Polishing Wheels and Repairing Corrosion
If your wheels are polished and you need to have them refinished we can help you.
Typically, the old finish needs to be stripped off and any curb damage on the wheel will be removed. When polishing, the best way to begin is to start off with a low grit sanding such as 180 (or maybe even 80). After the wheel has been sanded or scratched with the starting grit then the wheel can be rinsed and the next grit higher is used to take out the sanding marks from the previous grit. So, 80, 120, 180, 320, etc. up to a polishing grit of 2500! At 2500 the alloy can be polished or buffed (wheel polish actually has a grit to it). The buffing stage or the process also takes time and elbow grease because 2-3 coats will be applied and must be buffed in for awhile. When a wheel has been polished and looks acceptable then in most cases a clear coat is applied (depending on your alloy wheel). The wheel is cleaned and clear powder coat is baked onto the wheel. Finally, we will re-mount your tires and Hunter Road Force Balance your finished wheels.
If your polished wheel has multiple colors such as a black center (as seen in the picture above) or color between the spokes with polished fronts we can also handle this also – check out our refinishing page, and powder coating page for more detail.
If this sounded like a lot of work to you it is! The best way that we have ever found to repair a polished wheel is to spend the time necessary during all the steps to get your wheel as bright as possible.
There are polished wheels, machined wheels, brushed wheels and Dura-Bright wheels. All of these are different types of finishes that are closely related to polishing.
Dura-Bright wheels are a trade mark of Alcoa that is a company who makes wheels for auto-manufacturers like Chrysler. The best example I can think of is the Jeep SRT8 wheel. These wheels are like polished but not exactly, in fact, according to Alcoa’s web site it is a process used during the manufacturing of the wheel that makes the wheel look brighter than traditional polishing. Click hear to see Alcoa’s web site and information about the Dura-Bright finish.
Unfortunately, The Dura-Bright finishes can not be re-furbished to look exactly the same as when it was new or just manufactured. The whole secret of Dura-Bright takes place during the manufacturing process and can not be duplicated when refinishing the wheel in an re-manufacturing environment like ours. Fortunately, we do have methods to repair these wheels and get them back to a very close original. You can also powder coat these wheels and/or PVD Chrome them. So if you have one of these wheels and you curb it or the finish is corroding don’t worry! There are options for you!
A brushed finish on an aluminum wheel is similar to a polished finish except that the git is not taken as high as would be done on a polished wheel. A brushed finish is usually sanded to between 320 and 600 grit. The effect is that you can still see the sanding lines on the aluminum surface. The trick to achieving this effect is to spin the wheel on a fast turning lathe which will create the congruent sanding lines. A brushed finish is then typically clear coated to prevent the wheel from oxidizing.
Pictured above is a brushed alloy wheel
Machined / Lathed Finish
A Machined finish is created using a CNC lathe. We scan the profile of the wheel and the CNC will cut a hair width of aluminum off to create a polished looking finish. It looks a little like the brushed finish expect that it will catch and reflect light, like the bottom of a CD, and create a rainbow spectrum. The picture below captured this rainbow effect well because a clear coat had not been applied yet. Once the clear coat is applied then the brightness will be dulled out slightly.