How to Get Scratches Off Your Rims

Written by nicole thomas
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How to Get Scratches Off Your Rims
Car rims were designed to keep our tires from being damaged. (king of cars image by Micah Jared from

In our driving careers, we're bound to get a few scratches and dings. Most of these imperfections that land on the rims of our ties are either from snow, slush, branches or curbs. The rims were designed to keep the tires on cars from getting damaged, which they do rather well if we don't hit something head on. However, those small imperfections aren't just an eyesore; they should be repaired to avoid any future complications. A scratched rim can break later on.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Warm, soapy water
  • Towel
  • Lint-free cloth
  • Paint thinner
  • Masking tape
  • 240-grit sandpaper
  • Spot putty
  • 400-grit sandpaper
  • Flat sanding block
  • Old sheet or butcher's paper
  • Spray paint
  • Clearcoat
  • 1,500-grit sandpaper

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  1. 1

    Wash your tire and rim with warm soapy water and rinse. Towel dry, and then take a lint-free cloth with some paint thinner to rub around the affected area. Don't worry about the rest of the rim, only the damaged area.

  2. 2

    Tape the area around the damaged section to isolate your work. If the scratch is along the edge of the rim, place the masking tape between the rim and your tire.

  3. 3

    Sand the damaged area with 240-grit sandpaper. Keep your sanding to where the scratches are and nowhere else. If you move outward, you'll only be making more work for yourself later on.

  4. 4

    Wipe spot putty on the area you sanded earlier. It's a lot easier to do this on a warm sunny day as it helps the putty sink into place. If it's damp, this may not work. Wait 5 to 10 minutes for the putty to dry.

  5. 5

    Sand over the puttied area with a piece of 400-grit sandpaper. You'll want to use a flat sanding block for the smoothest finish. Wrapping the sandpaper around a piece of wood works best and allows better control. Continue standing until the area looks flush with the rest of the rim. You can add more putty and stand again if the end result isn't flat; just be careful not to go too far.

  6. 6

    Mask the entire side of your car with an old sheet or butcher's paper. The paint you'll be using to cover up the sanded area has a large cone and will end up all over the place. You can cover your driveway as well if you like.

  7. 7

    Read the directions on your paint can. If it's cold and damp outside, it may not work as well as it should. Shake the can for about a minute before spaying a very thin coat over the work area. Don't worry about making a glossy finish, that's what the clearcoat's supposed to do. Wait until the paint has dried. Rushing may result in both the paint and clearcoat falling off later on. It's best to leave the paint to dry overnight.

  8. 8

    Apply a thin layer of clearcoat over the work area and wait about 30 minutes until it dries. Then go back, and apply a second coat. If you want, you can wait another day and use 1,500-grit sandpaper to feather around the area if it doesn't fully meld with the rest of the rim.

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