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How to Fix Gouges in Aluminum Car Wheels

by Jenny Carver

Aluminum wheels are shiny, light-weight and come in many designs and patterns for most bolt patterns. Aluminum is versatile because it is inexpensive and readily available. The downside of aluminum wheels is that aluminum is more easily gouged than chrome or steel wheels. Gouges usually come from driving too close to the curb and the cement takes a chunk out of the surface or the edge of your wheel. You can fix gouges in aluminum wheels without having to fully replace them.

Step 1

Sand the gouged area with 220-grit sandpaper until the gouge is smooth. Wipe it with wax and grease remover and a microfiber towel.

Step 2

Fill the gouge with body filler until the gouge is no longer visible and the filler is higher than the surrounding surface of the wheel. Let the filler dry for 30 minutes.

Step 3

Sand the dried filler with 220-grit sandpaper until the filler is level with the wheel surface. Place masking tape around the outside edge of the wheel and around the air valve stem to protect both from overspray.

Step 4

Spray a thin coat of primer over the sanded filler and let it dry for 30 minutes. Hold the can 8 to 10 inches from the surface of the wheel. Apply a second coat and let it dry for 30 minutes.

Step 5

Sand the dried filler with 400-grit sandpaper and water. Keep the sandpaper wet while sanding. Sand the primer again using 800-grit sandpaper and water. Rinse the wheels and let them completely dry.

Step 6

Wipe the wheel down with wax and grease remover and a microfiber towel to prepare the surface for paint.

Spray wheel paint directly over the sanded primer. Hold the can 8 to 10 inches from the wheel’s surface. Use a total of four to five coats of paint, letting each coat dry for 10 minutes before you add another one. Let the paint dry for four hours before handling the wheel.

Items you will need

  • Sandpaper, 220-grit
  • Wax and grease remover
  • Microfiber towel
  • Body filler
  • Primer
  • Sandpaper, 400-grit
  • Sandpaper, 800-grit
  • Masking tape
  • Wheel paint

About the Author

Since 1997 Jenny Carver has served as editor and freelance writer for many offline and online publications including,, "Hoof Beat News," "Import Tuner" and others. Carver owns a custom automotive shop where she has been doing paint and body work, custom interior work and engine building for over 11 years.

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