to go to our 600 grit
and with the 600 grit you should just be smoothing down the
400 grit scratches, the 600 grit won’t be removing any of the deeper scratches. So if you see any deeper ones go back
with your 400 grit and get them out. Now we’re going to go from our 600 grit to 1000 grit. Now as you use the thousand
grit you should pretty much be seeing the scratches disappear and you should
start seeing the surface get a little shiny. After our 1000 grit we’re going to go to our final grit and
that’s 2000. With the 2000 grit the surface should feel really smooth and
the sand paper should be sliding really easily. You’ll also notice the room getting
shiny and there should be no visible scratches. Any scratches that you see now
that you might have missed can easily be fixed by going back to the 400 grit
sandpaper and working the way back up to the 2000 grit. You only have to do that in the area you
missed you don’t have to do the whole rim again. Alright, the rim has been sanded down
from 400 grit all the way up to 2000 grit and this is looking great. Now what we want to do is we want to
inspect the rim and what you’re looking for are any scratches that you need to
correct before the final polish and looking at this rim, well it looks
really good. No scratches are standing out so I think
it’s time to go polish it up and give it a nice shine. Before you polish the rim make sure the rim is completely dry. The
rim is dry so let me show you what we’re going to use to polish. I got this kit that comes with the foam
polisher and it attaches to the drill and it comes with polish so it makes the
job that much easier. What you’re going to do is you can apply
the polish directly to the cone and then you’re going to rub that polish onto the
rim at a slow speed. This prevents that polish from slinging
off when you first use it and once you work it into the rim at a slow speed we
could crank it up and give this baby a good polish. The cone is great because it
fits into the hard-to-reach places and trust me when I say it’s worth the price
because doing this by hand would take forever and it wouldn’t come out looking
as good. So take your time use the polish as
needed and buff the entire surface of the rim. Once you polish the whole rim take a
microfiber towel and buff the polish off by hand. Oh wow look at this shine! After
polishing you can stop here or you could put a clear coat over the metal to
keep that shine without constantly having to polish the rim. Next to get
some new gloves on and grab some rubbing alcohol so we could degrease the rim and prep it
for paint. Get the towel wet with the alcohol and clean away. Make sure you clean the entire rim and
keep track of where you’re cleaning so you don’t miss an area, there are a ton of
spokes here. OK, looking at our towel it’s not getting
dirty anymore and we touched every surface on this rim. So now we want to let it dry and that
shouldn’t take long because we used alcohol which evaporates quickly. As it
dries i want to show you a neat little trick that I learned for masking off the
tire because you don’t want to get spray paint on the tire. So the trick i learned
a while back is to use note cards to mask off the tire. Just slip a note card
between the rim and the tire around the whole edge of the rim. This works faster and better than tape. Usually tape won’t even stick to a tire it just peels right off. And boom look at
that, looks kind of cool. Remember to tape off the valve stem as
well. And that looks good. You want to follow the instructions on
your paint can. You want to use a clear gloss that is UV resistant and
non-yellowing. This is the same clear coat I used in my headlight restoration
video and it works great. So follow the instructions and let’s put
down three even coats. Notice as I spray I move around the whole wheel to get at
different angles so I get complete coverage. There are a ton of spokes on this
rim so it’s important to do that. Also notice i start spraying on the
cards and then spray across the rim and stop spraying when i get to the cards on
the other side. I never start or stop spraying on the
actual rim which helps keep the coats even and prevents orange peel. OK, so that was the first of three coats
and each of the three coats is going to be a medium thickness coat. This isn’t a light layer but also not a
heavy layer that’s going to run. You got to find that sweet spot. Now let it dry for about five minutes
and then apply a second coat. Here is coat two. Excellent. Coat two is done and in five minutes we’re
going to finish with coat three. And here is coat three. This is looking
great. Alright we’re going to let the rim dry
but before we let it dry make sure you pull out these cards so
they don’t stick to the rim. After a few hours the rim is dry to the
touch. Let’s install that Cadillac center cap. I’m also going to remove this tape from
the valve stem. Wow, look at this. The rim is finally done and it came out
amazing. The curb rash is gone there are no more
scratches and it looks perfect. My buddy is going to be real happy that
his rim has been repaired and you could easily do this at home for real cheap. Now you know how to fix an aluminum rim
and if you hit the curb or get your rim scratched up yet stinks but don’t worry
you can fix it. Hopefully this video was helpful. If it was remember to give the
video a thumbs up. Also if you’re not subscribed, consider
subscribing. Up on the screen are gonna be a few videos. You can find the links
to those videos in the description below. Also in the description below are the
links to any products i used in this video.

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