How to refinish corroded alloy wheels

Updated February 21, 2017

Alloy wheels are constructed from a combination of aluminium and other types of metal. This produces a strong and lightweight wheel. However, alloy wheels may begin to show signs of corrosion, especially during a hard winter when salt and dirt accumulates on the wheels. Corroded alloy wheels can be refinished to restore them to their original shine.

Wash the wheels with soap and water using a cloth to remove dirt and grime.

Apply paint stripper to a clean cloth or rag. Wipe each wheel to remove any clear coating that is on the alloy wheels. The clear coat gives alloy wheels their shine.

Remove any flaking rust or corrosion, from each wheel, with the metal brush. Sand rusted and corroded areas on each wheel with 240-grit sandpaper.

Apply filler putty to areas on the wheels that are uneven. Sand the putty smooth after it has dried with the 400-grit sandpaper.

Apply the filler primer to the entire wheel and then wipe away any excess primer using a clean cloth or rag. Allow at least four hours for the primer to dry and then go over it once with the 400-grit sandpaper.

Apply a base coat of silver coloured lacquer to the wheel. This will prevent any future corrosion on the wheels. Allow the lacquer to sit and dry overnight.

Apply one to two coats of clear lacquer to refinish each wheel.


Use an electric sander instead of sand paper to speed up the job.

Remove the wheels and tyres for the best results.

Things You'll Need

  • Cloth or rag
  • Paint stripper
  • Metal brush
  • 240-grit sandpaper
  • Filler putty
  • 400-grit sandpaper
  • Filler primer
  • Silver lacquer
  • Clear lacquer
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Cameron Easey has over 15 years customer service experience, with eight of those years in the insurance industry. He has earned various designations from organizations like the Insurance Institute of America and LOMA. Easey earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and history from Western Michigan University.