Repair An Aluminum Rim

Driving in a pothole, rubbing against a curb while parking your car, it’s easy to damage an aluminum rim. A scratched aluminum rim dramatically diminishes the aesthetics of any car. In this tutorial you will learn everything you need to know to refurbish an aluminum rim .

The benefits of aluminum rims

Steel rims are sturdy and inexpensive solutions for putting a car on the road. Unfortunately, they have a major drawback: they rust. Rust damage can certainly be summarily masked by hubcaps, but a car enthusiast always has a bad feeling about it. Aluminum rims are therefore the type of rims chosen by most owners who love their car. The main advantage of aluminum is that it does not corrode as much as steel. In fact, aluminum does not rust at all.

Repair an aluminum rim

However, the combination of water and salt strongly affects it, which can tarnish it and make it look ugly. As a fairly malleable metal, aluminum is very susceptible to pavement impacts, scrapes and bumps of all kinds. It is therefore useful to know how to repair an aluminum rim .

When is an aluminum rim repairable?

If your rim has suffered damage that has deformed it, it is better to think about replacing it. Even if a crack has appeared, it is too dangerous to consider a repair. Welding of aluminum rims is not permitted, even a rim with a deep chip or crack will result in the rim being scrapped.

repair scratched rimWhat is repairable are the scratches and oxidation can usually be repaired by sanding, polishing and recoating.

Dismantle the rim and put it on the work table. It is not necessary to remove the tire. Take care not to lose the balancing weights during the repair.

Start by thoroughly cleaning the rim. Do not use too much hot water and detergent. Using a drill cleaning and polishing brush can speed up this job considerably. Once the rim is free of brake dust and all other dirt, remove the damage.

Rim damage repair

With the electric multi-tool, sand off the biggest scratches and scratches now. Work very carefully, especially around the tire. The tire must never be sanded! Flat and concave sanding can reliably stop the appearance or aggravation of micro-cracks. Don’t go too hard though, the deeper you sand, the harder it will be to achieve a visually even rim finish.

Sand with sandpaper. Work with the paper from coarse to fine. With increasingly finer sanding papers, you even out and eliminate scratches. If you only want to apply clear varnish to the rim, you cannot use a rim spatula. Although it is color matched to the aluminum, a masticated area is still noticeable. In this case, there is nothing you can do but sand by hand until there are no more scratches. After sanding, the rim is carefully polished. If you want to apply a coating, you can putty the deeper sanding areas and then sand them again. Work according to the instructions that come with the rim sealant.

Painting the rim: Be sure to dust off the rim. If you want to paint the rim, first cover the tire with a good tape. This will save you from having to clean the rim later and will give it a much more professional look. Before painting, thoroughly clean the renovated rim with silicone spray. Then apply a coat of primer, paint and, after hardening, seal with clear varnish – that’s it.


An aluminum rim gives a car its own dynamism and sportiness. Unfortunately, rims can quickly become damaged due to blows or friction. It’s easy to fix a scratched rim to spruce up the look of your car whether it’s for you or before reselling it.

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