How to fix alloy wheels

Updated April 17, 2017

Alloy wheels are made of aluminium or magnesium and sometimes are a combination of both. The benefits of an alloy wheel are its light weight, precise steering, and stylish appearance. Because of that, alloy wheels typically cost more than metal wheels. When scuffs and scratches start to litter the surface, refinishing the wheel may be a less expensive but effective way to return the wheel to its previous pristine state.

Clean the wheel with cleaner to remove dirt, grease, and grime. Use paint thinner to remove any paint reside. Wipe off with a rag.

Tape off surrounding areas such as the tire with masking tape and paper to avoid any unwanted spills.

Apply a thin layer of spot putty onto any damaged sections of the wheel. Let it dry.

Lightly sand the spot putty with 240-grit sandpaper. Then use 400-grit sandpaper to sand the rest of the putty until flush with the rest of the surface.

Spray on scratch-filler primer onto the sanded area. Wipe off any excess spray with a rag.

Apply another coat of spot putty onto the damaged sections and sand with 240-grit sandpaper until even with the surface.

Spray a second coat of primer. Let it dry.

Lightly sand the damaged area with 400- to 600-grit sandpaper.

Spray the entire alloy wheel with two coats of spray paint matching the colour of the wheel. Shake the can well before spraying to ensure an even coat. Let each coat dry before applying another coat.

Spray two coats of clear-coat, with a 20- to 30-minute drying interval between coats. Polish the alloy wheel.


Wrap the sandpaper around a small piece of wood to facilitate the sanding process.

Things You'll Need

  • Cleaner
  • Rag
  • Paint thinner
  • Masking tape
  • Paper
  • Spot putty
  • Sandpaper (240-grit, 400-grit)
  • Scratch-filler primer
  • Spray paint
  • Clear coat
  • Polish
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About the Author

Nikki Cash graduated from UCLA with a bachelor's in film/TV, where she won an MPAA Scholarship. Since graduating, she has written and produced an independent feature film starting her career as a writer in 2005. Cash enjoys writing eHow articles with topics ranging from home improvement to crafts.