How To Refurbish Alloy Wheels?

Authored By Automobile Engineer

Refurbishing wheels can make a car look newer and cheaper, but it is also an expensive exercise.

Depending on the condition, hiring professionals to refurbish alloy wheels can cost anywhere between several hundred dollars and over one thousand dollars.

However, with some work and some preventive measures, you can save your wheels from further damage and return them to their original state.

Here are some simple tips to help you get your alloy wheels back in good shape.


Prepare Your Tools And Materials.

Prepare Your Tools And Materials.

Ensure you have all the necessary materials before cleaning your alloy wheels. Before you buy any products, please list the things you need and keep them handy so you don’t forget. Here is a list of the materials you will need: –

A bucket and sponge – Use a bucket to wash and a sponge to dry your wheels. Please ensure the sponge is clean and has no residue on it. If it does, it will only leave a scratch. –
Cleaning solution helps remove dirt and grime from the wheels. Getting a good quality solution that doesn’t leave any marks is essential. You can find branded solutions or make your cleaning solution at home.
A brush – A brush can be used to scrub the wheels and remove grime. – A scouring pad – A scouring pad can be used to scrub away stubborn grime.
A toothbrush – A toothbrush can be used to scrub small areas.
Gloves – Gloves are essential to prevent hand marks. –
Plastic bags – You can put dirty materials in plastic bags for easy disposal.
A wheel cleaner – Wheel cleaners can be used to clean wheels.
A polishing agent – A polishing agent can bring back the shine in your wheels.

Wash And Dry Your Wheels

Wash And Dry Your Wheels

If your wheels have some dirt on them, it is best to clean them off before you start trying to remove scratches. Cleaning your wheels will take longer but will save you from having to scrub harder to remove scratches later.

Wheel cleaners – While you clean the wheels, you will also remove the scratches. Some wheel cleaners are designed to remove scratches but are not always practical.
Brushes – You can clean the wheels with a brush to remove dirt.
Soap – You can clean the wheels with soap and water.
Wash the wheels with clean water to remove grime and dirt. Cleaning the wheels with water will prevent the dirt from drying and the stains from setting on the wheels.

Assessing Damage

If your alloy wheel is damaged, then it is best to get them replaced. However, if the damage is minimal and you want to save money, you can try refurbishing them. Use the following tips to determine the damage to your wheels:

Straighten the bent rims – You can straighten the bent rims by using a lever and a piece of wood or brick. –
Get the wheels aligned – You can get them aligned if they are out of shape.
Get the tires replaced – If there is a massive tear in one of the tires, it is best to replace it.

Resealing Wheels

If the wheels have been damaged and the paint has faded, you can reseal them and make them look new. Here are a tips for sealing your wheels:

Clean – Clean your wheels before sealing them to remove any dirt or grease that might have accumulated.
Apply – Use a sealant to cover the wheels and prevent water from entering them.
Scrub – Scrub the sealant to make it easier to set in.

Scratch Remover Session

Scratch Remover Session

Once you have cleaned your wheels, you can start removing scratches. You can either get the scratches out of your wheels or prevent them from setting on them in the first place. Use the following tips to get rid of the scratches:

A scratch remover – Scratch removers can be used to remove light scratches from your wheels. Make sure you get a good quality scratch remover that doesn’t leave any marks. –
Toothpaste – You can use toothpaste to get rid of scratches. Squeeze some toothpaste on a clean cloth and rub it against the scratches to remove them.
A compound – Use a compound to remove scratches from your wheels. Put the compound on a clean cloth and rub it against the scratches.

Wax Your Car And Wheels

Wax Your Car And Wheels

Wax can help protect your wheels from wear and tear. It can also be used to get rid of existing scratches. Use the following tips to wax your wheels:

Wheel cleaner – Use a wheel cleaner to remove grime from the wheels.
Compound – Put the compound on a clean cloth and rub it against the wheels.
Wax – Wax your wheels to prevent them from getting rusting and scratching.

Protective Coatings

Protective Coatings

Protective coatings can protect your wheels from rust and other defects. Here are a few tips to protect your wheels:

Wax – Use car wax to protect your wheels from rusting.
Sealant – Sealants prevent water from entering the wheels.
Paint – Paint can be used to protect the wheels from scratches.

Buffing And Polishing

Buffing And Polishing

If your wheels have been scratched and faded, you can get them back to their original state by polishing and buffing them. Here are a few tips to buff and polish your wheels:

Clean – Clean your wheels before polishing and buffing them to eliminate any dirt or grease that might have accumulated.
Polish – Polish your wheels with a clean cloth to make them shine like new.
Buff – Use a buffing wheel to buff your wheels to make them shine like new.

Touch-Up Session

If you want to remove small scratches, you can use touch-up paint to cover them. Use the following tips to do the touch-up:

Paint – You can use touch-up paint to cover the scratches. Make sure you get the right paint color.
Paint thinner – Paint thinner can thin the paint and make it easier to use.
Cloths – Use clean cloths to wipe off excess paint.
Paintbrush – Use a paintbrush to apply the paint over the scratches.


Alloy wheels are a common feature in most modern cars, making the car look stylish.

These wheels can get scratched, and it is essential to know how to refurbish them before they start looking bad.

There are a few simple steps that you can follow to refurbish your wheels.

However, make sure you know what damage your wheels have sustained before you start working on them.

Don Sutton
Don Sutton has had a long and varied career in engineering, spanning four different countries. He began his apprenticeship in New Zealand at Paeroa Motors in 1965 before moving to the United States where he studied at Paeroa College before accepting a job as an engineer with Bendix/Kirby/TRW/Tristar. His work involved designing components for the automotive industry for over thirty years, including brake pads, power steering pumps, and fuel injectors. In 2005 Don left automotive design to pursue other interests but maintains an interest in all things related to automobiles. He is currently retired from engineering but continues to consult on issues relating to vehicle testing and manufacture when needed!