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WHEELS 101 | A GUIDE TO WHEEL REFURBISHMENT

Wheels, they're an indispensable component that gives us reason to drive and personifies our driving experience. Regardless of variety or material, your wheels will inevitably fall into some form of a disheveled state. Curb rash, clearcoat failure, oxidation, and the despicable rock chip are just a few of the disfigurements that one can face whilst driving. What's worse, is that sometimes even the most hypercritical of car owners can be oblivious to any and all changes until significant damage starts to materialize.


The purpose of this post is to help you identify the problems that are predominantly found within the arena of wheel restoration, troubleshoot them appropriately according to your particular needs, and find a resolution that opens the door to a long-term solution. Please note, any and all solutions shall indemnify Blackstone Detail and should only be used with sound judgement prior to execution.



















FIG. 1

DIAGRAM OF A BESPOKE BILLET WHEEL AND ITS RESPECTIVE PARTS




Part A | Curb Rash

The most common form of wheel defacement is that of curb rash. If you're unfamiliar with wheel jargon, curb rash can easily be discerned by the series of scratches, which can either sink into as deep as the substrate or you could be lucky enough to only suffer superficial scratches that rest on the surface which barely eat into a portion of the clearcoat. In either case, it's always best to proceed using the least-invasive method so as not to warp the outer flange, thereby leaving the wheel unbalanced. You don't want to become a statistic on the road just because you wanted to chase perfection. A set of illustrations below showcase two examples of curb rash, with the first concentrated on the outer flange and the other on the wheel face.


















FIG. 2

ILLUSTRATION OF CURB RASH LOCATED ON THE OUTER FLANGE


















FIG. 3

ILLUSTRATION OF CURB RASH LOCATED ON THE WHEEL FACE


When assessing any damage, the first step is to simply take your thumbnail and graze it over the surface of the affected area. Now, when I say graze your thumbnail across the surface, I don't mean a simple swipe from left to right. More specifically, you should move it in every direction to determine its depth whilst simultaneously feeling for any other irregularities. In this way, you can formulate a plan of action to determine what level of repair should be executed.


If after you assess the condition and determine that the affected area stretches deeper than your thumbnail, you should come to the realization that the amount of labor will require the use of a metal-based putty, in addition to a traditional primer and clearcoat. Please note, any damage incurred that stretches beyond the point of a metal-based putty should make it a priority to replace the wheel at their earliest convenience. Do not, under any circumstances, continue to drive with significant damage that might compromise the safety of the driver or any passenger if the damage should be concentrated on the outer flange.


Part A | Troubleshooting & Solution


So, let's just say that the worst-case scenario had befallen you and you're now fraught with the most labor-intensive solution to curb rash. Great, now what do I do? Take a deep breath, because you'll be pleasantly surprised to find out that your solution will be easier to rectify than one initially thought.



Step 1


First and foremost, it's imperative that you rid the affected area of any contaminants that might be resting on the surface. Give your wheel a thorough bath, which should include the use of a dedicated wheel cleaner. If you should already have one in your arsenal, all the better. If not, then I'll be sure to add a list of products at the bottom of this article that will facilitate your needs.



Step 2


Not unlike suturing a cut on your skin, it's best practice to completely sterilize the area. Once the surface has been thoroughly cleaned, it's of the utmost importance to use a dedicated degreaser to remove any residual remnants of polymers, silicone, or any other foreign substances that may still be resting on the surface. As an additional preventative measure, use a tack cloth to finish the cleaning and preparation process.