How to Fix a Scratched Alloy Rim

Updated February 21, 2017

Most cars these days come from the factory will alloy rims, whether they are polished or painted. In many cases, it doesn't take a whole lot to scratch these rims, especially if you accidentally park too close to a curb. Even a gravel driveway can put some scratches on your rims. Most people panic and think that only a specialist can fix the damage. Unless the damage is extensive, like bending or warping, you can fix the minor scratches if you learn what to do.

Purchase all your supplies from your local automotive supply store and/or your local home improvement store. If you need to custom match your wheel paint, you may have to contact the parts department at the dealership so that they can order you a bottle of touch-up paint from the manufacturer.

Clean the area of, and immediately surrounding, the scratches using a clean cloth rag and the paint thinner. You will be removing the dirt as well as the paint and primer on the rim.

Tape the sheet on the vehicle so that it is covering as much of the side that you are working on as possible. This is important so that you don't get over-spray all over the vehicle.

Tape newspaper around the tire, leaving the rim exposed.

Use the 240 grit sandpaper to sand the area until it has a feathered appearance. Don't apply too much pressure when sanding or you will cause more damage.

Apply a small amount of the Bondo spot putty, following the instructions on the can for mixing. Allow the putty to harden. The time that it takes for the putty to harden will depend on the weather conditions. In warmer, drier conditions, the putty will harden faster.

Use the 400 grit sandpaper to sand the area where you applied the putty on the rim. Keep sanding until the putty feels smooth and blended into the rim. You should not feel any lumps or raises where the putty and the alloy meet.

Spray the primer on the spots where you applied the putty. Try to maintain a light spray from a distance of about 6 to 8 inches. If you get too close, the primer will run and it will dry like that. After the primer dries, lightly sand it a few times with the 400 grit sandpaper.

Apply the wheel paint to the repaired part of the alloy rim. If it is a spray form, maintain the same distance as you did with the primer. If it is in a brush-on form, make sure that you are not overloading the applicator brush; you can apply more than one coat if you need to.

Spray on the clear coat, covering the whole entire rim, keeping the same distance as you did with the primer and using a sweeping motion. Let the paint dry completely before you start driving anywhere.

Things You'll Need

  • Can of primer spray (scratch filler kind)
  • Wheel paint (if your rims are painted)
  • Bondo spot putty
  • 240 grit sandpaper
  • 400 grit sandpaper
  • Paint thinner
  • Clean cloth rags
  • Large flat sheet (like you use on your bed)
  • Newspaper
  • Masking tape
  • Clear spray paint
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