You don’t have to worry about chrome wheel repair as long as you have those wheels appropriately maintained. Chrome wheels can last for many years being that they have one of the strongest wheel coatings. Chrome wheels are highly resistant to corrosion and have a polished finish as a result of the electroplating process. However, this sturdiness is, again, dependent on regular maintenance.
If chrome wheels are not properly maintained, they can quickly become dirty and murky, and over time, they can deteriorate and flake due to accumulated brake dust and road salts. If that happens then you will have to think about chrome wheel repair, and we will dive in about that further in this article.
Chrome Wheel Repair: What is a Chrome Wheel?
Alloy car and truck wheels are available in a variety of finishes, including chromed, polished, painted, and powder-coated, to name a few. Chrome and polished aluminum finishes are two of the most common and popular finishes, and they can appear quite similar. While each has advantages and disadvantages, both can be effective alloy wheel designs.
Chrome plating is a plating process for wheels and other parts that involves the application of several layers of metals, including nickel and sometimes copper, followed by the chrome plating. The finished product has a mirror-like finish with a brilliant shine. Because they are electroplated with metal, chrome wheels are stronger and more durable.
However, there are also a couple of potential negatives when you have chrome wheels. One of these is the weight that the chrome finish on alloy wheels adds. Because chroming is composed of several layers to achieve the desired finish, the weight accumulates, potentially negating the performance advantage that lightweight wheels can bring to a vehicle.
Chrome is long-lasting, but it can flake off the wheel if it is not properly cared for or if it was a cheap, shoddy chroming job. If this occurs, the only option for chrome wheel repair is to remove the chrome finish and rechrome the wheels. Another potential disadvantage of chromed wheels though this is more subjective is that they can appear too bright and “blingy,” compared to polished aluminum, which has a more refined appearance.
Nickel-chrome plating is a barrier-layer coating that does not protect the material from scratches. In fact, if there is a scratch, the exposed aluminum and nickel plating form a powerful corrosion battery, causing the aluminum to pit and/or erupt in ugly little corrosion volcanoes.
Chrome Wheel Repair/Maintenance
If you don’t want to worry about chrome wheel repair before its due time, then you should know the basics of proper chrome wheel maintenance. When you factor in the cost of wheel repairs, it can put a significant dent in your wallet.
Maintaining chrome wheels is simple, and it will keep the wheels in excellent condition, providing superior performance and a gleaming appearance. Chrome wheels require maintenance about once a month in normal weather conditions, but they may require more frequent cleaning in wintry weather conditions.
To keep your wheels in good condition, you'll need chrome cleaner, polish, and wax. The materials needed to protect chrome wheels are available at wheel shops, auto part supply stores, service workshops and dealerships, as well as online wheel shops
Washing and polishing chrome wheels on a regular basis will keep chrome wheels sturdy and pristine for many years. Chrome wheels require regular and preventative maintenance. When protective maintenance is performed, polishing and waxing make chrome much easier to clean, saving the car owner valuable time in the long run. So here are the basics:
- 1. Rinse the chrome wheels regularly.
The first step in protecting chrome wheels is to keep them clean. When chrome wheels are rinsed on a regular basis, it helps to prevent the formation of brake dust and salt residues, which can be difficult to clean once they have accumulated. You can easily rinse chrome wheels with a pressure nozzle or hose, and it doesn't take much time.
- Systematically wash the chrome.
After rinsing, a thorough wash is required to remove any hard grime, dirt, or residue. The most common automotive wheel cleaners can be used to clean chrome wheels. However, using specialized chrome cleaners yields quick and fantastic results and can be useful for mostly unyielding residues. Warm water and a basic solution of a non-acidic liquid soap can also be used as an alternative. Scrub the wheels thoroughly with a soft-bristled brush.
Use circular motions and pay special attention to cracks, heavily soiled areas, and difficult-to-reach areas. And clean the chrome wheels on the inside so they look perfect from any angle. Rinse the wheels thoroughly with plain water, making sure to remove all soap. After that, thoroughly dry it with a cotton cloth or towel.
Always check that the chrome wheels are completely dry before driving because wet wheels will attract dirt and road salt.
- After a thorough washing it’s time to polish the chrome wheels.
After being rinsed, washed, and dried, chrome wheels are ready to be polished. Polished chrome wheels are resistant to contaminants and retain their luster. It is also relatively simple to clean polished chrome wheels.
Because they are electroplated with metal, chrome wheels are stronger and more durable. As a result, metal polish should be used instead of paint polish. Though most metal polishes can be used on chrome wheels, check individual brands for compatibility.
Metal polish instructions vary by brand, so always read and follow the instructions on the container before beginning. Begin by spreading the polish on the chrome wheel for the majority of the polish brands. Using a lint-free cloth or a specialty polishing tool, rub the polish onto the wheel. To achieve a brilliant shine, polish the entire wheel. Wipe any residue using a clean and lint-free cloth. For the best results, multiple coats of polish may be required.
- 4. Finally, wax the chrome wheels.
Waxing is the final step in properly caring for chrome wheels after polishing. Waxing creates a protective layer that protects the polish while also making cleaning easier. First, read and follow the instructions on the container – take the wax and spread it over the wheel, rubbing it in completely. With regular waxing, you can clean chrome wheels with a simple rinse.
Chrome Wheel Repair Process
- Prepare the tools and materials you will need for the chrome wheel repair.
The tools and materials you will need are a small paint brush, a buffing cloth, some soft cloth, rubbing alcohol and of course chrome rim paint. If you have a chrome wheel repair kit in addition to these tools, the job will be much easier. When it comes to minor damage, the repair kit is the best tool to have, and it only costs around $50. Remember to always get the chrome rim kit, not the wheel rim kit. The reason for this is that, despite the fact that the kit states that it can be used on chrome wheels, it is not as good.
- Assess the extent of the chrome wheel repair you will need.
Before beginning the chrome wheel repair process, determine the type of damage of your rims. Rims that are tarnished indicate that aluminum was used. So, get a tarnish remover. However, once you've determined that it's chrome, you must first determine the extent of the damage. Then simply clean the area to remove any rust or dust. If there are scratch marks, clean them first and then paint.
- Make sure the rims are clean.
Before proceeding to the actual chrome wheel repair, you will have to wipe any dirt or debris with a coarse rag. Wet the soft cloth with rubbing alcohol and thoroughly clean the chrome rims with it. Continue wiping until the rust is completely removed. Never use steel wool to avoid scratching the chrome.
- Touch up the scratches.
Cover up scratches on the rims that appeared after cleaning with a good chrome paint. This will give your car a chrome appearance, which may be distracting to some drivers. However, if drivers are okay with it, they can save a lot of money while also giving your rims a fresh look. Not to mention, car owners can change the appearance of their vehicle without purchasing a new one.
Plate the chrome rims over alloy wheels to repair scratches. After that, they must sandblast the rim in order to remove the chrome plating and expose the underneath alloy wheel. Finally, we can coat the alloy wheels with powder coating. The wheel paint will never be an exact match for the original metal look, but it is barely noticeable unless you look closely.
On the other hand, if you want to remove the entire chrome plating while retaining the chrome appearance, you should consult a professional. The reason for this is that you may end up harming your health and spending a lot of money if you attempt to do it yourself.
The refinishing process generates toxic waste, which is hazardous. In addition, you must strip the rim, re-plant, and mail the rims using zinc, copper, and chrome, which is both expensive and time-consuming.
- For Gashes, use Epoxy.
A hard epoxy solution can be used to repair gashes or deep dings in your rims. Rivers can fill all of the holes and scratches by following these steps:
- Buff the hardened epoxy, as well as the rest of the rim, to smooth it out.
- Sand the epoxy with steel wool. You can also use fine-grade sandpaper. You must make the spray paint gritty in order for it to stick.
- Spray the entire rim with chrome spray paint.
- Buff the rim with a soft buffing cloth or a buffer.
A chrome wheel repair job is so simple that you can do it yourself. It is, however, necessary that you have the necessary knowledge. This works on almost every level of repair needed. However, new drivers may make a mistake when working with epoxy resin, resulting in a disaster. Because your car's chrome rims are prone to scratches every time you drive. You will also save money as a result of this
Leaky Chrome Wheel Repair
Although alloy wheels and chrome are appealing visually they tend to have corrosion issues that need immediate attention as they affect the tire. The corrosion will not also cause leaks but soft tires as well. So here’s what you can do:
- Locate where the leak is in your tires.
Remove the wheel, spray the tire with soapy water (or dunk it in a swimming pool if you have one), and look for bubbles to determine where the leak is.
- Examine the inner and outer sealing surfaces of the beads. If there is any corrosion or damage, we must repair it as soon as possible by buffing the whole bead sealing of the wheel surface.
Do it slowly and carefully until there is no more rust or corrosion. We recommend using a buffing wheel, but a wire brush will suffice. We can remove any remaining debris or rust by using it.
- Reassemble the Tire and Wheel
Remove the old stem and replace it with a new one if there are any leaks coming from the stem. Following installation, car owners should inflate the tire while keeping an eye on the beads to ensure proper sealing.
Also, without removing the tire, break down the beads before applying the sealer. You can reassemble the wheel and tire and inflate it. After waiting 10 minutes for it to dry, check to see if the leak has gone away. If the leak persists, adding more sealers will seal the deal.
Chrome wheel repair is something you can do on your own. You most likely do not have the materials, space, or know-how to re-plate your rims with new chrome. Again, this is an expensive job requiring complex skill and materials. But you can clean your chrome wheel, fill in and smooth out gashes and nicks, and wheel paint over scratches and practically restore them to their original condition.