How to fix alloy rim scratches

HIGH KERBS, careless driving, cavernous potholes… these and countless other perils are the enemies of alloy wheels, the most attractive thing about many cars.

Don’t panic if your wheels have taken a knock, here’s everything you need to know about repairing alloy wheel damage.

DIY repairs: How to repair alloy wheels yourself

Everyone kerbs a wheel at some time. It’s possible to repair light damage with an over-the counter alloy wheel repair kit comprising sand papers, a filler, primer and paint. You may want to apply a lacquer on top, depending on the wheel’s finish.

Such kits demand a combination of patience and luck on the user’s part: the patience to prepare the wheel properly and paint it without causing any of the paint to run, and luck that the paint colour you choose matches the wheel.

Step by step process

  1. Clean the wheels thoroughly to remove dirt and grease. Tip: washing up liquid works well
  2. Use the sandpaper to remove damaged paint and flatten chips
  3. Wipe away any dust
  4. Mix the putty and fill in the damaged area – make sure the surface is as level as possible
  5. Leave to set
  6. Once fully dry, use the sandpaper to sand the filler until flush. This step takes time and patience
  7. Wipe away any dust with a damp cloth
  8. Apply masking tape around the damaged area
  9. Apply the primer and wait until dry
  10. Apply light coats of the paint, waiting for the paint to dry in between coats, until happy with the finish
  11. If your kit contains a lacquer, apply this now. Apply a light coating and allow to dry.
    Note: If your repair kit doesn’t contain a lacquer, you can choose to purchase it separately.

Matt Richardson, Driving’s photo editor, worked on scuffed alloys he bought on eBay and explains the process at the bottom of this page. It cost Richardson £25 and is certainly worth trying yourself. A set of smart alloy wheels can suggest the rest of the car is in order, while also helping to make it easier to resell.

“Shabby alloys really harm a car’s appearance and can make it harder to sell,” says Mark Norman at CAP, the used car valuation guide. “Buyers know a set of four damaged alloys can easily cost over £200 to repair. It’s difficult to put a value on [a good set of] alloy wheels but a smart set won’t harm a car’s resale prospects, as well as making you feel better about owning it.”

Alloy wheel refurbishment: When to call in the professionals

But while a DIY repair such as Richardson’s is fine for mild damage, you’re probably looking at calling out a mobile wheel refurbishment company to repair anything more serious such as a bent wheel, extensive kerbing, corrosion and fractures. You’ll pay around £50 per wheel. The advantage is that they’ll do the work at your place and probably in the same day, so you’re not massively inconvenienced.

For anything more serious, or if you have a premium car and expect your repaired wheels to look like new and be as well protected as the day they were forged and painted, you may have to consider the services of a business such as LKQ Coatings, [pictured working on a wheel, right] or Lepsons in Gillingham, Kent.

Lepsons repairs around 700 alloy wheels each week, of which 100-150 have been damaged by potholes.

“Most of our business is with the motor trade but just this morning, we’ve had five members of the public arrive with wheels bent by deep potholes,” says Andy Leppenwell, the general manager.

Typically, a deep pothole bends a wheel out of alignment but it can also render it irreparable. A less serious impact, that might distort the rim where it touches the tyre, can have equally serious consequences by causing a slow air leak that might not immediately be detected by the driver.

Lepson’s repair process is a little more intensive than a simple DIY job. The wheel is immersed in a chemical bath to expose the bare alloy. It’s checked for cracks, washed off and then primed. It’s rechecked, then painted and the wheel baked at 200deg F before, finally, being lacquered and baked again at 230deg F.

At the end of it all, Lepsons claims you have a set of wheels as good as the day they left the factory. Now all you’ve got to do is avoid kerbing them. And we all know how hard that is.

Alloy repair on a budget

Matt Richardson, Driving’s photo editor, bought four used alloy wheels on eBay. The wheels were quite badly marked and needed repairing but since the whole idea was to save money, he was keen to do the job himself. Here, he explains the process:

TO MAKE switching to cold weather tyres easier in winter, I bought a set of cheap but tatty alloy wheels from eBay for my BMW. Although they were very scruffy, refurbishing only took a morning.

I bought a kit over the counter at a car maintenance store (view an example of an alloy wheel repair kit on Amazon). It included some sandpaper for removing damaged paint and flattening over the chips, but I used my own heavy grit sandpaper as I found it did a better job.

After sanding down I wiped off the dust. Then I mixed the putty, which was supplied with the kit, and filled over the dings until there was a level surface before leaving it to cure.

How to fix alloy rim scratches

Sanding the filler flush with the alloy was the hardest job. Getting it as close as possible when you first apply it saves a lot of time later.

Another wipe, this time with a tack cloth to get all the dust off and then I gave a coat of etch primer (an acid-based undercoat, supplied with the kit) to give the silver paint a key and to highlight any imperfections I’d missed with the filler. There were a couple so I refilled, sanded and primed until I was happy with the result.

A final rub down with very fine sandpaper, another wipe with the tack cloth as any dust might show through, and then I built up several light coats of alloy wheel paint (heavy coats tend to run) and left them to dry.

How to fix alloy rim scratches

Finally, to get a finish closer to my car’s original finish, I sprayed on a coat of lacquer (also available over the counter) and once it was dry, I had a set of new-looking alloys ready for my winter tyres.

  • Time taken 5 hours
  • Cost of materials £25

How much does alloy wheel repair cost?

If you choose to repair the damage yourself, you’ll need to buy yourself an alloy wheel repair kit which will set you back around £25-£30.

Whereas, if you call in the professionals you’ll be looking at a repair cost of around £50 per wheel or £200 for the full set.

How long does it take to repair alloy wheels?

If you’re repairing your alloys yourself, you’ll want to set aside a morning or an afternoon to complete the job.

If you’ve opted to have them refurbished by professionals, it will depend on the company you choose and the condition of your alloys. Some will be able to get them back to you within 1-4 hours and others may take one working day or longer.

Where to buy alloy wheel repair kits

There are several places online and in-store that you can purchase alloy wheel repair kits, including:

How to clean alloy wheels

Once you’ve repaired your alloy wheels, you’ll likely want to keep them in tip-top condition.

How to fix alloy rim scratches

Curb rash is vehicle damage on the rims of our tyres, caused by hitting curbs or other obstructions, leaving scuff marks, scratches, and sometimes gouges. Though curb rash is unsightly, it can be fixed.


STEP 1 Begin by applying 80 grit sandpaper to the scuffed rim areas, wash off the sanding dust, and allow to dry.

STEP 2 Apply filler to any gauges and indentations, smoothing off as best you can with a scraper. If curved areas of the rim are indented and too small to apply filler with an applicator, the filler can be applied by wiping with your finger. Leave to dry for at least half an hour. Press a fingernail into the filler. If there is no nail indent, then the filler is dry.

STEP 3 Re sand, smoothing off any rough areas using 180 grit sandpaper.

STEP 4 Scuff the entire wheel rim with scotchbrite in preparation for the primer. The rim will appear to have a dull finish after scuffing. Thoroughly clean the wheel rim before priming.

STEP 5 Mask of areas you don’t want primed. A simple trick to mask the tyre is to place playing cards between the edge of the rim and the tyre. Playing cards are flexible enough to conform to the shape of the wheel and fit easily between the edge of the rim and the tyre.

How to fix alloy rim scratches

STEP 6 Apply a light coat of etching primer and allow to dry, followed by a heavier second coat, allowing that to dry also.

STEP 7 Apply a coat of silver chrome using short, even strokes. Allow the dry.

STEP 8 Apply several coats of clear coat, starting off using a light coat and building up gradually between drying times.

Before learning how to remove deep scratches from alloy wheels, consider that you can save yourself time & money by getting the Touch Up Guys professional services!

We have been car repair specialists for over 25 years and operate a fleet of mobile scratch & dent repair vans in every major city across all states.

  • All mobile repair services are conducted by highly trained & certified technicians
  • We only take on a job where we’re confident we’ll meet your expectations
  • Most repairs cost less than your insurance excess but we provide a quote prior to commencing the repair so you know exactly how much it will cost

Read on to find out how to remove scratches from alloy rims below.

How to fix alloy rim scratches

How to fix alloy rim scratches

About Our Alloy Wheel Repairs

How to remove scratches from alloy rims easily and cost-effectively is to focus on reviving the damaged alloy wheels. This is the process our technicians follow to save you both time and money.

Wheels can be repaired back to their pre-damaged condition in a matter of hours – and to make it even easier, we carry out the service at your home or work place – wherever is most convenient for you!

Our technicians will also be able to assist with any additional queries you may have regarding how to repair alloy rim scratches or how to buff out scratches on alloy wheels.

Call Us Today

Call us on 1300 286 824 to find out more about how to repair alloy rim scratches or how to buff out scratches on alloy wheels.

If you would like a quote, complete our simple 3 step request form on our website.

How to fix alloy rim scratches

There is nothing worse than driving along and in a lapse on concentration for just a sec and bang you hit a pothole and hear that sickening thud. You get out to check the damage and sure enough, you’ve buckled to hell your pride and joy alloy rim, the tyre’s deflated and hanging off. It’s a sad sight. Don’t feel too badly though, it’s a common story of woe for those of us that live on the coast. The good news is that you can return that sorry-looking rim back to as good-as-new condition.

Precision Wheels the premier Alloy rim refurbishment factory located in West Gosford, Central Coast NSW can just about repair any alloy rim from minor scratches through to a full born re engineering of the rim

Inspect the Damage

The very first step in determining whether or not your rim can be repaired is to thoroughly inspect the damage. Rims that have been bent level to near the centre section are repairable, but beyond this it’s likely that the entire wheel has been buckled – which means you’ll have to replace it with a new one. In most cases, the lip that extends outward from the rim and forms its outer edge is the part that gets bent first.

For an alloy rim, damage on the back face (not the spoked face, front face) is generally repairable. The boys at Precision will inspect for any micro cracks and will advise on the suitable form of repair.

Repair Step 1

The first hands-on step in restoring a rim to its former glory is to spin the rim up and clearly indentify where the rim is out of round and by how much.

Alloy Rims require a gentle heat prior to pre-bending; our engineers know exactly how much heat to apply to ensure that the original metallurgical properties are maintained.

Too much heat and you will damage the structure of the alloy (evidence of this is paint that looks like it’s been BBQed) and to little heat with not be enough to allow the rim to bent back to shape without cracking.

Precision Wheels uses top of the range infrared remote heat guns to ensure that the heat level is right and is distributed evenly over the area to be re shaped

The pre-heating of an alloy wheel is achieved by applying a heating torch to the affected area and steadily warming it to around 120 degrees Celsius. It gets tricky here because different alloys require slightly different amounts of heat, and it’s important not to over-heat it. Another trap for the uninitiated is any alloy wheel that contains magnesium should not be heated at all. Those alloys that have been heat treated also become discoloured in the heated area, but this all gets shaved off later so it’s no problem at all.

Press Process

The rim is placed into the press jig and the larger (visible bends) are taken out. This step takes the rim visibly much closer to its original shape, it is then put onto the round up machine which is equipped with a dial gauge, the rim is examined for high and low spots marked and then re pressed

Prettying and rounding up

To ensure the rim is within tolerance for round and run out the rim goes for a ride on the spin up gear. This ensures that the rim is

  1. Fine tuned for round
  2. Ensure the tyre sits neat on the bead.

This part of the job should only be performed by precision wheel technicians and is quite time consuming. The profile should be reshaped to allow the tyre bead to sit neat on the rim as to avoid any leaking or potential tyre run off.

Final Step

The rim now is essentially as good as new. At this stage it is only the customer’s choice of cosmetic finish that remains on the job card. Precision Wheels can remove all of the cosmetic damage such as

  1. Scratches
  2. Curb rash
  3. Deep gouges

We can then refinish to the original finish whether that be Machine faced, silver or black Chrome or original painted finish.

The Final Product

We are proud to say that any repaired wheel out of the Precision Wheels factory is as good if not better than the original rim and all our work is unconditionally guaranteed.

What’s the dent? To Your Wallet that is…

Precision will generally repair a back-face buckle for around $150 this include stripping the tyre straightening the rim, a refit and dynamic balance and GST

To complete the job several our customers, want to have the rim refinished to original this can cost around an extra $140

So if you’re ever unlucky enough to bend a wheel, take it in for surgery and you’ll probably save yourself a heap of cash over replacing the rim with an original

For all your alloy wheel refurbishment needs contact Precision Wheels (02) 4323 7557

How to fix alloy rim scratches

You’ve misjudged your parallel parking job and ended up with a scraped rim.

Don’t panic. You don’t have to take your car to a mechanic and spend an obscene amount for them to fix it. You can do it yourself at home.

Take a look at this DIY guide to learn everything you need to know about alloy wheel scratch repair and learn how to repair scratched rims on your car or pickup!

Rim Scratch Repair first steps

Skip to the good stuff:

Before you start your repairs, take a close look at the wheel of your car to check the full extent of the damage. A few scrapes on your rim aren’t serious. You can fix them on your own with a few basic supplies.

If the tire itself is damaged, you may want to take it to an auto body shop. Driving on a damaged tire is dangerous, and it can result in an accident or serious injuries.

Clean the Rim

Any car rim scratch repair you make will last longer if the surface is clean. To make sure you get all the dirt worked out of the scratch, scrub the rim over with a mild cleaner and paint thinner.

Wash with a Non-Abrasive Cleanser

Find a mild wheel cleaner and spray it over the damaged rim. Use a normal washcloth to scrub the cleaner into the scratch and clean away any debris.

If your tire is filthy, you may want to do a more detailed cleaning. This will wash off most of the major dust and dirt, which will make your repair job easier.

Wash with Paint Thinner

Paint cleaner is a good way to get any last dust off your rim.

You should always wear a respirator and a pair of gloves while handling paint thinner. Dip a clean washcloth into the paint thinner and scrub it over the rim until all the dirt is gone.

Dry the Rim

After cleaning away all that dirt and dust, make sure you dry the rim with a lint-free cloth. If you don’t have a lint-free cloth, you can also let your rim air dry on their own.

The rim must dry all the way before you continue with the repairs. If you try working with a wet rim, the repairs won’t stick.

Protect Your Tire

Put a layer of masking tape over your tire. This should be at least one to two inches thick. As you start to sand and paint your rim, the tape will protect your tire from damage. It will also prevent any debris from getting on your tire.

Buff and Fill the Scrape with Putty

You’ll need two different types of sandpaper for this part of the repair process. Make sure you have 240 grit sandpaper and 400 grit sandpaper. You’ll also need to get a container of metal-reinforced spot putty.

Keep a dry cloth on hand so you can wipe any dust and debris away.

Buff with 240 Grit Sandpaper

Holding the back of your sandpaper, rub the scratches to smooth any bumps or edges. Be careful not to buff any undamaged areas. Make sure you’re only buffing the scrapes and scratches.

Keep sanding the scratches until they feel smooth when you run your fingers over them.

Fill with Metal-Reinforced Spot Putty

Use a putty knife to apply the metal-reinforced spot putty on the scraped area. You’ll need to put some pressure on the knife to ensure the putty makes its way into the scratches.

Don’t worry about keeping all the putty in the scratches. Spreading the putty around the entire scratched area helps fill the scrapes better. But don’t go overboard. Applying the putty over undamaged parts of the rim could create bumps.

Let the putty dry before you do anything else. The exact drying time will depend on the brand of putty you get. It should take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.

Buff with 400 Grit Sandpaper

Buffing the rim a second time with 400 grit sandpaper will give the putty a smooth finish. Sand the putty down until it looks level with the rim’s surface.

Prime and Paint to Repair the Scratched Rims

As you start priming and painting your rim, make sure you’re wearing the proper safety gear. If you don’t protect yourself, you could end up with irritated eyes, lungs, and skin. Put on a respirator, gloves, and goggles before opening any paint.

Stop what you’re doing right away if you begin to feel lightheaded or nauseated. To keep this from happening, you should always prime and paint in an area that has good ventilation.

Create a Barrier Around the Damage Area

You don’t have to prime and paint your entire rim. To make sure you only spray more of the rim than you intend, create a barrier around the damaged area. You can do this with kraft paper and masking tape.

Double check the masking tape is also secure around your tire. It’ll be hard to remove metallic paint from your tires if you make a mistake.

Apart from the damaged area, you should cover as much of the wheel as you can.

Spray with Metal Alloy Primer

A primer will make the paint look more natural and blend in with the rest of the rim. It will also create a surface that the paint can stick to.

You should stand at least six inches away from the rim as you spray. A single coat of primer is all the rim needs. Let this coat dry for about an hour before you switch to paint.

Spray with Metallic Spray Paint

Make sure the metallic spray paint you choose matches the color of your rim. Stand 10 inches from the tire and apply one coat of paint, moving your arm in a single sweeping movement.

Let the paint dry for an hour before applying another coat with the same sweeping motion. Repeat this process another two to three times.

Allowing the paint to dry between coats will make the finished product look smooth.

Spray with Lacquer to Seal the Paint

A lacquer will prevent your new paint job from peeling, scuffing, or chipping off. You only need a light mist of lacquer, and you should apply it the same way you applied the paint. Let this dry for at least 24 hours before touching the rim.

DIY Alloy Wheel Scratch Repair

Scratching one of your rims is annoying, but it’s not too difficult to fix scratched rims. All it takes is a bit of sandpaper, some metal-reinforced spot putty, primer, and metallic paint. Remember to wear the proper safety gear and work in a well-ventilated area when doing your alloy wheel scratch repair.

If all this looks too intimading to try, or your wheels are scratched beyond repair check out or guide to aftermarket wheel brands.

Now your rims look good, but what about the rest of it? Take a look at this guide to learn how you can buff, wax, and polish your car.

When you’ve invested in a set of alloy wheels for your car, you want to keep them in pristine condition, helping to maintain the look and value of your vehicle. Unfortunately, accidents do happen. Scuffed and kerbed alloy wheels are an all-too-common occurrence, and when your alloy wheels do get damaged, you want to get them repaired as quickly as possible. There is nothing worse than persistent alloy wheel damage on your car.

Here at ChipsAway, we remove the damage to make your alloy wheels look like new.

Here at ChipsAway Ireland, we are experts in alloy wheel repair and refurbishment to help restore them to their original condition. Our alloy repair techniques for scuffed and kerbed alloy wheel rims and spokes are not only fast, but also a professional and cost-effective service. With a reputation for excellent results, we repair alloy wheels from all over Dublin. No matter what your car is or how it ended up damaged, we endeavor to give you a well finished alloy wheel repair every single time. Our job is to get your alloy wheels repaired and on the road again as quickly and efficiently as we possibly can.

No matter whether you have scratched or dented your alloy wheels, we provide a service that can be relied upon to return your car wheels to their original condition. We specialise in providing a service that will take your damaged wheels to their original condition without breaking the bank.

Our experienced car alloy wheel repair specialists will always undertake the most appropriate repair for you and your car. We don’t make compromises when it comes to the final finish and we stand by our results. You can expect nothing but professional, outstanding service, and a finish that is built to last. Our job is to repair your alloy wheels to a quality, and with a service, that you can be happy with.

At ChipsAway Ireland, we provide a service that goes above and beyond. Not only are we are able to repair alloy wheels to their original pristine condition, we also help to prevent the risk of further damage from exposure to the weather and corrosive road salts. This means we don’t only get your wheels looking fantastic, but we finish them in a way that lasts.

ChipsAway Ireland’s alloy wheel repairs and refurbishments are fully guaranteed, meaning you can rest easy knowing the repair will of the highest possible standard. From a full alloy wheel rim repair to refurbishing alloy wheels so they look as good as new – we have you covered.

Here at ChipsAway Ireland, we don’t only repair alloy wheels but can help you with a wide array of minor car body repair. As well as alloy wheel repair, we can help you with scratches or dents on the surface of your car, as well repair scuffed bumpers. You can call us today for a free quote.

How to fix alloy rim scratches

ChipsAway Ireland offer an alloy repair service for all of Dublin. We have two conveniently located bodyshops: one in Castleknock, North Dublin and one in Sandyford, South Dublin. No matter where abouts in Dublin you are based, we can help you out.

To get in touch, please fill in our online form and we’ll provide you with a free, no-obligation estimate for the cost of your alloy wheel repair. Alternatively, please feel free to give us a call on 1800 937 226.

How to fix alloy rim scratches

You can trust us.

We are so confident in our alloy wheel and alloy rim repairs that they come with a lifetime ownership guarantee.

Major alloy wheel scratches (AKA “kerb-rash”) appear when the alloy rim of your car rubs against obstacles such as kerbstones, high kerbs and parking barriers. It’s incredibly easy to do and by the time you realise, it’s too late and the awful sound of metal on kerb seems to go on forever.

It’s been known to make grown men cry…

And once one or two appear, more scratches and scuffs magically accumulate leading to a distinct dulling and unpleasant grooving effect around the perimeter of your prized rims! Your once shiny alloy wheels now looked scrappy, tired and if the truth be known, a bit embarrassing.

So what can you do about this?

Well, there are perhaps two distinct options:

  1. Replacement? Easy. Call up the dealership, wait two weeks and spend £300 (at least if they’re half-decent) on a brand new set. Even easier. In fact, easiest thing in the world. Pay less than £80 per rim and have them back same day all looking mega. Good as new.

So, why would you ever consider replacements? Two reasons:

  1. Structural damage. If the rims are buckled or have incurred serious/heavy crash damage affecting the structural integrity of the rim, you need to replace them. Simple.
  2. You have too much money and a lot of time on your hands.

Point 2 above is unlikely but you get our point…

So, assuming your rims are not buckled or heavily damaged, SMART Repair is the complete no-brainer, must-do, can’t consider otherwise solution. It makes total sense.

And here’s how it’s done:

How to fix alloy rim scratches

  1. The damaged alloy wheel is carefully removed from the car and thoroughly cleaned using a selection of detergents
  2. The tyre is then masked off to prepare for the primer coat
  3. Next, the alloy wheel is prepared for painting to ensure that the colored paint will adhere to the tire.
  4. State-of-the-art paint-matching technology is then used to determine the correct paint color
  5. That color is then applied to the alloy wheel and dried with infra-red technology
  6. Upon drying, the alloy wheel is then treated with a protective lacquer coating and finish to lock in its shiny new appearance.

All of this is done in 1-2 hours, saving you significant time and money over the more traditional options of direct replacements.
With SMART Repair, maintaining a great looking set of alloys all-year-round is now completely accessible, affordable and cheap. No need for replacements as repair is within arm’s reach.

Contact Automotive Repair Systems today to learn more about our Alloy Wheel Rim Repair services, and the wide range of additional SMART Repair services we offer.

Car wheels get the most abuse from the road than almost any other part of the car. Hitting potholes, curbs and other objects, can cause damage to the sides of your aluminum wheels. If these damages are repaired, the damage can cause the wheel to rust, which will eventually reduce the strength and integrity of the rim. You should always try to repair curb damage as soon as it happens to reduce the risk of rusting. Follow these simple steps to repair aluminum wheels that have curb damage.

What You’ll Need

  • Liquid soap
  • Masking tape
  • Sponge
  • Aluminum paint that matches the color of your wheel
  • High-gloss clear lacquer
  • 400, 600 and 1200 grit sandpaper
  • Aluminum polish
  • Old towel


  • Using liquid soap and warm water, thoroughly clean the damaged wheel. Allow the wheel to dry completely before continuing.
  • Soak an old towel in paint thinner and rub it onto the damaged area of the wheel. This will help to remove old wax and road grime. Wash the wheel twice with the soapy solution to remove any excess paint thinner and allow the wheel to dry.
  • Use masking tape to cover the areas of the rim that are not damaged.
  • Using 400 grit sandpaper gently sand the damaged area of the wheel. Once grooves have begun to form and the area is rough, stop standing.
  • Cover all scratched areas with Bondo putty and allow the area to dry for five minutes.
  • Gently sand the putty with 600 grit sandpaper until smooth.
  • Cover the rest of the wheel and tire with masking tape to prevent overspray when you apply the paint and/or lacquer.
  • Apply thin layers of paint until the putty is completely covered and allow drying completely.
  • After the paint has dried, use 1200 grit sandpaper to smooth the surface of the area repaired.
  • Wash the painted area with soap and water and allow complete drying.
  • Spray the clear lacquer on the painted area of the wheel and allow the lacquer to dry overnight.
  • Remove the masking tape and wash the entire wheel.
  • Use a soft, dry cloth to apply aluminum polish to the entire wheel to blend the shine.

Taking good care of your aluminum wheel rims is an essential part of keeping your car looking its best. If you’re looking for the best aluminum wheels in Michigan, contact the team at Superior Industries International today. We have all your aluminum wheel technology needs!

Whether you bumped into a curb while making a sharp turn or drove through a particularly deep pothole, scratches and swirls in your rims can be difficult to avoid and expensive to repair. These unsightly scrapes and imperfections can put a damper on that “new car” look. Luckily, you can fix most of these scratches yourself. All you need is the right polish, cutting pad and a microfiber towel!

What you need to know

Before trying to fix scratched or damaged rims, it’s important to know what kind of wheels you have and the severity of the damage. Most traditional rims are made of chrome, aluminum, steel or metal alloy, but many manufacturers now produce wheels that have the same clear coat as your car’s exterior panels. If you aren’t sure what kind of rims you’re working with, it’s always a good idea to check with the manufacturer.

Light scratches and swirls in your rims from improper washing techniques or loose debris on the road are easy to fix right in your driveway! If you’re dealing with more severe damage, like curb rash or scuffs from driving on a flat tire, metal or chrome polish won’t be enough to reverse the damage. You’ll need to make an appointment with your auto repair shop to fill in the dent or scratch as needed.

To prep your wheels for restoration, you’ll need a specialty cleaner, like Turtle Wax All Wheel & Tire Cleaner and a gentle wheel sponge or brush. Avoid hard bristle brushes that could leave behind micro scratches and instead, opt for a gentler, more effective tool like the Wheel Woolie or a soft detailing brush.

You’ll also need a polish that’s compatible with the kind of rims you’re working with. For metal rims, we recommend a metal polish like Turtle Wax All Metal Polish or our premium Chrome & Metal Polish. To repair scratches in rims with painted finishes, you can use any polish you’d regularly use to restore the rest of your vehicle’s clear coat, including Hybrid Solutions Pro 1 & Done Professional Polishing Compound and Hybrid Solutions Polish & Wax.

Prep your wheels and tires

Before you fix scratches and swirls in your rims, start by to prepping your wheels and tires, using your designated wheel cleaner to remove dirt, grime and brake dust from every surface of your wheels. It’s important to polish clean rims to avoid rubbing harsh soils and other contaminants into your metallic finish, creating even more scratches and swirls to repair!

Use your wheel cleaning brush to scrub away tough stains and soils and reach deep underneath your brake calipers to remove as much brake dust as possible. Allow your cleaner to dwell for the time specified on the bottle, then rinse thoroughly and hand dry your wheels with a microfiber towel.

How to fix alloy rim scratches

Make sure your wheels are cool to the touch

After prepping your wheels and tires, place a hand on the surface of your rims to feel if they’re cool to the touch. If the metal feels warm or hot, use a garden hose to cool down your rims before you begin the restoration process. Never polish warm rims or exterior panels; doing so can dull your paintwork and metal finishes.

Once you’ve cooled down your wheels, move your vehicle out of the sun into a garage or under a tree or canopy to begin the polishing process.

How to fix alloy rim scratches

Perform a test spot with your polish

To ensure that your polish is compatible with your metal or painted rims and gives you the results you want, choose an inconspicuous area, such as the edge of the rim, to perform a quick spot test. Apply a small drop of polish to a folded and quartered microfiber towel and buff the polish into a tiny section of your wheel rim. If light scratches and swirls disappear, you’re using the right polish and applicator. If you don’t see the level of correction you’re looking for, you may need to switch to a more aggressive polish or cutting pad.

If, for any reason, the polish damages your rims or leaves behind streaks or discoloration, stop using the product immediately! Switch to a different polish or consider consulting an auto repair shop.

How to fix alloy rim scratches

Apply polish to your damaged rims

Place a quarter-sized drop of polish on a clean, microfiber detailing cloth and gently buff this product into the damaged area of your rims to fix scratches and swirls. Take your time, using light, circular motions to smooth away any noticeable imperfections. Continue buffing the surface of your rims until all scratches and swirls have been removed.

Pro Tip: Use masking tape to section off any areas of your rims that you want to correct to avoid transferring polish on other parts of your wheels and tires. Then remove the tape and use any excess product to buff the surrounding areas to create an even finish.

Buff out your finish with a microfiber towel

Once you’ve finished erasing any light scratches and swirls, buff your rims to a glassy finish using a separate microfiber towel,blending out any patches that look smoother or shinier than the surrounding areas. For the best results, use a lint free cloth with a lightweight, microfiber blend to avoid streaking or contaminating your flawless finish.

How to fix alloy rim scratches

Protect your wheels to prevent future damage

Now that you’ve successfully removed the scratches from your rims, your last step is to apply a car wax or wheel protectant to minimize future damage to your wheels and tires. Consider investing in a durable synthetic wax like Hybrid Solutions Pro Flex Wax, or Hybrid Solutions Pro Max to the Wax to preserve that showroom restoration and give your wheels an extra pop of gloss!

Natural wear and tear to your alloy wheels is common – and can be caused by scuffs or light scratches, hitting the kerb, or going over potholes. That’s why it’s helpful to be clued up with some DIY know-how to allow you to repair your alloy wheel damage yourself, rather than having to take your vehicle into a professional.

Repairing scuffs, scratches and kerb damage on alloys

In order to repair various scuffs, scratches or kerb damage to your alloys, you can use some of the following methods at home:

  • Sandpaper – using sandpaper in the damaged area can help to alleviate some of the scuff and scratch marks. A top tip is to wrap your sandpaper around something that fits comfortably within your hand, and use this to apply pressure.
  • Spot putty – rub some spot putty – typically about the size of a pea – into the area which has received some damage, and leave it to set. When the putty is dry, you can then sandpaper the damaged area once more, which will allow the putty to appear level with the rest of the rim.
  • Paint thinner – alternatively, you can use paint thinner to clean the area surround the alloy wheel damage. By using a small brush, scrub the damaged areas.

Repairing corrosion on alloy wheels

There are also methods you can use to repair the corrosion on your alloy wheels. We advise you follow these simple steps:

  1. Clean your alloy wheels – firstly, it’s important to begin by cleaning your alloy wheels. Wash and polish them to remove dust and dirt, and then dry them off using a microfibre cloth.
  2. Polish pre cleaner – next, by using a polish pre cleaner, you can remove oxidation by focussing on the corroded areas. Spray this pre cleaner onto those areas, and about 10 minutes later once it’s set, you can then brush the corroded areas with a wheel brush.
  3. Sandpaper – your trusty sandpaper is required again! Next, you will be able to scrub the areas of tough corrosion with sandpaper – as they may require more force to be applied to them.
  4. Wax – applying wax for a finishing touch is a great way to protect your wheels from wearing down, and preventing any further oxidation.

Feel prepared to repair your alloy wheels corrosion at home? If you’d rather seek professional help, locate your nearest Formula One Autocentres and one of our specialists will be able to advise.

How to fix alloy rim scratches