Refurbishing classic wheels at home
Follow our easy guide to refurbishing steel and alloy wheels on a budget
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 www.frost.co.uk