How to Repair & Polish Your Own Alloy Wheels

Updated April 17, 2017

If the alloy wheels on your automobile have nicks, bumps or scrapes, you'll need to have them repaired and polished to bring back their original finish. You do not need to take them to an auto repair shop, though; you can do the fixing and polishing on your own with a little know-how, some elbow grease and the help of a few household tools, some auto-body putty, primer and lacquer. This procedure will help bring your wheels back in shape.

Scrub each entire wheel using soap and wheel brush. Include its damaged area in the cleaning, and dry the wheel thoroughly with a clean towel.

Apply paint thinner, dabbing a lint-free cloth to the damaged portion of the wheel's rim in order to thoroughly clean it. Make sure that all traces of dirt are removed.

Cover the surface around the rim's damaged area using your masking tape. Include the tire and the rest of the rim.

Tape brown paper over the remainder of your car around your damaged alloy wheel. This will prevent the primer or silver wheel lacquer from adhering to other parts of your car.

Sand the damaged portion lightly, using 240-grit sandpaper on your sanding block. Use a clean, dry towel to wipe the area after sanding.

Apply Bondo auto body putty to the damaged portion, enough to fill and cover it. Leave the putty to dry for 15 to 30 minutes.

Sand your dried putty with 400-grit sandpaper on your sanding block, until it is flush with the surface of the wheel. Use a clean, dry towel to wipe the area after sanding.

Spray primer on the damaged portion of the wheel and leave it for 15 minutes to dry.

Sand your dried primer with the 400-grit sandpaper and sanding block until it is flush with the alloy wheel surface. Use a clean, dry towel to wipe the area after sanding.

Spray an even coat of your silver wheel lacquer right over the wheel's sanded area, and leave it to dry for 20 to 30 minutes.

Apply another coat of your silver wheel lacquer after the first coat has dried. Leave the second coat to dry overnight.

Spray your high-gloss clear lacquer on the whole wheel rim, applying an even coat to seal in your silver wheel lacquer, as well as to restore the shine to your wheel's rim. Leave the final coat to dry for 24 hours before driving.

Remove the taped brown paper on the surrounding areas of the wheel.

Things You'll Need

  • Dish soap
  • Wheel brush
  • Clean towel
  • Paint thinner
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Masking tape
  • Brown paper
  • 240-grit and 400-grit sandpaper
  • Sanding block
  • Bondo auto body putty
  • Spray primer
  • Silver wheel lacquer
  • High-gloss clear lacquer
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About the Author

Based in West Windsor, N.J., Allison Melman has been writing health- and travel-related articles since 1999. Her work has appeared in "Salon" and "Better Health" magazines. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Southern Connecticut State University.