Hitting a curb or pothole can be one of the most frustrating things. Luckily, the damage can often be repaired, whether it’s a ding, a scrape along the edge of the rim, or even a bent rim. Some of this damage you can repair yourself if you are especially brave or have some experience sanding and painting, or you can have a rim repair shop handle it for you. If you do a good job, or use a good rim repair specialist, you may not even be able to tell where the repair was done!

Minor Rim Damage: DIY Rim Repair

  • If your painted metal alloy rim has suffered minor dings, scrapes, or scuffs, you may be able to do the repair yourself. Repairing a painted rim is a lot like repairing and repainting a small area of your car in order to spot repair a scratch.
  • First, clean the damaged area. In order for the new paint to stick, you will need to thorough clean the wheel, removing any wax — which is applied to painted wheels to protect them — or silicone tire protectant that has made its way onto the wheel. First use warm, soapy water to wash the wheel, and then follow up with paint thinner to prep the area for the repair.
  • Next, mask off the area. You’re not going to try to repaint the entire wheel, just the area where it is damaged. Using masking tape and masking paper to cover the tire and the rest of the wheel. To protect the rest of the car, you should throw an old sheet over it before painting, as overspray can travel farther than you might think.
  • Apply putty. Sand the area to begin, creating a rough surface for the putty to bond to. Then apply the putty to the scrape or scratch. Use more than needed — you will remove the excess in the next step.
  • Sand to create a smooth surface. Using a sanding block to make sure you are creating flat surfaces, wet sand the area with fine-grit sandpaper until the putty is flush with the undamaged wheel around it. Once you have a smooth surface, you’ll be ready to put the finishing touches on your rim repair.
  • Primer and paint. Start with a coat of primer, lightly sanding once it’s dry with fine-grit sandpaper. Next is the silver paint, which you can usually buy to match your car’s wheels. Let the silver paint dry overnight, and then you can apply the clear coat. Be sure not to apply any one coat too thickly — thin coats about a half an hour apart is the best approach or the paint will run.
  • Wet sand and polish. After the clear coat dries overnight, you can use a very fine-grit sandpaper (1500 or 2000) to wet sand the repaired area, helping to blend any sign of the repair. Once that’s done, polish the wheel one last time.

Straightening Wheels and Other Jobs for the Professionals

While this method works well for minor scrapes and scuffs, if you hit a curb or a pothole too hard you may actually bend your wheel. Don’t assume that your wheel has to be replaced, though! While secondhand wheels are sometimes an option, they may actually cost more than it does to have a wheel straightened by a professional.
Of course, if you’re not comfortable doing even minor rim repair, don’t hesitate to have a professional do the work. They will do the job much more quickly than you could, and likely with better results!
ColorMate Auto Appearance Specialists provides same day car detailing repair services including rim repair, paint and bumper repair, headlight restoration, paint perfecting and car interior repairs in Miami-Dade, Broward, and West Palm Beach County. Schedule an appointment for a free estimate on quality car interior and cosmetic repairs.