How to repair alloy wheels and refurbish them
A good set of alloy wheels can make a standout car—but only if they’re in tip-top condition.
Alloy corrodes. It’s also pretty soft compared to the steel construction of a more basic and cheaper wheel. What that adds up to is, over time, your alloys will suffer corrosion, dents and dings will appear from kerb damage, old paint finishes and coverings will flake and peel, making your once beautiful shining rims look old and tattered.
So, how are you going to bring your beautiful and bold rims back to looking like new?
It all depends on your budget.
Do you DIY or call in the professionals?
How much does it cost to refurbish alloy wheels professionally?
There are a variety of different methods available when it comes to refurbishing your alloys, so to be able to pick a price out of the sky and consider that ‘job done’ is as accurate as determining ‘how long is a piece of string?’
We’re not going to leave you hanging though, so here are some ballpark figures to get you off the ground. So, how much is alloy wheel repair?
You can probably get a typical one-piece 20” wheel rim clean up and polish for around £50. Two-piece wheels will cost a little more; let’s say around £70. You might even get a basic paint job for that too, but that depends on who you choose to do the work.
Larger wheels will cost a little more, with the extra work required for a greater surface area. You can add another £20 there, bringing a single-piece 20” wheel in somewhere close to £70 and a 21” at £90.
Having your wheels diamond cut (we’ll get to what that is a little later if you don’t already know) will cost a little more. Depending on your wheel, possibly from around £70 for the outer rim and edge, and £80 and up for the rim and face.
How much to refurb alloys when you DIY
At the other end of the scale, a DIY job can cost you as little as a healthy dose of elbow grease and a few cans of spray paint.
Don’t be put off by the idea of DIY, though; you can achieve some excellent results with a little care, plenty of patience, and a keen eye for attention to detail.
If you consider that some liquid metal filler and a selection of spray paint can cost you less than £30–40 for the lot, that’s a massive saving over what could be a £300 plus professional project. So, how much does it cost to repair alloy wheels if you do the job yourself? A lot less than taking them to the body shop.
Professional alloy wheel refurbishment
How to refurbish alloy wheels
You can break down professional services into:
- Cosmetic repair
- Coatings and paint finishes
- Diamond cutting
How to repair scuffed alloy wheels
If your wheels have suffered damage, then a professional wheel service can level off any protrusions using a range of sanding techniques. Dents or chunks of missing wheel can be filled using metal fillers; once set they will be sanded back down to the profile of the wheel.
For many repairs, the metal can be sanded back to match the existing wheel colour, but where this isn’t possible, a new coating will cover any repairs and render your wheels as good as new.
Coatings and paint finishes for alloy wheels
Most professional wheel technicians will be able to match your existing finish without a problem.
- Powder coating is a hardwearing specialist paint, available in pretty much any colour or a range of metallic finishes. It’s a great way of protecting the wheel to extend its life.
- Clear lacquer and spray painting offer both protection and a change in style if required.