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How to keep your alloys looking like new

You could be forgiven, even as a seasoned driver, for asking what exactly are alloy wheels and why do people choose them over steel?

As the name suggests, alloy wheels are made from an alloy of light metals – Aluminium, magnesium or both. Being several pounds lighter per wheel than steel they offer good performance advantages to the driver. These include quicker acceleration and stopping, and there is less strain on the suspension components of the vehicle. Under extreme driving conditions alloy is better for dispersing heat away from the brake components and any steel counterparts.

The problem with alloy wheels is that whilst many drivers prefer the way they look on their car, aluminium is a softer metal than steel - meaning it can be damaged all too easily.

Why do alloy wheels damage so easily?

Kerb damaged alloy wheel

Of course, any wheel can be damaged whether a steel or an alloy one, but softer aluminium is much easier to damage. Whether you have had an encounter with a kerb, a nice deep pothole or are simply a little careless with your driving it is easy to do some damage. Slow speeds can also damage your alloys, so perhaps avoid mounting the kerb when parking, Scratches and dents may be unsightly, however a flattened front rim which may cause steering wobble at slow speeds could be a bit more of a serious problem.

How to repair alloy wheels

But don’t worry, the great thing about alloy wheels is that damage can easily be repaired, and even a novice should be able to repair any damage without the need for any specialised tools and with just a few small purchases from either a local auto shop or a parts store. The best news is that it shouldn’t take you too long to improve the look of your car.

3 different alloy wheels

Look for a kit that contains sand paper, filler, primer and paint. Depending on the finish of your wheels you may also want to purchase a lacquer to put on too. As with most things, the key to making a good job of repairing your alloy wheels is the right tools and good preparation.

  • If you can, it is worth taking the wheel off to work on it, this will make it much easier.

  • Clean the wheel thoroughly, hot water and washing up liquid should be fine, this will make it much easier to see the damage that you want to repair.

  • The next stage is to use a filler, use it to fill in any of the damaged areas. You may want to sand deep areas of damage, gently, first.

  • Allow the filler to cure.

  • Now you will want to sand the filler down, carefully so that it is flush with the alloy.

  • Once you have finished sanding wipe the wheel over to remove any dust.

  • Apply a coat of primer to the wheel.

  • Once the primer is dry apply a light coat of paint. Light coats work better than a thick coat so you may want to apply more than one. Allow drying time between coats.

  • Complete the job by adding a coat of lacquer over the paint.

You can Watch this Youtube video by Chris Fix, not only will he show you what to do, but he will display the products he used.

Whether you prefer the look of alloy wheels or have simply leased a car that has them, you can still keep them looking good without too much cost.