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How to Make Your Rims Chrome

by Tom Lutzenberger

Getting your wheel rims chromed adds a significant amount of pizzazz to your car, assuming the rest of the vehicle measures up to the new look. That said, the process involves working with strong chemicals to prepare the wheel rim and attach the chromium to it. You can save yourself a few dollars, however, by doing the prep work yourself.

Step 1

Remove the wheels from the car and take the tires off the rims using a tire-remover machine. Place the wheel rims in an open area and spray them with engine degreaser. Let the chemical soak in for a few seconds. Scrub the gunked-up areas with a brush and a direct application of the degreaser. Wear gloves and goggles to protect yourself.

Step 2

Spray the rims with water from a hose and wash off all the degreaser. Wash the rims thoroughly to remove all of the chemical. Let the rims dry off.

Step 3

Place the rims one at a time into a blasting box. Use a sandblasting tool and blasting media to strip all the paint and hardened road dirt off the rim. Blast the rims until they are down to their bare metal surface. Wipe off any remaining blasting media that's on the rims and wrap them in plastic wrap to avoid oxidation on the bare metal; aluminum rims don't need this last step.

Take the cleaned-off rims to a chroming service and pay for the rims to be treated and chromed. Make sure to tell the service if your rims are made of aluminum, since the chrome-treatment process is different than for steel. Wait for the service to be completed. Inspect the rims when finished and reinstall them on your car after re-fitting the tires.

Items you will need

  • Tire-remover machine
  • Engine degreaser
  • Brush
  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Hose
  • Water
  • Sandblasting unit
  • Sandblasting media
  • Plastic wrap
  • Chroming service

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