How to Remove Chrome Plating Off of Alloy Wheels

by Brenda Priddy
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Many aluminum alloy wheels have a shiny chrome finish plated onto the wheels. Over time, factors such as salt, moisture and general wear and tear can cause pits and other scratches in the surface of chrome-plated wheels. You can fix these problems by removing the chrome plating and refinishing the wheels with a new coating of chrome or another paint or finish. Removing the chrome plating is not a difficult process, but it will take several days to complete all four wheels.

Step 1

Remove the wheel rims from the vehicle by unscrewing the wheel from the wheel base with a tire iron. Loosen the top left bolt, then the bottom right, then the top right and bottom left. This pattern releases the stress placed on one bolt to prevent the rim from warping. Remove the tire from the wheel rims using a small pry bar.

Step 2

Apply a coating of wheel polish all over the wheel rim. Allow the polish to sit on the rim for about five minutes.

Step 3

Sand the surface of the entire wheel with medium-grit sandpaper until most of the chrome plating is removed. If you have a power sander, this makes the sanding process go much quicker.

Step 4

Coat the entire wheel rim with wheel polish once more. Allow it to sit for an additional five minutes. Sand the wheel rim with sandpaper again, this time using the 1200 grit paper.

Step 5

Apply one last coating of wheel polish and allow it to sit for five minutes. Scrub the wheel with steel wool to remove the last traces of chrome plating and to polish the metal alloy under the chrome plating.

Step 6

Rinse the wheels with clean water and rub with a soft cloth to remove all polish and chrome residue from the wheels.

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