How to Repair Damage to Chrome

by Ty Wright

Chrome is not a metal surface, but is actually painted on to wheels, bumpers, and many other surfaces. When chrome is damaged it can sometimes be buffed out, but in the case of deep damage and scratches, will need to be treated and repainted. Before taking your damaged chrome in for expensive professional rechroming, you can try to fix the problem yourself with chrome primer, chrome paint and sandpaper.


Sand the damaged spot and the surrounding area. Use 320-grit sandpaper on light scratches. For deeper scratches, holes or rusted areas use sandpaper with rougher grit such as 120 or 60.


Clean off any sanding residue with a clean cloth.


Fill in any holes or uneven surfaces with a glazing compound. Allow the compound to dry.


Use 320-grit sandpaper to sand over the glazing compound to make it even. Use a clean cloth to remove sanding residue.


Spray on a light coat of chrome self-etching primer to the entire chromed surface. Allow to dry, then apply a second coat. Allow the second coat to dry.


Apply regular chrome primer over the self-etching primer. Use two to three coats, allowing each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next.


Wipe the surface gently with lacquer thinner.


Apply chrome paint. Spray two to three thin coats of chrome paint to the entire chromed surface, allowing each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next.


  • If you see any imperfections in the surface when applying the chrome paint, allow it to dry 24 hours, sand over the problem areas with very fine 1,500-grit sandpaper, wipe clean and reapply paint.

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About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Ty Wright has written professionally since 1993, working primarily in film and television. His articles have appeared online at MadeMan. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in film and electronic arts from California State University, Long Beach.

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