How to Restore or Recondition Pitted Aluminum Wheelsby Jenny Carver
Aluminum wheels are used by automotive manufacturers for factory wheels. They are also widely used in the aftermarket wheel industry. The problem with aluminum wheels is that they are a soft metal and prone to pitting over time. Pits cannot be wiped off or cleaned since they occur when the clear-coat finish on the aluminum wheels is damaged or worn down. It is possible to restore or recondition pitted aluminum wheels in less than a day, however.
Sand the wheels with 220-grit sandpaper. Sand the entire surface but focus on sanding the pitted areas until they are smooth. Rinse the wheel to see your progress.
Sand the wheel again using 400-grit sandpaper and water. Keep the sandpaper wet while you are sanding the wheel. Smooth the surface by sanding evenly over the entire wheel. Rinse the wheel to check your progress when you are finished sanding.
Use 800-grit sandpaper and water to sand the wheel. The 800-grit sandpaper and water makes the aluminum wheel as smooth as a new wheel. Rinse and let the wheel dry completely.
Spray three coats of clear-coat paint on the aluminum wheels. Hold the spray can 10 inches from the surface and move the can left and right when spraying, not around. Wait 10 minutes between each coat before applying the next.
Let the wheels dry for a full day before mounting the tires on them or mounting them on your vehicle.
- For the best results and to get to the entire surface of the wheel, have it separated from the tire at a tire shop.
Things You'll Need
- 220-grit sandpaper
- 400-grit sandpaper
- 800-grit sandpaper
- Clear-coat paint
Since 1997 Jenny Carver has served as editor and freelance writer for many offline and online publications including lovetoknow.com, autotropolis.com, "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.