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How to Sand Aluminum Rims

by Robert Russell

Aluminum rims are more easily scratched and damaged than metal rims and so require a little more care and attention. The finish is protected by a top coat that has to be removed before you can sand and polish the rims. Aluminum rims come in a variety of shapes and styles. The level of difficulty involved in sanding your rims depends upon the type of rim. However, the steps for sanding aluminum rims are the same.


Wash the rims with water a mild detergent. Scrub off the surface dirt and grime with a stiff bristled brush. Allow the rims to air-dry.


Remove the top teflon coating with paint thinner. Apply the paint thinner to the rims with a rag. Allow the thinner to sit on the rims for five minutes. Scrub the rims with an abrasive pad to remove the top coat. Wipe the rims with a rag to remove the last traces of the top coat.


Sand the rims with 200-grit sandpaper. Concentrate on the major scuff marks, bumps and stains.


Wipe the rim with a clean cloth and denatured alcohol.


Wet-sand the rim with increasingly fine sandpaper. (The advantage of wet-sanding is that you avoid dust.) Fill a spray bottle with water and spray the rim as you are sanding it. Start with 400-grit and continue with 600-, 800-, and 1,000-grit sandpaper. Rinse the rim before changing the sandpaper grit. Each finer grit will remove the marks left by the previous sanding.


Buff and polish the rims with a metal polish and cloth. Apply the metal polish and allow it to harden. Buff is with a soft cloth until the shine is restored to the rims.

Items you will need

About the Author

Robert Russell began writing online professionally in 2010. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and is currently working on a book project exploring the relationship between art, entertainment and culture. He is the guitar player for the nationally touring cajun/zydeco band Creole Stomp. Russell travels with his laptop and writes many of his articles on the road between gigs.

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