Re­fur­bish­ing clas­sic wheels at home

Fol­low our easy guide to re­fur­bish­ing steel and al­loy wheels on a bud­get

Classics Monthly - - Contents - WORDS & PHO­TOG­RA­PHY ROB HAWKINS

Be­fore call­ing in the pro­fes­sion­als, there’s quite a lot you can do at home to tidy up a set of scruffy al­loy or steel rims.

Road wheels never seem to es­cape the abuse of road dirt, brake dust and the oc­ca­sional kerb­stone, so it’s in­evitable that the ex­te­rior lac­quer on an al­loy wheel will even­tu­ally start to peel off, scuff marks will ap­pear and cor­ro­sion will bub­ble up un­der the sur­face. A reg­u­lar wash and pol­ish will help to pre­serve them, but if any of th­ese an­noy­ing blem­ishes have al­ready ap­peared then all is not lost. A pro­fes­sional wheel re­fur­bish­ment will gen­er­ally al­ways pro­duce the best re­sults, but there are sev­eral cheaper DIY tech­niques that are worth­while ex­per­i­ment­ing with.

We’ve spent a few years look­ing into ev­ery­thing to do with wheel re­fur­bish­ment, rang­ing from DIY re­pair kits to ap­ply­ing paint that can be peeled off if you don’t like the re­sults. The tech­niques we’ve shown for re­fur­bish­ing wheels are very ba­sic, and do not com­pare with the pro­fes­sion­als who have the fa­cil­i­ties to chem­i­cally dip wheels and blast them to re­move cor­ro­sion and im­per­fec­tions.

How­ever, some wheels are un­eco­nom­i­cal to have pro­fes­sion­ally re­fur­bished. The BRM al­loys shown in some of our pho­tographs have pol­ished rims and a black and grey painted fin­ish, which spells ex­pen­sive when it comes to re­fur­bish­ment. They can be bought brand new for just un­der £100 each, but it would cost nearly as much to re­fur­bish each one, so a DIY restora­tion is the only sen­si­ble an­swer.

Some of our tech­niques re­quire safety equip­ment to be used. For ex­am­ple, if you are clean­ing an al­loy wheel with a wire brush or wire wheel, al­ways wear a breath­ing mask to re­duce the risk of breath­ing in alu­minium ox­ide and gog­gles to stop bits get­ting into your eyes. Sim­i­larly, when ap­ply­ing paint, work in a well­ven­ti­lated en­vi­ron­ment and wear a breath­ing mask.

THANKS TO: Frost Restora­tion 01706 658619

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